The Lamp That Is Not Turned Off
Elita Sohmer Clayman

A dear friend of mine passed away suddenly a few weeks ago. He and his sweet wife took the day off from their business and spent a fine day together sitting on their deck and watching the flowers and the birds on a nice spring day. That evening they went to their business which happened to be a dance hall-studio. After a few hours there, they were leaving when one of the teachers made a comment about a prominent older dance teacher who had just passed away. He said to them something like we have to appreciate every day and be happy to be alive. They did live their lives that way.

They came home and he dropped with a severe heart attack and died a few minutes later.
Everyone was shocked and dismayed and it makes one wonder at this thing called life.
Some days we are bored, some days we are exhilarated, some times we are tired and some days we yearn for something exciting to happen. We never know what is in store for us or our loved ones. We often say we will start smelling the flowers and we will stop dwelling on bad things with bad thoughts. We do not always adhere to those thoughts.

It is easier to say than to practice. After an experience like mentioned above, then we do really start to be happier and more content with what we have or been dealt.That surely lasts maybe a short time like a week or two and then we go back and act and live the way we always did before this happened. We get bored, we work too hard, we envy others who have more than us or we just plain are dissatisfied with things. We should be counting our blessings.

We forget that this awful thing happened to a good person and his family are still grieving and will be for a long and even longer time. They will go back to their work, to their daily routine and miss him so much. They will remember the happy times and the good remarks and special moments that all had together. A word, a phrase, a thought and even a special food will remind them of the deceased. They will laugh at something they remember he joked about and they may have not laughed then when it was said. They will recall a piece of clothing he wore that they loved or did not care for and may have made a comment on. They will remember the trips they took together and enjoyed each other’s company. They will think about when they had family and holiday celebrations and everyone ate to their heart’s content and everyone was tired from all the holiday preparations.

They will remember tender moments and sweet gifts given to each other for anniversaries or holidays. They will reminisce about funny experiences and going to restaurants to eat together a simple meal or an elaborate meal. It did not matter because they were together. My own mom used to say after my dad died, that one of the hardest things was to eat alone especially at home. She would sit at the kitchen table and could still hear his words complimenting her on the dinner even if were a light dinner. He got pleasure out of everything she cooked and applauded her with verbal thanks. From an elaborate holiday meal to a modest cup of soup or a scrambled egg, he thought it delicious. He had been poor growing up and mealtimes were happy and together moments when the whole family sat and ate together. He equated us all eating together every night to a festive occasion. That is why she missed him so much at dinner time. Every meal was a feast of food, of talking and mostly of being together.

I bought at Barnes and Noble bookstore an inexpensive book of Shakespeare writings. It is called No Fear Shakespeare and explains in easy language interpretations of Shakespeare’s writings. In Sonnet 97 it explains Sonnet 97
My separation from you has felt just like winter, since you’re what makes the year pleasurable. We should all remember that when our loved ones are with us, we should tell them daily that we love them and not think that oh I will say that next time.Sometimes, we are not lucky enough to see them next time. Take the moment in hand and say it now because now is here and we never know when the here is gone.

My friend mentioned above who passed away suddenly always shared his love with his love. They had a second marriage each to one another and even though their time was short, about eight or nine years, they filled each day with love and rememberances.They showed each other that now is here and here is now and they did not wait for the separation to happen suddenly to express those thoughts. Those thoughts were ever present and ever spoken and that is what love and devotion to one another is. Their names are Cindy Sumida and Ed Timmerman and they own the Promenade in Baltimore, Maryland.

This is the inheritance of the remaining person, having the spirit and the days past engraved on one’s heart forever. That keeps us alive in someone else’s heart and that is our legacy-being remembered with devotion, love and our self. Someone once wrote
“Spirit is an inward flame; a lamp the world blows upon but never puts out.”

My late friend and his wife will never have their lamp blown out or turned off. Their lamp is lit forever in their hearts and in their souls.

Elita Sohmer Clayman
Baltimore, Maryland
May 2008

Keep on Dancing


Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL