Mendel Denise Service: Requiem for a Stranger

How is Mrs. Futrel?
I ask.
I forget we die here.
I don’t want to.
I don’t want to die here.

She died Monday, Sunday or Tuesday no one
Really knows.
This is the response
I get to my query.

The sadness falls on me.
Another stranger has died.

Three years we shared the same community.
We were separated by her fervent belief in God and Jesus
And my mission to be free of all traditional truth

I recall a stately, classy lady.

In the last two or three images she is not
Tall as she was in the beginning years.
She is no longer managing the senior dinner fundraisers.

I feel a pain in my side.
It is persistent.

I make an appointment with my doctor for the next day.
I am surrounded by the dying, the sick the infirm.

I sense the tomb of forgotten lives and people, in a
140 unit building for seniors and the disabled.
Encasing me in paranoia.

Sometimes being around so much death, dying and
Illness is too much.

I know the pain in my side and
Five straight days of vomiting
Is probably nothing.

It might be reaction to my diabetes medication
Or to the meds I take for high blood pressure.

I might have the flu or the virus
that is going around.
But as I lie in my bed,
My side aching, I am nervous.

I worry because so many of the fellow riders on
Handi Ride are going to or from dialysis.
They talk about cancer,
Losing a leg to gangrene because a doctor
Ignored them for a year and treated a foot injury
With ‘it will get better’ and it didn’t.
She said she passed out and woke up in a hospital
with her leg missing.

Sometimes I get depressed,
Then possibly overly cautious.
The doctor will probably tell me it is nothing,
But news of another death worries me.

I wonder if I will leave this
place walking out
Into a dream
or in one of the black bags
I saw so frequently the
First year I arrived.

I give this tribute to the
Stranger with the feisty spirit
And strong beliefs in her God,
To the life now a memory
To myself.

Dear stranger,
hope you are in the place you fought to get to
The place you believed existed.

I pause.

Why is your death so significant to me?
I did not know you.  We barely spoke.
I resented how you imposed your religious
beliefs on my life.
I resented how little breathing was
Possible when you and others made
Sure that every event was prayed over,
Every event was a form of your prayer.
Every event in this building was
Somehow made religious.

I did not resent you having a
Belief or a truth that carried you
But hated feeling invisible.

Perhaps, part of my true reason
For my feelings is
I sorrow most not
The fear of death
But my fear of living

Now, I want not to be so
Buried in what I perceive as safe
So that I allow my voice to be
Silenced, my existence to be hidden.
My passions dulled my life force numbed.
That path of surviving is no longer an option.
I want more.

What I saw in you was someone who
Did not quiver, quake or doubt her life
By hiding what was right for her.
You knew your values.
You honored them.
You lived an honored life.

I, too, can do that.
I, too can live
Before dying

Dear stranger

© 2010 Mendel Denise Service. All Rights Reserved.


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