In flight with my brother’s ashes at my feet
One last journey
Into the heights, soon to be delivered to the deep
I ponder the small receptacle of dust, absent of soul and spirit
There, sharing this space and time, but most certainly not there
Reduced to stowed baggage but replete with memory,
mostly sweetness, seasoned wit, abundance of good drink
and the ever-present purr of cats
While scorched by the fires of
well-intentioned but impossible expectations
and anger fueled by strident voices
that did not reflect the true heart of the man
Who was kind to the children,
those scarred by war and left behind without limbs
Who suffered loss, and drank the cup of life’s bitterness
Who left us suddenly, silently, without a word
We descend to the final approach
Smiling attendants bid adieu as I
walk with what remains of his earthly journey
Down to the sea
Richard Shields is a husband, father, and Pops to his three year old grand-twins.
He is currently retired from full-time work and spends most of his time between Illinois and West Michigan.
These words were penned on a flight from Chicago to Seattle after his older brother’s sudden passing just before Christmas 2019. His remains were committed to Puget Sound in March 2020, just prior to the COVID lockdown.