Vigil by Sara Wright

Preface: I am submitting this story for publication because it occurred during the Christian Holy Week and because it involves me, a woman who follows her dreams… That I did so in this instance was important in ways that I cannot comprehend rationally. But I know that it involved creating space for some kind of passing over from one way of being to another. Every word is true.

Roy comes Home

In the dream I’m creating a ceremony to welcome Roy home – it’s very elaborate – yet fluid – it’s fine when I make mistakes – I am creating the space for his death but also welcoming him home. I am also asking for gifts that are expensive. Someone, I think it’s Roy, says humorously and with kindness, “You don’t want much do you?” I laugh. He is teasing me. I finish the ceremony, and I see Roy in an old dented truck pulling on his ears – he can’t hear me but we have made contact. There is such Joy in his heart that I know All Will Be Well….

I have this dream on March 26th. When I wake up I don’t know if this dream is precognitive or not.

Roy, who was 104, had taken a fall and was recovering at the Veteran’s Home. He was due to return home in couple of days. He did come home. April 1st he was rushed to the hospital with blood clots in his lungs. When his daughter Mary called me with the news two days ago she had been told that his organs were shutting down.   

That night I put my trust in the dream I had on March 26th, choosing to follow its instructions… Roy’s great love was nature. He found both solace and sustenance there, and like me, he walked the forest alone, so I believed that my little ceremony would please him. We followed the same Muse…

I lit a candle, and scented the air with balsam; I stood under my little niche in the corner gazing up at the Medicine Wheel, called in the four directions, extending my arms, palms open, imagining that I was lifting Roy up in some way, inviting him into this circle. A deep silence penetrated the dark room. I imagined peace, as images of our time together poured through me. The dogs appeared as witnesses, which was their custom. When I sang my little made up song, Sara’s Circle, I invited Roy in for a second time as Lily b (my 30 year old free flying house dove) joined in cooing.  I blessed us all with brook water that I had left in a crystal bowl, water that was left over from a full moon ceremony.  I included Roy in absentia, and then stood there in silence. That’s when I saw the fish rising up around us in a circle. Of course the fish would come! Roy had been a fisherman all his life, escaping into the forest alone to find woodland brooks that held his precious trout. After more stillness, I thanked the guardians, opened the circle, and let the candle burn on …

Covid and my last winter in New Mexico had kept me from seeing my friend for the last 18 months. And because he was so deaf I couldn’t talk with him.  

When I returned to the computer, words appeared on an ad that had popped up in my absence – words that I had never noticed before:

End of Life Information.”

Around eight on April 3rd Mary called to tell me her father died in his sleep a little after dawn. She had been with him the night before. She told me that he was elated. He told her happily that he would soon be coming home and regaled her with stories, his mind as sharp and clear as ever.

Roy’s last day ended happily with his daughter’s visit, and he was still telling stories. It was Good Friday. Parts of the dream remain obscure, but the last lines shine on.

 “All Will Be Well”.  And so it was for him.

April 3rd 2021

I first met Roy in 1988 on the mountain behind my house where he was cutting his field with a scythe. I remember looking around this immaculately kept meadow with a kind of dazed wonder – Oh, how much the land was loved! The feeling struck me with such force that I felt an instant connection to this stranger. Roy became my first friend and now, so many years later, I had a basket overflowing with happy memories… Roy was a historian and a scholar, although he worked in the mill for his entire life. I learned most of the history of this area directly from him. Roy and his wife Lois took me in like an adopted daughter; I celebrated holidays with them, listened to countless stories, his guitar music, laughed at Roy’s quick wit and gobbled down Lois’s apple pies. My animals were always welcome. When my house was being built I showered there routinely, while living in my camp during the colder months. The two stacked my wood for me the year I was swamped while teaching. I had fresh trout for dinner each summer, thanks to Roy’s love of fishing (these gifts continued until he was 102 and couldn’t walk through the woods anymore). The first tree I planted here came from their house as a seedling… I could go on and on.

Roy stands out in my life as one of the most powerful models of what it is really like to be a good man, a gentle man, not one who has predicated his life on power – Roy understood what love was and demonstrated it by being a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and loyal friend. He loved all animals. No wonder I loved him. Every action he took spoke volumes about his personal integrity. His mind remained sharp and clear throughout his life. Roy would have celebrated his 105th birthday this June. Instead we will have a celebration of his life, outdoors, (hopefully on the edge of the forest as I suggested – the rest of his family does not have that intimate connection to nature that we did) on this day.

Sara is a naturalist, ethologist (a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.

Author: Sara Wright

I am a writer and naturalist who lives in a little log cabin by a brook with my two dogs and a ring necked dove named Lily B. I write a naturalist column for a local paper and also publish essays, poems and prose in a number of other publications.

6 thoughts on “Vigil by Sara Wright”

  1. What a profoundly beautiful and true, story, dream, man, and friendship. Thank you for sharing and sympathies for this loss.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a blessing Roy was in your life. I’m sure he enjoyed the ceremony you did for him. These days, I think we all need to imagine peace and create blessed space for living and dying. How sad that you lost your dear friend, how glorious that you were friends for so many years. Blessings today to you both.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In last night’s dream Roy brought me a giant valentine full of chocolates! I dislike these collective holidays but he and his family celebrated all of them – and Roy loved chocolate!!!!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. What a wonderful life; thank you for sharing your love and memories of this amazing elder with us.


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