Bastille Day holds a special place in my heart. It was on Bastille Day in 1955 that my older brother was born. He loved celebrating Bastille Day on his birthday. And why not? Our family loves the French people, the country, the French food and wine, the culture, the history, the architecture, the gardens, the monuments, and the French way of life. Amour de la vie Française!
My brother was a photographer. He spent time in Europe learning the craft and continued to enjoy it throughout his life. Photography and Bastille Day celebrations were both passions for him.
I almost missed seeing the sky tonight. I spontaneously ventured outside at 9:00 p.m. to run an errand. The evening sky was ethereal and I thought of my brother. Perhaps, I thought, he is looking down upon our family, providing a brilliant evening sky to let us know he’s doing fine.
There is a poem that has brought me comfort in times of death. It’s often attributed to Mary Elizabeth Frye although the origin has been disputed over the years. Abigail Van Buren, the newspaper columnist known as Dear Abby, confirmed Frye’s authorship after researching the subject. There is more than one version of this poem floating around on cards and the internet. I share this one, the first version I read:
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
—Mary Elizabeth Frye.
Rest in peace, Richard. See you on the other side someday.