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Aubrey Hammack

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Death Sets a Thing Significant
By Aubrey Hammack   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Posted: Wednesday, January 02, 2008

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A poem by Emily Dickerson speaks to my grief.


                     Death Sets a Thing Significant




I had stopped by his house back in the summer while visiting my hometown.  I had seen him working in his yard and immediately recognized him.



I visited with him for perhaps an hour and a half as we stood out by his truck.  We talked of many things in that brief period of time such as people we knew, school, places, and what we had done with our lives.



When I got ready to go, we talked of getting together again and he gave me a couple of phone numbers that he wrote down and told me to call him and that maybe my wife and myself could come over and we would grill steaks.


I left with a warm feeling about renewing that friendship. 


That night while undressing I put those numbers on the dresser and then saw that piece of paper several days running before they were covered by something else. Later I searched for the numbers and could not find them and figured I would find them later.


This past September one day while reading my hometown newspaper on line, I ran across his obituary and was extremely shocked.  Later I found that he had died unexpectedly after having a routine colonoscopy at which time according to a couple of reports that I had that his intestines were punctured and infection set in.


A few days ago while moving something on that dresser, I noticed a piece of paper had fallen to the floor and as I picked it up, I recognized his hand writing.  It was an eerie feeling.


I told my wife about it and she referred me to a poem Emily Dickinson had written that speaks of such things.  I read that poem and tears came into my eyes as I realized that this poem was about something that I had just experienced.


Those words of hers are copied below:




Death sets a thing significant

The eye had hurried by,

Expect a perished creature

Entreat us tenderly


To ponder little workmanships

In crayon or in wool,

With “This was last her fingers did,”

Industrious until


The thimble weighed to heavy,

The stitches stopped themselves.

And when it was put among the dust

Upon the closet shelves


A book I have, a friend gave

Whose pencil, here and there,

Had notched the place that pleased him,

At rest his fingers are,


Now, when I read, I read not

For interrupting tears

Obliterate the etchings

Too costly for repairs


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Reviewed by Cynthia Buhain-Baello 3/22/2009
Hello Aubrey,

Such a wonderful write about how death suddenly comes and we are left suspended and numbed by the swiftness of it. A sad longing for "lost time" sets in...and the tears flow.

Reviewed by Lois Christensen 3/7/2008
Comforting to me after still grieving for Tom's death Aug 17 08. Inteerested in the eternal and good reading and yours is the best I've read so far. Keep on writing good like this
Reviewed by Susan Sonnen 1/2/2008
You have reminded us of how time slips through our fingers and how life (our own and the lives of others) is fleeting. I have had a similar experience. In fact, more than one similar experience, I am sad to say. Thank you for posting the Dickinson poem. She is one of my very favorite poets, but I do not recall having read this particular poem before today. You are right, this poem says it all.
Reviewed by Staci Gansky-Wagner 1/2/2008
Sad but perhaps finding that piece of paper is a sign from above. Departing is a part of life, but even so, time we now have is a blessing on earth. A good message in your article.
Reviewed by Susan de Vegter 1/2/2008
I cried for your friend and you.

"Tell someone you love them, before it is too late."


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