The Return

“Unto Me is your return”
God assures.
..And in a moment
when the worry
for our future
of that future beyond which there is no more future
breaks through
the constrictions
of the here and now
Grandma
travelled to Mecca.
Dressed in Ihram
her husband at her side.
Together
they journeyed out
toward God
actors bound
for a heavenly play
delivered
to a stage
a theatre
for a dress rehearsal 
of the passage between
this our world and the next.
With practice complete
lessons learned
Grandma returned
to us.
My thoughts yesterday asked aloud
if that rehearsal had been sufficient for this, for today?
Joining us
in the prayer hall
she waited in the corner
patient
uncomplaining
within her confines
Attired in the same Ihram
worn to that earlier dress rehearsal
so long ago.
Ready to ship out
to God
once again
this time
in a plywood box…
We prayed
together
as best we were able
I choked as she was
loaded into a transport
bound for her destined
two cubic meters of earth.
The theatre of her finality
tranquil
remote
a hillside of grass and headstones
its inhabitants underground
a freezing stillness above.
Standing by her grave now
as I stood by her bed then
just a few days ago
I see
how different that rehearsal
from this finale
No fellow players, this time
No stage props
No audio track
No adrenaline rush
No sense of accomplishment…
That had been a return to God’s house
this a return to God’s earth
That an elevation of the spirit
this it’s emancipation.
…And
for us who remain here
even as our futures bifurcate
no joy of a reunion
no excited discussion of her journeys
no celebration of her spiritual discoveries
just a grave confirmation
of the truth in God’s assurance
“Unto Me is your return”.

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