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TO HELEN ……

Dear Helen,

There’s never been a day I read about you without shedding a tear in my heart and through my eyes. The latter may run an hour but the former travels days. It surveys minds, searches thoughts and lands on my soul. I just can’t help it, I don’t know why. And this time around I’m thinking maybe I can write to you, wherever you may be, or to me, and see how it goes.

I picture you two in that room – those last hours. I’m wondering how much strength you garnered at 14 or slightly over, to be that savvy. I picture you answering all of Jane’s questions with such conviction and peace. I remember you having such deep faith. I can feel the peace you so longed for, and that earnest desire to be rid of all forms of ache the eyelids can’t perceive.

I do long for that too, dear Helen. I know you knew you were leaving soon, you so surely were. I’d want to be too when I must. I don’t want it to come unawares. I want to be able, like you, to tell a Jane with such certainty where I’m heading to. I want to be able to still love in the pain, to still care in the discomfort, to still be honest about it all.

I know you may as well have ended in Jane’s mind or Charlotte’s ink or Penguin’s Classics et al; but I doubt there’s not even but a tiny tittle of you in me.

There’s got to be that conviction in Jove above

There’s got to be that serenity even as I cough out my breaths in this cocktail of ignorance, doubt, fear and else

There’s got to be that heart that longs for a Jane, that cares for her comfort and that cuddles for her calm

There’s got to be that knowledge that when the lids close, they’ll open up to glory

There’s got to be that you, dear Helen, in me, for sure, there’s got to be.

And as I said, you may have ended in Jane’s mind, or Charlotte’s ink, or Penguin’s Classics or in al.; but a great deal of you, my dear Helen, has ended up in me.

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