July 6, 2013
Leslie died on Wednesday evening.
She didn’t want to die, of course, but she didn’t hold herself above death or see any reason she should be out of its reach. Bill, her husband, quoted Les to a group of us in a letter he wrote shortly after she died:
While she was in the hospital, she was visited by a chaplain and this is what Les had to say about her dying:
“I’ve had a good life. I’m ready. I trust in the process, the flow. Little fishes die, big trees die, who am I not to die too? Abraham Lincoln did it, my mother did it, my neighbor did it, I can do it too.”
I can imagine a small lift of one shoulder to dismiss her own importance as she said this. How like her to combine Abraham Lincoln, the old trees, her neighbor, her mother, the fish – the great and the so-called ordinary. She was extraordinary, a great soul, but also as ordinary and real a person as you’d ever want to know.
The day after Leslie died, I took my iPad over to Alice’s apartment and played her song, The River. Alice pressed the iPad against her good ear and listened intently. She could make out the melody and some, though not all, of the lyrics. When she put the iPad down, she turned to me and said, “How wonderful that you all have this.” And when I showed her the photograph of all of us around our friend in her hospital bed, Alice zeroed in on Leslie. Her finger touched just below Les’s face, and she said, “So brave. So brave.”
From Leslie’s song, Stars:
I’ve seen too many mornings to be doubtful of the light
I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night
– Leslie Robinson Sharp (1951-2013)
Thank you for your kind, sensitive, and touching comments and e-mail responses to the post, What to Take to a Dying Friend, and thank you for sharing it with so many people through re-blogging, through Facebook, and privately with people you love, as well as with support groups for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
NOTE: The copyright for all of Leslie’s music and lyrics belongs to her family. Please do not reproduce without permission. If you want to know how to get permission, feel free to contact me and I’ll direct you. Write to: andrea AT andreacarlisle DOT com.)