A hope note
A mini-caravan of four vehicles wound its way down the gravel road, on the way to the river to deposit the remains of their friend. No oncoming vehicles pulled over for this funeral procession, because there was no traffic on this lonely road. Following the lead car, the other cars pulled over and parked in some high grass off the side of the road. ‘There’s a path down to the river just 15 feet on the other side of these weeds,’ the leader said.
Nine mourners gathered at the river. The oldest sat on an old piece of driftwood; the rest stood silently, awaiting some final words before committing the cremains to the river. The officiant centered his remarks on Jesus’s love for the outcasts and losers of the world. He offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the cups of cold water the deceased received, and the cups he gave, in his short, tortured life.
A friend distributed copies of a poem called ‘Dark Mistress’ that the deceased had written during one of his stays at a rehab center. It was our hope, and his, that someone will hear and heed his wise words from beyond.
‘Just as a shadow will fade with the light,/ She’ll rob you of soul then slip away in the night./ She is a master of many, yet a friend to no one;/ She’s led many to hell, letting them believe it was fun./ Her name is addiction, just one of Satan’s spawn; /If she has her way, you’ll not live to see dawn./ Gently in goes the needle; you draw back ’til there’s red./ Slowly you push in the plunger, the ringing’s hard in your head./ Remember so well your last gasping breath./ The demons are now coming; they’ll guide you to death.’
We strewed his ashes and some cut flowers on the still water and quietly returned to our cars and drove away.