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CANDICE JAMES Poet Laureate Emerita, New Westminster, BC Canada
The aging process needs the forgetting
to prepare us to leave the familiar.
(excerpt from “The Forgetting” pg. 80)
Time, precious time, changes everything including our perspective.
Looking back, when I was 9 or 10 years old, I thought my grandmother was really old. Today, I’m 20 years older than she was at that time in my life … and I don’t feel as old right now as I thought her to be then. In our young days we don’t think about death, and we understand its full impact on life even less.
Now as I have entered what I think of as the last chapters of my life, I think about death and dying often. Some days I really think on it and feel it must be closing in on me. Other days it seems like it is not closing in, but just somewhere out there around the bend waiting patiently to come and collect me for the final journey home.
As I have aged, I find myself thinking on the past more and more, and I miss those dear ones that are no longer in my life more and more with each passing day. So many times I feel them near even though they are long gone from this earthly plane. In my poem “The Gap Between Pulse Beats” I describe what I think death is like.
I have sectioned this book into 4 parts: The first section is “Those gone Before” which reflects on the feelings we have when we lose a loved one or even just a casual friend; The second section is “Aging” which pinpoints the myriad of changes and emotions we feel as the end of life begins and death moves in and becomes closer to us; The third section is “Transitioning” which addresses the place in our lives when we seem to be here and yet not here at times which is life’s way of preparing us for the next journey when we depart this life; and the last section is “The End?” which goes through the motions and emotions that bring us to the realization that death is just the primer for the spirit to grow and move on to the next realm.
My hope is that this collection of poetry will soothe the aching heart for those that grieve and will calm the fears one may have about death being the end of everything. The finality of all. It is not the final destruction of our being. It is just a transitioning of flesh to spirit. We are not simply flesh and blood. We are souls inhabiting a body and death is just the burning off of the body from the soul; the separation of spirit from flesh.
When we reach “the end” on this earthly plane, we will realize we are still the essence of ourselves and time is only an illusion and does not exist in the reality of the all. So, rest easy, death is not the final frontier… it is simply the doorway to the wonderful world of spirit. A reunion with “Those Gone Before” where this is no “Aging” and we “Transition” to “The End?”. Notice the question mark at the end of the previous sentence. No, it is not a mistake. It is purposely there to drive home the fact that death is not the end. It is just the beginning!
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