Go Down DeathTo All,
Thank you so much for the messages of support. I will be sure that Diane's Family receives them also.
Diane and I were members of an online support group, LMSarcoma hosted by Yahoo groups. We both received huge amounts of really good information about this leimyosarcoma curse and tons of support for what we were going through.
It was odd that when I went to the LMSarcoma site to post about Diane there was a lot of chat going on that day about fear. Diane had often talked about her not wanting people to talk of her "brave battle" or "strong struggle" with LMS. She said that because she believed that no one who was as fearful of this disease as she, should be labeled strong or brave. She said she experienced some fear almost every day. I disagreed with her then and continue to believe that she, like all those battling cancer, are some of the bravest and most caring people I have ever known. I believe that all of those Chemo Warriors know , like Diane did, what they are fighting and each of them know, like Diane expressed, what it is like to regularly have that pit in the bottom of the stomach called fear. Yet despite that, each day they get up, go forward, support each other and do what they need to do to continue the business of living. It is not the absence of fear that defines bravery but action regardless of the fear. From what I have seen, all of those Chemo Warriors and Care Givers, are very deserving of being labeled brave.
There comes a time a most of our lives when the body is just not able to continue. A major organ failure, medicine that no longer works or just plain old age can cause us to reach the point that it is time to let go of this mortal shell. I have seen it before and saw it again when Diane was just no longer able to fight. My mother went through it in her battle with cancer many years ago. After her death, a friend gave us a book called "Gods Trombones" by James Weldon Johnson, a collection of African American poetic sermons written in free verse that are so simple, in language yet so very profound. One of the sermons in the book is a funeral sermon for an old woman to whom death appears not as a fearsome specter but as "a welcome friend". I was so moved by its’ appropriateness for my Mother that we had it read at her funeral. And now, some 29 years later, I feel the exactly the same towards Diane’s struggle and final release. I have changed a few words to make it more specific for Diane.
Diane had requested no funeral services for her so it is here that I offer this sermon and it’s message of love.
In loving memory of Diane Marie Perry .
Go Down Death !
Weep not, weep not,
She is not dead
She's resting in the bosom of Jesus.
Heart-broken husband--weep no more.
Grief-stricken son-weep no more.
Left-lonesome daughter--weep no more.
She's only just gone home.
Day before yesterday morning,
God was looking down from His great high heaven,
Looking down on all his children,
And His eye fell on Sister Diane,
Tossing on her bed of pain.
And God's big heart was touched with pity,
With the everlasting pity.
And God sat back on His throne,
And He commanded that tall bright angel standing at His right,
"Call me Death."
And that tall bright angel cried in a voice
That broke like a clap of thunder;
Call Death!--Call Death!
And the echo sounded down the streets of heaven
'Til it reached away back to that shadowy place,
Where Death waits with his pale, white horses.
And Death heard the summons,
And he leaped on his fastest horse,
Pale as a sheet in the moonlight.
Up the golden street Death galloped,
And the hooves of his horse struck fire from the gold,
But they didn't make no sound.
Up Death rode to the Great White Throne,
And waited for God's command.
And God said: "Go down, Death, go down,
Go down to, Washington State,
Down to Bellingham
And find Sister Diane.
She's borne the burden and heat of the day,
She's labored long in my vineyard,
And she's tired-
Go down, Death, and bring her to me.
And Death didn't say a word,
But he loosed the reins on his pale white horse
And he clamped the spurs to his bloodless sides,
And out and down he rode,
Through heaven's pearly gates,
Past sun and moon and stars;
On Death rode
And the foam from his horse
Was like a comet in the sky,
On Death rode,
Leaving the lightning's flash behind,
Straight on down he came.
While we were watching round her bed,
She turned her eyes and looked away,
She saw what we couldn't see;
She saw Old Death. She saw Old Death
Coming like a falling star.
But Death didn't frighten Sister Diane;
He looked to her like a welcome friend.
And she whispered to us: I'm going home.
And she smiled and closed her eyes.
And Death took her up like a baby,
And she lay in his icy arms,
But she didn't feel no chill.
And Death began to ride again-
Up beyond the evening star,
Out beyond the morning star,
Into the glittering light of glory,
On to the Great White Throne.
And there he laid Sister Diane
On the loving breast of Jesus.
And Jesus took his own hand and wiped away her tears,
And he smoothed the furrows from her face,
And the angels sang a little song
And Jesus rocked her in his arms,
And kept a' saying, Take your rest,
Take your rest, Take your rest.
Weep not--weep not,
She is not dead;
She's resting in the bosom of Jesus.