Aug 2 1997
by Patricia Elliott
They called me, said, William is gone, We
are sitting in the room with
him, overnight. The ICU wing. I pace around for a while, flooding with
thoughts, images and emotion. I go up, they let me in. Nurses are puzzled
that we sit with him, About 5 of us old friends. There he is,looking a lot
like he did when I met him in Texas decades ago. No hair now, fuzz, large
beak nose. I always thought him handsome. His brow right for how damn
smart he was. I go over, hold his arm, cold, he is a gray. I kiss his
cheek and sit down. I get the details, how he wasn't feeling well, they
called an ambulance. He had decided not to repair a faulty valve. He had
gone through heart surgery several years ago. I was wishing he had tried
repairing that valve, damn hard losing him. Actually I mean it will be
hard not having him around.
Dean was visiting, told me that William had said "I'll be back" then on
the ride he lapsed into sleep, so last verbal words but last ones in the
journal, which is what matters because the man was a writer, was "love,
that is all there is".
We all sit around, occasionally calling a friend somewhere to tell them
the old man was gone. Left too many messages on machines, a lot of people
felt him close.
James, one point went over to the bed, then kind of crumbled, fell across
his old man, shoulders shuddering, some sort of crying meow. I knew this
grief would consume him. I had a flash of worry. I thought that I had
never seen James so beautiful.
Later I wrote the bardo piece, surprised to see it here, floating in some