The Arrival

I laid my love to rest today.  When I say my love, I actually mean my ex-husband, the father of my three daughters.  The divorce wasn’t of my choosing; in a way it wasn’t of his either.  It’s a complicated story, I won’t tell it here.  He was a man I feared.  He was also the only man I’ve ever loved, and the divorce didn’t change that – I could no longer live with him, but I didn’t stop loving him.  There’s an element of relief that the fear is over; but it is dwarfed by the overwhelming sense of grief.  There was an opportunity before he died to speak words of forgiveness and reconciliation.  I know that by the end he was at peace with God and we will meet again one day.  In trying to find words for my grief and hope, I wrote this poem which I read at the service of thanksgiving for his life:

The Arrival

Your arrival came too soon for me,
So that it seemed no coming, but a leaving;
More like a vessel putting out to sea
Than what it was – the Father’s arms receiving
The son his heart had yearned so long to see.

 Nothing but the lapping of the waves
Remains, a quiet wake behind your sailing,
And the deep echo in the distant caves,
And the sea-mist, your last departure veiling,
And the sad lapping, lapping of the waves.

But, beyond where mortal eyes can see,
A Father on a distant shore is dancing,
Powerless to contain the ecstasy
At seeing his dear child so close advancing.
I know you rest where you were born to be;
But your arrival came too soon for me.