The chant, “Bleibet hier, Stay With Me,” has been a haunting backdrop for me this week. Serious illness and painful life transitions in my faith community and family have called me to hold vigil with those whom I love. With Marge Piercy in her poem, “Gracious Goodness” I ask, “Why is there nothing/I have ever done with anybody/that seems to me so obviously right” than to hold vigil with others? Stay with me. Remain here with me. Watch and pray. Watch and pray.
And now my sister-in-law is finally at the end of her agonizing journey through Alzheimer’s. She is in hospice at a memory care facility three short miles from me. Stay with me, remain here with me. My vigil candle ablaze, I look toward her care unit and send light. An adaptation of the Loving Kindness prayer finds its way to Phyllis on each breath I send:
May you be safe from harm. May you be free from fear. May you be released from pain. May you pass into light in peace. I love you, Phyllis. May I let you go with joy. There is solace for me in this commingling of spirits.