My Papa died 10 years ago today. I often let my mind wander to memories of him. I miss the way he smelled and the way his hands felt. I miss his mischievous smile. I miss the feeling of contentment just sitting on his porch with him watching the day go by. I haven't done that in years, just sit outside and enjoy the day. At his funeral my brother read a eulogy that I have kept on a printed word file in my desk since. He read a passage from a poem by Khalil Gibran called A Tear and a Smile. The poem reads :
I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart
For the joys of the multitude.
And I would not have the tears that sadness makes
To flow from my every part turn into laughter. I would that my life remain a tear and a smile
A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding
Of life's secrets and hidden things.
A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind and
To be a symbol of my glorification of the gods.
A tear to unite me with those of broken heart;
A smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.
I would rather that I died in yearning and longing than that I live Weary and despairing.
I want the hunger for love and beauty to be in the
Depths of my spirit,for I have seen those who are
Satisfied the most wretched of people.
I have heard the sigh of those in yearning and Longing, and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody.
With evening's coming the flower folds her petals
And sleeps, embracing her longing.
At morning's approach she opens her lips to meet
The sun's kiss.
The life of a flower is longing and fulfilment.
A tear and a smile.
The waters of the sea become vapor and rise and come
Together and area cloud.
And the cloud floats above the hills and valleys
Until it meets the gentle breeze, then falls weeping
To the fields and joins with brooks and rivers to Return to the sea, its home.
The life of clouds is a parting and a meeting.
A tear and a smile.
And so does the spirit become separated from
The greater spirit to move in the world of matter
And pass as a cloud over the mountain of sorrow
And the plains of joy to meet the breeze of death
And return whence it came.
To the ocean of Love and Beauty----to God.
I had never heard the poem before that day but I have spent the last 10 years thinking about that poem. My Papa was an immigrant from Ireland who made a life here in America, marrying my Nana Ellen and raising his daughter Maureen. He was full of pride for his home country (his house was painted green, white, and gold representing the Irish flag). I truly believe the only thing he loved more than Ireland was his family which included his two only grand children me and my brother Jeremy. I have never felt as much love as I did from him. He truly thought I hung the moon. Or at least that is how he made me feel. I miss that. And a part of me went with him 10 years ago. But love never dies and he will remain with me until we meet again.