I am sorry to say that my sister Patti unexpectedly died on October 19th. She was only 48. My family is heartbroken, and feel the loss more deeply every day. Her funeral service was full of wonderful funny stories about Patti growing up, being a Mom, having fun with friends, and all the love she gave and received over the years. I have always loved the book The Next Place by Warren Hanson; I recommend it to many customers in our bookstore when they need something that can explain where people go when they die. I never thought it would become so personal. My brother Dan read this aloud at Patti's service, and it perfectly sums up where all my brothers and sisters, and Patti's kids feel she is now:
By Warren Hanson
Will be as peaceful and familiar
As a sleepy summer Sunday
And a sweet, untroubled mind.
And yet . . .
It won't be anything like any place I've ever been. . .
Or seen. . . or even dreamed of
In the place I leave behind.
I won't know where I'm going,
And I won't know where I've been
As I tumble through the always
And look back toward the when.
I'll glide beyond the rainbows.
I'll drift above the sky.
I'll fly into the wonder, without ever wondering why.
I won't remember getting there.
Somehow I'll just arrive.
But I'll know that I belong there
And will feel much more alive
Than I have ever felt before.
I will be absolutely free of the things that I held onto
That were holding onto me.
The next place that I go
Will be so quiet and so still
That the whispered song of sweet belonging will rise up to fill
The listening sky with joyful silence,
And with unheard harmonies
Of music made by no one playing,
Like a hush upon breeze.
There will be no room for darkness in that place of living light,
Where an ever-dawning morning pushes back the dying night.
The very air will fill with brilliance, as the brightly shining sun
And the moon and half a million stars are married into one.
The next place that I go Won't really be a place at all.
There won't be any seasons --
Winter, summer, spring or fall --
Nor a Monday, Nor a Friday,
Nor December, Nor July.
And the seconds will be standing still. . .
While hours hurry by.
I will not be a boy or girl,
A woman or man.
I'll simply be just, simply, me.
No worse or better than.
My skin will not be dark or light.
I won't be fat or tall.
The body I once lived in
Won't be part of me at all.
I will finally be perfect.
I will be without a flaw.
I will never make one more mistake,
Or break the smallest law.
And the me that was impatient,
Or was angry, or unkind,
Will simply be a memory.
The me I left behind.
I will travel empty-handed.
There is not a single thing
I have collected in my life
That I would ever want to bring Except. . .
The love of those who loved me,
And the warmth of those who cared.
The happiness and memories
And magic that we shared.
Though I will know the joy of solitude. . .
I'll never be alone. I'll be embraced
By all the family and friends I've ever known.
Although I might not see their faces,
All our hearts will beat as one,
And the circle of our spirits
Will shine brighter than the sun.
I will cherish all the friendship I was fortunate to find,
All love and all the laughter in the place I leave behind.
All these good things will go with me.
They will make my spirit glow.
And that light will shine forever In the next place that I go.
|Patti Wolfe 1964-2012|