3.12.2009

Hello, Ronna.

After finishing a job, around 7:15 tonight, I went to the hospice to visit Ronna. (see the Any Day Now post). I was signing in and told the receptionist that I can't remember her room number. She looked her up, and said, let me call someone. I am just volunteering tonight. I heard her on the phone. She explained that a friend is looking for Ronna who is supposed to be in Room 7. At that moment, I knew. Of course they wouldn't give me any detail. I am not family. I understood.

I asked if there is a chapel or a quiet room where I can sit for awhile. I was shown the Reflection Room. I sat there. I felt my body surrender to the chair. I felt the weight of this body, held up by the chair. My arms are on the arm rest, my back supported by the back rest. My legs spilling out onto the floor, my knees separate, my feet on their outer edge. I was slumped. Like I died sitting. I connected with Ronna. I felt her presence. And I was taken back to Tuesday when I visited her.

I remember how I said goodbye. I went to her left side of the bed. With my left hand, I touched her right arm laying on her left arm. My right hand was on her hair. I let her feel my presence, and I think she moved to let me know she felt me. A couple of minutes later, I cupped her head and I kissed her forehead. And I said, I might not see you again, Ronna. Goodbye.

Slowly, I walked out of the room, with a heavy heart. It took a while before I was able to drive out of the parking lot. Like tonight.

There is a Portuguese word, SAUDADE (sow-DAH-deh), that is one of the hardest to translate to English. An oblate friend blessed me with this word last Sunday. Saudade. Here's how she beautifully defined it : SAUDADE is the feeling of simultaneous pain and joy at the memory of someone or something loved that is now lost or gone.  It is pain because of the loss; it is joy because of the love. Brazilians would say that there is never one without the other and that the only way to be truly human (i.e., to love) is to be willing to enter into the pain.  Thus much Brazilian music, poetry, literature is about Saudade - the joy of pain.  So Brazilians seek to remember even (especially) when the memories bring pain, because to forget is truly to lose that which was loved; it is willingness to bear the cost of pain in order to love.

The Portuguese "Eu sinto muitas saudades de vocĂȘ" is roughly translated I miss you too much.

I will miss you, Ronna.
I will miss your excited voice
when you tell stories.
I will miss the way you look
straight into my eyes 
when you speak to me,
when I speak to you.
I will miss your attention,
and your appreciation,
your acknowledgement
of who I am.

But I will not miss your spirit.
You are with me always,
here in my heart
where I can always say,
Hello, Ronna.

May you be happy.
May you be at peace.
May you be singing and dancing
With all the saints and angels
As they praise our Beloved One
Forever and ever.
Amen.

1 comment:

SUNRISE SISTER said...

A beautiful post Roy and a tribute to Ronna. The word Saudade is rich!