Tag Archives: death

Poem: The Lament of Isis; 14 Pieces of You


You are gone.

I cut my hair;

“forest of dreams”

you once called it.

Now a rough field of stubble

barely covers my scalp.

My basket is heavy

with  14 pieces of you,

once scattered to the wind.

I gathered them

and said my prayers,

but you did not rise

whole again with the sun.

There is magic in tears

but not enough in mine

to conjure anything

but gossamer memories;

A whiff of viburnum,

the ghost of your laugh,

faint piano, minor keys,

shades of twilight,

dust of long dried flowers,

your summer burnished shoulders,

a midwinter fog…

The things I try to capture

slip through my fingers like water

and I know

you are gone.


* Crossposted from my primary blog:  http://oursalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/poem-the-lament-of-isis-14-pieces-of-you



Postscript to Amenhotep, King of De Nial



Yesterday afternoon I shrieked into the phone at my brother, aka the Prince of Darkness that he was morphing into our father, Amenhotep. This was because he was (understandably) complaining that he felt like he was all on his own waiting for our father to die and he had so much responsibility but at the same time he refused to take on board any well meant advice, sympathy or kindness. “Just call me when he’s dead!” I yelled before I hung up on him.


Of course I felt terrible for the rest of the day and most of the night. When I finally fell asleep, I slept well and dreamt of snow falling, but the snow changed into baby’s breath blossoms and smelled wonderful. When I awoke I knew that the pharaoh had passed into the realm of Anubis. I planned to call the Prince of Darkness to apologize for yelling at him but it was far too early to phone anyone, so I went to the gym instead and decided to phone him when I returned.

When I returned to the house, nobody could tell me where Vince’s cell phone was  located. I was more than a little relieved.  The incident yesterday was so ugly, I could imagine the Prince of Darkness refusing to speak to me, so I emailed my cousin C.

Hi C,

The Prince of Darkness and I had a bit of a dustup yesterday and he might not be speaking to me. Would you let me know when my father dies?




C. is a tough union business agent. He’s used to diplomacy and negotiation. Moreover, he’s discreet, so  he’s the go-to cousin for this kind of thing.

Vince returned from the links around lunchtime. We found his phone and it appeared the Prince of Darkness had been trying to get in touch with me all morning. I phoned him back immediately. He confirmed what I knew from my dream. I asked when is the funeral.

“Are you coming?”

“Yes, I’m coming. We aren’t sure if the boys and FOTI are coming too, but we’ll hash that out over lunch.”

 “But the boys didn’t  have  much of a relationship with Dad.”

“We’d considered that this might happen while we’re on vacation. The boys even have suits with them. They want to be there for me, and I want to be there for you. This is what happens in a functional family, get used to it.”

“I’ve got a bunch of stuff to organize.”

“Yeah, I know. I’ll call you back tonight and we can firm up plans.”

So we had a powwow over lunch at Crispers and decided that everybody was going north and it was going to be a road trip. Next stop was the bookstore to get a good Rand McNally road map then the question of shoes arose.


They’d all brought suits, none of them brought black shoes.  So it was off on a shoe safari for  3 pair of black shoes size 11 ½ EEE. The boys were easy enough to shoe. They could get away with shoes slightly on the sporty side.  Vince was offered the Herman Munster collection.  I suggested he get a fancy pedi  and wear sandals with his suit, but he ixnayed that idea and figured he’d find something suitable between now and Monday.


There are all kinds of funerals. This one, I am sure will be marked by a sense of release. For my father, release from his physical aches and pains and the heartpain he’s been carrying since my mother died in 2005. For my brother, release from obligations he shouldn’t have been made to carry and a chance of a life of his own. For me, release from the guilt I’ve felt all my life about not being the daughter my father wanted.

I’m looking forward to seeing my cousins, friends and family,  Big Rita, Big Andy and their crew. The boys are looking forward to meeting cousins who look like them, but smaller and being able to talk to the mysterious Prince of Darkness in person.  Vince is up for the big ride. He likes a nice long road trip.


Tomorrow we have a much looked forward to lunch date with the charming Toritto in Tampa. Life is for the living.

This  following clip is  the  signature song of the incomparable Ramses Shaffy. He was  a chanteur extraordinare, a difficult and complex person. He reminded me a lot of my father. The lyrics say: Let me be, just let me be, this is the way I’ve always done things…This version has Ramses (who died shortly afterward) supported by his longtime singing partner, Liesbeth List and the band,  Alderliefste.

Amenhotep, King of De Nial



My father is dying. I know, we’re all dying by inches, but my father has a timeline. Weeks, if he’s lucky months. Lucky would be the other way around, trust me. The man has been busy dying since my mother passed away in 2005. I’m just hoping it happens as quickly and painlessly as possible.

You would think if you were told that your number is coming up really soon, that a person might have a bit of a meltdown, perhaps a big meltdown, but after that it’s time to see to practical matters, get one’s affairs in order and when that’s done, raise a little hell.

Not my father.

My father should be called Amenhotep because he is truly the king of De Nial. As with any other occasion or situation in his life which has proven difficult to handle, unpleasant to him, or a bit of a hassle, he choses to ignore it and believes this will make whatever it is go away. He lets other people deal with the mess, because the world revolves around him and we are there to serve.

My younger brother, aka The Prince of Darkness, has had power of attorney since 2007 when the pharaoh was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He’s also executor of our father’s estate. This is unfortunate. The Prince of Darkness is a wonderful guy but his organizational skills are nil, he cannot use a computer, he has difficulty dealing with bureaucrats (who doesn’t), and he isn’t really clear about what having poa or being executor of an estate means. I do. I understand all this and what needs to be done. I even understand why Amenhotep “arranged” things this way. It is another one of his power games. I think his biggest regret might be the fact that he’s going to miss any unpleasantness he’s worked so hard to orchestrate between my brother and me when he’s gone. He’d be disappointed; the Prince of Darkness and I stopped doing sibling drama about 20 years ago.

I was disinherited since before 2000. It’s happened on and off all my life and is one of my father’s favorite power games. It is not a big deal. We’re well off. I don’t need or want any inheritance and wish my brother all the best. My father named him as executor to slap me for saying I wasn’t interested in his money. He was fully aware that I would not let my brother struggle with this burden alone, eventually step in and do all the actual work that goes along with executing an estate. I told the Prince of Darkness that I’d help but I want expenses and the executor’s fee being that I’ll have to travel to the US, stay there a while and I’m not getting anything else out of it. The Prince of Darkness is cool with that.

The financial doodah, however, is not the worst part. The worst part is that Amenhotep refuses to make plans for hospice or palliative care. He will not discuss health issues. He will not discuss plans for his funeral. He talks about his “illness” with friends and family as though he’s going to get better. His illness is end stage leukemia. The man was offered aggressive chemo, which would probably kill him before it cured him, and (understandably) refused. Bone marrow transplants are not an option. It should be patently obvious to him that this is the end of the line, but he refuses to deal with reality. He thinks that if he does not plan he will not die.

But he is going to die and the few things within his locus of control, getting his affairs in order and making his wishes known regarding end of life care and his funeral are out of his line of vision. True to form, he is going to make this the most dreadful, painful and inconvenient process none of us who have to deal with him care to imagine at the moment.