Someone to Watch Over Me

Giant Sandcranes Dancing in California Ira Gershwin wrote the lyrics and his brother George wrote the music for the musical “Oh, Kay,” which opened on Broadway in 1926. In it a bootlegger, Kay, finds herself falling for a man and sings to a ragdoll. Dinah Shore recorded the song in 1945, then Frank Sinatra , Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Sting, and Elton John: “There’s somebody I’m longing to see . . . to my heart he carries the key . . . someone to watch over me.” Can my deceased companion, Elwin, as some say, watch over me? It’s impossible not to wonder where he is. A common experience after a loved one dies, is for the survivor to wonder where they went and read the literature about what happens after death—in the metaphysical realm. The opinions of my friends and family reflect that of the general population. About twenty-two percent of the US believe that deceased people no longer exist and seventy-eight

Faith, Hope, and Loss

                                                                             (Photo: Elwin at Yosemite) My experience isn’t unique. Joan Didion, C.S. Lewis, and Natasha Josefowitz eloquently explained it. Yet, I was unable to explain it when people tried to comfort me. Before After getting settled, Elwin pivoted the conversation and apologized, “I never wanted to do this to you.” For forty-six years, we had walked through sunshine and shadow, hand-in-hand; we had complete faith, trust in each other, and we had hoped for decades ahead of us. I replied, “You’re leaving us in good shape.” It took everything I had in me not to shatter. A few weeks earlier, I had been lying in bed, while he sat on the edge, coughing. I saw myself loading the dishwasher—normally done by him—without him and a premonition of his death. The image was unaccompanied by the anxiety that accompanies worry—that alone should have made me fearful. A premonition is supposed to be helpful, a heads up—instead I fe