The young man noticed the older couple walking toward him at a slow and labored pace

The older man clinging to the older woman…his arm around her waist.


They stopped along the water’s edge…he gave her an embrace.

Then he stepped back, said “Smile”…as he put the camera to his face.


The young man walked to them instinctively…knowing what he should do

“Would you like me to take your picture?” he asked, “a picture of the two of you?


He took their picture, then another…and suddenly…on a whim

The old man grabbed the camera…said “Smile” then took a picture of him.


They chatted together for a while even filled a few more camera frames… 

by the time they were ready to part they knew each others names.


He hugged them goodbye and wished the couple well

feeling lucky they had brightened his day.

But he felt the old man touch his shoulder as he slowly walked away.


“I just want to thank you”, the old man said, “for taking our picture.”

“For the few moments that you stayed…

For your smile…for your kindness…

for the memories you made.”


He said he and his wife had traveled the world together

He spoke of the memories they’d amassed

But, he said, his wife was dying and this trip would be their last.


He said they have found that some of the greatest moments in life 

are the ones that are unrehearsed

and he thanked him again for making one of their last memories

as beautiful as their first.


The young man walked back and gave the wife a hug

He could feel her fragility as she whispered thank you in his ear…

He left them sitting, looking over the water, 

without looking back…


He didn’t want them to see his tears.

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Because I could not stop for Death – 

He kindly stopped for me –  

The Carriage held but just Ourselves –  

And Immortality.     (Emily Dickinson  1830-1886)


The call came unexpectedly breaking the serenity of the night

A friend I knew while growing up…had given up the fight…


She was loved when she was living.

She was loved the day she died…as witnessed by her entire family

standing by her side.


And though I hadn’t seen nor talked to her in over 50 years

my mind opened the door to her memories…and I was moved to tears.


So many memories…so vivid…so easy to discern…

Memories stored away for all these years…awaiting my return.


I remember how she lived at the bottom of the hill…just a short walk down from me

I remember spending many days and nights…feeling part of her family.


So many memories came rushing now.

So many memories to make me smile.

I was happy to let them wash all over me…and so I lingered there awhile.


I knew her when her fire burned bright…

and though I missed the rest…and I missed her fading embers

I’ll never forget her…because I can’t forget someone

who gave me so much to remember…


Because she could not stop for Death – 

He kindly stopped for her, I see –  

And so she rode off with that smile I’ll cherish forever…  


to Immortality.

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We grew up together, he and I…and recently he appeared within my thoughts

for I kept growing have had a full life…but he…well, he did not.


He died when we were young…to young…certainly too young to die…

He died before he got the chance to live…before I had the chance to say goodbye.


Before he had the chance to experience all the wonders that were due him

Before I had the chance to thank him…in the short time that I knew him.


To thank him for his friendship, before his world went numb

For helping me be the person I was back then…and the person I have become.


Everyone who crosses our paths impacts us is like a shining star

glowing, if even for short while, and influencing who we are.


I remember once we were playing with matches when our plans when a little haywire

and the open field across the street from his house…

well…we set the whole thing of fire.


No one was hurt, nothing damaged…but we both caught a lot of grief…

You see his father wasn’t just his father…he was our city’s fire chief.


Perhaps there are better examples…that if I searched my memories I could find 

but for whatever reason this is the first memory that popped into my mind.


It reminds me of a time we were young and innocent …before the time he died…

When making mistakes was easier…with a friend right by your side.


Perhaps that’s why I remembered this moment 

because, before his life would end,

he taught me a most important lesson…

how to be a friend.


Perhaps that’s what memories do…

they allow us to remember the who, the how…the why

so even when a friends is gone…


we don’t have to say goodbye.

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There is a place we love to walk…a secluded nature trail

where we can watch birds fly above our heads and feel the trees exhale.


Today we came upon a bench…in this place where animals dwell

that seemed to be inviting us over…so we stopped and sat a spell.


There was a plaque upon the bench…that brought a smile to my face

explaining why this bench was positioned in this place.


A couple used to walk this trail…hand in hand or side by side.

The bench was dedicated by their children…placed here once they both died.


I’m sure the bench was put here as a way to celebrate their lives.

To show the world, even after death, that love can still survive.


Perhaps it sits here to reawaken our hearts…to those who did conceive us…

Perhaps it’s here to remind us…those we love will never leave us.


Perhaps it’s sitting along the trail in the shade of the tall pine trees

to remind us we will all pass through nature…on our way to eternity. 


The bench is a little weathered now…I wonder…is it from the weather’s abuse

or, as their children had intended,…has it seen a lot of use?


Do their parent’s spirits sit on this bench…

enjoying the breeze…relishing in the view?

As we sat there watching birds fly over our heads…

I like to think they do.



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The willow grinned as the couple met…they were young…a bit afraid.

She smiled as she watch them fall in love beneath her shade.


The willow beamed when she saw them coming…she’d shake off her morning dew

honored they chose her shelter for their daily rendezvous.  


The willow frowned with sadness… something she’d never felt before…

as the boy placed a kiss upon the girl’s cheek…he was heading off to war.


“Wait for me”…he said to her…his touch giving her a thrill.

and the willow whispered with the girl…”I will…you know I will”.


And so they waited everyday…and everyday their hearts would yearn…

but war is cruel and callous…and the boy never returned.


The girl died of a broken heart…and now eternally sleeps…

The willow is still standing…but everyday…


she weeps.

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Her grandpa’s funeral was over…but she still hurt inside

so she ran into her bedroom…closed the door…and cried.


On her bed…her face lost in her pillow…is where her Grandma found her

and with the gentleness of an angel…put her arms around her.


“I miss him so much,” she said…”and I know all this crying would upset him

but Grandma…I am so afraid…I’m going to forget him”.


“Forget him! Forget your grandpa…Why child…that’s an impossibility…

Take my hand,” she said with hers outstretched,…”come and walk with me”.


They walked into her back yard…to the confluence of two creeks.

And as they sat down by the water she wiped the tears from off her cheeks.


“What you and Grandpa had was special…and he wouldn’t mind it if you cry…

but you’ll never forget him as long as you live.” she said, “Let me tell you why.”


“These two rivers flow independently…at least down that way…where they start,

but when they come together…here…you can’t tell them apart.”


“You and Grandpa are like these two rivers. Since the moment your lives blended

it’s hard to know where your life begins and where your Grandpa’s ended.”


“Whenever two people share love,” she said, “in their own time and space

A harmony…a symmetry…a confluence takes place.”


“A confluence is like a miracle…one river born from two…

Which means you will always be a part of him…and he a part of you.”


“It’s a simple fact of life…that nature has created…

Once two rivers come together…they can’t be separated.”


The little girl placed her head on her grandma’s shoulder,

she held her hand…she wouldn’t let go…

and they sat in silence on the riverbank

watching the river flow…


Watching two rivers blend into each other

watching how only one departs…

and sharing in the miracle….


a confluence of the hearts.

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She was in the mall…he was playing ball

when they got the call…they were both appalled…


And they were left disheartened wondering why.


He was in a different state…she’d been running late…

They’ll always remember the date…when they were damaged by fate…


For they never had the chance to say goodbye.


Every day in sun or rain…someone, somewhere dies in vain

and we feel the pain…those of us who remain.


As we are left dumbfounded wondering why.


Why did he die…why did she die

and we let out a sigh as tears fill our eyes.


Because we never had the chance to say goodbye.


Life does not last…and the end can come fast

when their destiny’s cast…they become part of our past


And we are left saddened and wondering why.


Why on this day…did they go away?

Didn’t we pray?…Why couldn’t they stay.?


Why didn’t we have the chance to say goodbye


Perhaps the best we can do…this has to be true!

is always bid adieu...paired with I Love You.


So we’ll never again wonder why…


And we’ll know come what may…at the end of the day…

love will not go away…love is with us to stay…



Because we never did not say goodbye.

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We discovered her this morning…as we walked along the street

A tiny bird with a spot of yellow…lying at our feet.


Deborah bent down and picked her up…not a feather disturbed on her head…

no indication whatsoever as to why she might be dead…


We immediately looked skyward…our eyes wandering into a nearby tree

as we searched for any semblance of her friends or family.


But the air above was silent…not another bird in sight

no way of knowing how this tiny bird…had come to lose her flight.


Yes, we know nature can be erratic…in who she allows to stay alive

those, who today, will perish…and those who will survive.


And we know nature can be cruel…as there’s often no discernible reason why…

this animal gets to live…while this animal has to die.


And we know they’re all connected…life, death, happiness,…sorrow and strife

For this is the nature of nature…this is the circle of life.


But as Deborah gently held this little bird…so beautiful…so petite

It saddened us to think…how her circle was now complete.


And we asked ourselves these questions…had this little bird ever flown?

Was her shortened life a happy one…did she perish all alone?


Deborah carried this little bird all the way home…she was as gentle as can be

and we buried her in our back yard…neath the shade of an old palm tree.


She now returns unto the soil…(from this world she is now gone)

where she will nurture the tree that shades her…

and the circle of life goes on.



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He was always talking about life and love. 

He loved Autumn leaves and winter snows.

And he loved to share thoughts of philosophers, 

of wise men…and Eskimos.


I loved listening to his stories…

for when he spoke his eyes would glow…

and my favorite stories throughout the years…

were those of Eskimos.


He often talked of birth and death…

saying…that's just the way life goes…

He’d ask, “Do you know whose view of death I find enchanting?”

I’d answer…”Would that be the Eskimos?"

He said when Eskimos look to the stars at night

they often smile and sigh

for they don’t see the stars as stars…

they see openings in the sky.


Openings from where, on the other side of heaven,

a loved ones light shines through

to let you know they’re safe and happy

and watching over you.


His stories…now a memory.

his eyes long ago lost their glow…

but when I search the stars at night…

I think of him…and Eskimos.


and  when I find a certain star…

I will sit back, smile…and sigh

for I know he’s smiling down on me

through his opening in the sky…


And I’ll remember how he talked of life and love

of his love for Autumn leaves and winter shows…

of how he shared thoughts of philosophers…


of wise men…and Eskimos.

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