"Now cracks a noble heart.
Good night sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"
(Hamlet, Act V Scene II, by William Shakespeare)
Tonight I must inform you that our dear Doc, my Sweet Bucaroooo Billseye, the love of my life, the heart of my heart, my best friend, lover, colleague, mentor, partner, muse, and spiritual companion escaped from his body, shuffled off this mortal coil, and began his journey to the Undiscovered Country. He died peacefully and quietly yesterday morning.
His transition was gentle, and it gives me great comfort (and, I must confess, more than a little envy) to know that he is now having lunch with Shakespeare, Shaw, Euripides, and Sophocles. I am a little irritated that he gets to meet J.S. Bach, Ravel, Poulenc, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, and Brahms before I do, but Doc/Bill has promised that he will come back and pick me up when it is my time and we can once again enjoy the adventures and wonders of the Universe together. Destiny put us together, and I know that Destiny will make sure that we are not apart for very long. We have many more lives to share and many more wonders to experience!
I tried to call as many people as possible, but time and exhaustion have necessitated that I now resort to the 21st century way of contacting you.
Music is numbers, and I love numbers. I found it fascinating that he died on 7/8/15. (7+8 = 15), and the time of his death was 10:05 AM (10+5 = 15). It was in his 13th day of being captive of his body (13 is a prime number, and a lucky one).
It is important that you know that his ending was peaceful, tranquil, comfortable, and painless. He went to sleep about noon on Tuesday, and as the day into night progressed the sleep became deeper and deeper until, by Wednesday morning, he was in a deep, relaxing coma. At 10:05 on July 8, 2015, he took his last breath and joined The Ages.
I kept him to myself for awhile. I trimmed his hair, shaved him, bathed him, and dressed him. I played music for him and talked to him. I put some of our favorite cologne on him so that he will smell great for his lunch with the master playwrights. When it was time and I was finally ready to bring in the outside world I called the Hospice nurse. She came to begin the process of bringing the curtain down on a most remarkable, unique, loving and lovely life. He looked peaceful and as handsome as always. He had used up his body and lived a truly wonderful, remarkable, incredible, and fascinating life.
He will be cremated. Since the last three weeks have been a love fest with so many tributes, emails, messages, and loving thoughts we decided that to have a funeral would be redundant. After all, how many people are able to enjoy their own funeral when they are alive! We are so grateful for all the beautiful thoughts and tributes we received during his last illness and, indeed over the last year since his heart attack on June 26, 2014.
And, as I also said, how many people are able to read the reviews of their life when they are alive! I told him that if he didn't feel loved, appreciated, and admired, then he just wasn't paying attention! But, of course, he did feel loved, and all of your wonderful and beautiful communications and attentions helped make this transition joyful. Thank you for that. We deeply appreciate every message, card, email, and thoughtful gift we received.
I will be working on his obituary over the next week or so, as well as setting up memorials in his name. Actually, up to this point I've been so focused on life and living and taking care of him I never considered what would happen after it was all said and done. I request that you please be patient and I'll keep you posted on things such as memorials as they unfold.
As I've said before, I always thought that he was immortal! To me, he was at least a demi-god. It was such an honor and a privilege to be married to him and to share his life these forty years. I felt so blessed that I was able to give him this last gift of helping his death be a beautiful and peaceful one. I know that I am a lucky girl. I am truly blessed!
And please don't worry about me. After I get a bit of rest I'll be fine. He left me with many years (decades, lifetimes) worth of projects to complete and things to look after so I'll keep quite busy. First up is to finish the World War 2 book plus handling all his plays. I also have some music of my own to that got put aside during all the health issues that I hope to complete in the near future. It's also going to take me at least a year to get my house cleaned, my gardens weeded, and my garage whipped into shape.
I know that right now I'm in a state of disbelief and exhausted (actually, beyond exhausted and more than a bit numb and in shock), but I'm young and strong and will have his love to help me through this transition. As I always say, "where Love remains, Life exists." And there is enought love of/for our beloved Doc/Bill to exist and keep me going for many lifetimes! Just know that after a few days of rest and a couple of good meals I'll be fine.
I will close for now with a poem (below) I wrote years ago. I will also attach a link for a bit of music (link to youtube video). It is Doc's back that you will see in the video, and the music is my tribute to him and his generation, The Greatest Generation.
Thank you again for all your love, friendship, and support during Bill/Doc's last illness and especially during this last year, and during the forty years we were blessed to have with each other. We couldn't have done it without you, and we are eternally grateful for all the thoughts and prayers during these complicated and difficult times.
We are truly blessed!
Stay healthy, be happy, and cherish each day and the ones you love.
Love - Linda (and Doc/Bill, of course!)
He banishes the clouds to clear the rain from the sky
Opening the heavens to make room for thoughts and prayers.
He breaths life into this mourning day
To fill our hearts with love and remembrance.
He invites the sun to find your face
while his spirit warms your heart -
showing the promise of your tomorrows
while protecting you now with yesterdays.
You share these moments
in a room filled with people
He cloaks you with comfort
And strengthens you in sorrow.
With every grief-bidden tear he kisses your cheek,
And strokes your soul with song and sorrow.
There, in a world of history, memory,
tradition, and continuity,
he joins The Ages.
His life is sanctified
and his soul becomes One with the Universal Truth.
Yea though he walks through the valley of death, his spirit lives on.
It is you and he,
as in the brief span you shared in life.
There, on the holy ground where Death physically parts you from each other
your love is set forever
- always young, always beautiful, always strong -
as a testament to the glories of the human heart.
And where Love remains
He lives on!
With us. In us. Through us.
On this Mourning Day
His accomplishments are noted.
His presence is recorded.
His life is celebrated.
- Linda Robbins Coleman
© February 6, 2000
This was originally posted on Dreamwidth, after which it wandered out to various other sites. Feel free to reply where ever you want. I should still see it.