Eulogy for my Sister

joann-last-picture

Spoken for the wake of my beloved sister JoAnn –

In the conclusion of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell tells us it was Nietzsche who said “Live, as though the day were here.” He goes on to say; That every one of us shares the supreme ordeal – carries the cross of the redeemer – not in the bright moments of the tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair.

Jo-Ann, today we hear your silence. A voice that speaks in our memories of your trials and your victories, as living proof of all we’ve seen you stand up to. Not only a disease, but your love of family, of life, and your voice for the law, equity and justice. A voice that will long echo your story … A young mother who knew, in her time, education would pay her the best dividend. You worked and attended Law School full time, not just chasing, but grabbing hold of your dreams … all the while knowing, as you often said, for a woman it was: “Another day, another 78 cents.”

You told me not long ago, in the midst all those therapies, that each day you had a choice; Stay in bed, or get up, put your feet on the floor and face the day. Gathered here, are many witnesses that every day you chose Nietzsche’s advice.

By God’s grace, you and I became brother and sister. We grew up in one of the best examples of a dysfunctional baby boomer family, and we remained lifelong friends. I have celebrated your joys, known your darkest fears, shared your remarkable dinner table, and felt your deepest sorrows. There are no regrets where love lives in the heart.

We laughed often, cried together, and yes, we argued a bit … I was blessed. Not with the quiet blessing at a dinner table, but a hard won blessing from all the bits and pieces of a lifetime of love that now lives forever in my soul.

Sis, you have opened my eyes to a truer understanding of our reason for being… To live every day as Spirit meant it to be … Full of breath, of heartbeats, and emotions. Seizing every day with a love for all life has to offer, always remembering that – “The sky would have no rainbow, if the eyes had no tears.”

I love you … and I will truly miss your voice …

Link to Remembrance of JoAnn R Sensale

The shadow falls

the-tomb-is-empty-grave-clothes-left-behind

Is there a shadow cast
By the man in the mirror
In the dream
he runs
unable to fly
Claws on hands
and feet
Escapes to arrive
At some unknown
doorstep
never
invited in

Love is the law
Love under will
Care is defenseless
When compassion desires
Asks only to please
understand
The shadow falls long
The sun sets
Night falls
and the dream
long forgotten
Returns

Here was a choice
Once was a season
For this
The un-reasoned response
To the tears
For the fears
Are the outrage of life
Scarlet the letters
Written in blood
Of a promise
Made in our name

The forsaken forgiving
of worlds in between
The wound that was opened
and healed
Not by the sutures
In words full of passion
Nor by the balms
of desire
The tomb is laid open
By a hand once wounded
As the way, and the truth
and the light

Picture: http://outpouring.ru/news/1-0-9

Roots and Wings

distant-light

Storms with thunder roll
across the land
Lives are trees uprooted
by the winds of change
Emotions tolling like bells

Far distant steeples
fall silent in the rain
As the water pools
Running in the streets
Streaming through our lives

Going home again
Faded memories waiting
Behind doors unopened
Through decades only dreams
walked these halls

How can I speak to friend
of the sense and the feelings
How the living and the dead
Reach up in bird songs
under the canopies of green

Stillness echoes from the hills
Honeysuckle blossoms on the breeze
Breakfast baking in the kitchen
Time cannot steal you away
Home lives forever in the heart

Image: http://www.dragonshades.com/tag/sunset/

Please visit: http://backtowhatever.com/2015/07/19/diary-of-a-return/

Traveler of Souls

sacred-feminine

A part of all is known
the one who bore these souls
New life, new reason came
Wrapped inside love’s season
Longing to be, of a world unknown

Given breath barely breathing
A warm heart was once a part
and now apart from the womb
Into the home beside the hearth
Wonder at the reasons …

Whose choice was this to be
and what seed was planted ‘neath
The soils and the sins
Forever, wanting eyes to see
itself within love’s season

To hear the music of the soul
The ringing in the ears of time
The method and the madness echoes
Reaching out to some sad truth
and lost not knowing why

Eternities are ever present
A sacred cord her love conceals
Desire’s everlasting quest
Divine the mother’s holy light
To the travelers of souls


Image: http://www.ronnadetrick.com/touching-the-unknown-the-sacred-feminine/

The Patriarch

This is the transcript of the eulogy I gave at the funeral service for my wife’s father who passed four years ago today.

Victor surrounded by Family 2007

Victor surrounded by Family 2007

Admiral “Bull” Halsey said after the Battle for Midway Island that “…there are no great men, only ordinary men, forced by circumstances to do great things”
Some warriors never see the battle field, but instead they are given life, and all the ordinary circumstances that will make them extraordinary people… That will make them heroes to families who sit in places like this today – recalling all the times they spent together. Times with their husbands, fathers, grandfathers, friends and neighbors. Memories, that in their minds will always be larger than life.
I think then that heroes are ordinary men who accept the circumstances of their own lives and do great things …

the Seasons of Life

There are so many things we’ll still see
steely eyes, compassion and anger
Hallowed hands that shaped our lives
Sunny days of youth, bus stops and beaches
life, in all the places where we grew ~
The birthdays, marriages, and christenings
Learning, laughing and crying out loud.
All the ways we were family,
And times we wondered if we were friends?

There’s a voice we’ll still hear in many words:
The war is over, you’re going home –
to Roses, to children dancing
and Maggie’s back in town.
Beaches where oceans will whisper – just float!
And telephones ringing
waking with sarcasm stinging
Lennon sisters swinging
Miller’s band
and Mets games on TV.

And the scents of the seasons will linger
Christmas evergreens and sugar cookies
Thanksgiving turkeys, apple pies
lilacs, lilies, roses red ~
and new mowed summer lawns.
The smell of sweat
that burns the eyes
as sawdust flies
building our lives
and our families

Yet, most of all our hearts will keep
each day and every way we felt
Our pride, returned with pride
Each hurting from a fall
The comfort of the arms and hands
The jester and the smile
All of this was his to give
The Patriarch
Who kept us all within his heart
Who now, forever, and always
will live within our souls

In the film “Eat, Pray, Love” – they talk about the Italian word ‘Atraverssiamo’, meaning “let’s cross over”
Today, we all cross over into a new place, one where we follow the way Vic lead for us, the way an ordinary man does extraordinary things. Rises at 5 AM to take a train to NYC, to drive a bus, walk a beat, working split shifts, to raise a family. Spends scores of years doing the ordinary things that when I look around me here, I see have turned to into extraordinary achievements.
And, I know that when I listen in the quiet of my mind, I will hear the sounds of seabirds, carried on the wind, where he rests along the shore, of an ocean we call – Eternity …

May the Almighty grant his soul eternal rest,
and may this family always be blessed with
his strength, his peace, and his love

Thank you Victor, for all you have given to this world,
Peace be with you always,
Amen.

I choose love

21351-silhouette-of-a-couple-1280x800-digital-art-wallpaper

breath unto breath
and eye unto eye
nights wrapped
in each others longing
so simple these dreams
come into being
through light
we forever are forming

from all of the places
and lives we have touched
revolving through worlds
once our home
a universe suddenly
born to our senses
the places our hearts
choose to roam

through seashells on beaches
and grasses grown green
days falling warm
on the skin
leaves the reminders
of destiny sealed
in the places
our hearts
would begin

to know the forever
of life now beholding
this starlight
has come out to shine
here under heaven
reminders of choices
the love we have come
here to find

http://www.desktopwallpapers4.me/digital-art/silhouette-of-a-couple-21351/

wanderer

IMG_0533

the voice of nature
songs on the wind
whispering pines
Aspens quaking
as an Autumn sun
sets …

does she know
time as measure
what wheel work
fashions the seasons
for our pleasure

waves on beaches
shifting sands to roam
feet will ever wander
places never known

shores sailed by
looking for passages
to the heart
as the flowers
fragrance fades
and the Monarch
leaves
for home …

Photo by grandfathersky near Aspen Colorado 2013

a nine eleven memory

IMG_0959_crop

How could we know
Ever dream
of giving
Our last
Best measure
of devotion
To a cause
What dream
Can give up love
Leaving tears
and tears in the fabric
of life

Destiny calling
Before we even knew
What part we had played
That we were here
to witness
Having hands to hold
Lives to unfold
Stranger shadows
becoming our own
Burned forever
in the fire
of our minds

Dust to dust
Shall be
Each breath
Each day
Remains and reminds
There’s a hole
In the sky
Where heroes lie
as Angels fly
and lost lovers lie
in the darkness
waiting for dawn

Photo: ‘Hole in the Sky’ near Albany, NY by gfs

Somewhere in time

Dreamlit tree

Kindness held
the hand of love
Feeling
Far from home
Wandered
The way
Of the heart
and knew
Its time
and place
had come

As wind
through palms
on tropic shores
Or windswept icy
crystal gales
Thinking made from
long before
The sun rose
in our eyes

In lessons life
will fill our days
In nights
here aching
tears might rain
To let us know
The living proof
Brought to light
Where love
Has been set free

There is
no choice
We cannot make
Nor any lost
in Time
Each a blessing
Stills the heart
As truth
within her eyes

Image: http://www.maxdstandley.com/paintings/pi/Dreamlit.jpg

Sea of Love

Sea_of_Love_painting

Where is the Light
Can I hide my eyes
From the morning Sun
Or a Full Moon rise
Without knowing
Its truth Rises
Within my Heart
and Soul Eternal

As the dew settles
On the early lawn
and the Wren sings
to the Light of Day
Hope is forever
bound up inside
the Breath of Life

Faith hidden within
its ceaseless motion
Waiting to be born
Aside this river
Where cool waters flow
As blessings into
a Sea of Love

Image: http://www.sanseitiles.com/prod052152113.htm