I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. One week ago, last Saturday; my maternal grandmother celebrated her 80th birthday. We talked on the phone for about twenty minutes or so. It made me happy to hear she was doing well. It’s always a bright spot talking with her.
The next day, I got a phone call from my father. My Great-grandmother, Earlene Stone, had passed away. In a few months she would have been 105 years old. Today is her funeral.
A few days after getting the phone call from my dad, Pat sent me an email with a poem that he couldn’t get out of his head. The poem is titled “Do Not Go Gentle Into the Good Night” by Dylan Thomas. According to Pat, Thomas wrote the poem for his father, who was dying.
—Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I met her only a few times, but every time I did she would tell me and my brother how much she loved us and there was nothing we could do to change that. Earlene Stone lived a very long life and was loved by too many people to count.