Over the past few months I have reflected on death and its entwinement with life. Death is an appointment that none of us can escape. I believe that death is not the end, only a transition. Given the subject matter was so much on my mind I recently purchased three books by Elisabeth Külbler-Ross. It was back in the 1970’s when I first became aware of the work of Külbler-Ross. I then had the opportunity to attend a workshop with her when she visited Brisbane in the late 1970’s. Kübler-Ross refers to death as the final stage of growth. Her ground-breaking research with the terminally ill led her to identify five stages of grief: Denial and Isolation; Anger; Bargaining; Depression; and Acceptance.
Part of the reason I have thought about death is because my mother is 88 years old and her husband and companion of 25 years just six months older. Kelvin and Valma were sweethearts during the war but Kelvin’s mother thought her son was too young to marry. While Valma wrote to Kelvin the letters were never past on. The letters Kelvin wrote to Valma were never posted by his mother. Nevertheless, love will find a way and after the death of my father the sweethearts were reunited and together again after 45 years.
Tragically, Kelvin was in a car accident in Sydney last Saturday and passed away peacefully yesterday. Far too soon. Even though he was ageing he was a well man and could have lived longer.
In memory of you Kelvin Wayne Pleming I post the following:
(John Gillespie Magee Jr)
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Ho’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through the footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God