Monday, December 06, 2010

Swan Song

(Part 3 of 3)

Swan Song

I, mere mortal, have no more songs to sing except this, the final one, my earthly swan song.

Very soon my soul will leave this breathless body behind and soar, unburdened, toward home.

Very soon my soul will fly, finally free, into the heavens and take its rightful place in the Universe.

Very soon its past and present and future will be over and my soul will wait, patiently, for its lover.

And until she arrives I, immortal soul, will be singing the best I can.

* * *

"Smile" was written by Charlie Chaplin and is sung here by Nat King Cole. Charlie could smile in the worst of circumstances. And so can I.

And so can you.


Kim Ayres said...

Charlie, Charlie, Charlie...

((manly hugs))

Djanstewart said...

I cannot speak. Tears are streaming. I know you and I will always be grateful.

savannah said...

Thank you for everything, Charlie. I'll be seeing you, Sugar. xoxoxoxox

Faysoflife said...

Please count Martha as the luckiest woman I know.
And now, I'm speachless (write that in your calendar) I miss you already.

domesticatedbohemian said...

Charlie. Good lord Charlie. You have the heart and the soul of a hero. You're not gone yet, and I hope to see future posts. If not, you have signed off in style. I have a proposition for you. This blog has inspired me and others. I'd like to keep it, and your spirit, alive in some way. I'd like your permission to do something. I'd like to use your profile pic as the basis of an award that I will give to pieces of writing that move me like yours has done. I won't award it every week, that would be crass. But when I do so, it'll be for something special. Call it the "Charlie" why don't we. As in you've won a "Charlie". Or if you prefer "The Prof. Worm" award. I promise I'll handle it with love charlie. I also want you to say yes now so that you can see it awarded and feel your blogging spirit goes on.

Ponita said...

Ah Charlie... you've brought me to tears... my own mum died from lack of wind due to many years smoking... and it breaks my heart that you are doing the same. It breaks my heart that your love for Martha is tearing you apart, not wanting her to be alone. But even after you are gone (and you are not gone yet!), you will always be with her. Your love for her, your respect, your caring... will always live on with her. And she knows that one day, she'll be with you again. And then nothing will come between the two of you ever again. Your body may be failing you, Charlie, but your 'heart' is huge and strong and endlessly loving... You're a magnificent man and I am so blessed to have met you here, to have gotten to know you, and yes, to even love you. Be at peace, dear Professor, for you are loved and will never be forgotten. xoxoxo

Pat said...

You are one of the blessed to have a love like Martha's,
and please know that you are well loved elsewhere - all over the world. To hell with the germs (mine) - I'm sending you really gentle hugs.

trina said...

sniff snifff, Charlie..... Be strong


Deanna Schrayer said...

Oh Charlie, I'm so sorry that I only just recently found you. But in that short time it was easy to see what a wonderfully loving person you are. Your posts have made the tears roll, both in hilarity and in heartwrenching sadness. Now....I guess those tears are somewhere in-between, bittersweet I suppose you could say.

I'm going to miss you so much, but I have to say I Love the domesticated bohemian's idea, (please forgive me for forgetting real names at the moment), of continuing your spirit with the Charlie Award - what a fabulous idea! There are so very few bloggers out there who pour their heart and soul out for all the world to see, who show us the bad with the good, and who bring on the tears. You are the tops Charlie, and I will always appreciate the inspiration you've brought. Thank you.

Bouncin' Barb said...

When you get there, tell my husband I'm doing fine and looking forward to being with him again! It's a beautiful place he tells me. Don't be scared. You will still be able to see Martha.

barbara said...

You'll always make me smile, Charlie, even with the tears rolling down my face. Bless you.

Syd said...

I wish that it were not so.

Madame DeFarge said...

Charlie, I wish that we all had someone who loved us as you do, and could love someone as you do Martha. I can't think of anything remotely intelligent. Take care and remember that the class isn't quite dismissed yet. All my love, Madame DeFarge

Deanna Schrayer said...

Charlie, for you, my "pitifully unworthy" appreciation post:

Deanna Schrayer said...

By the way, that's on my fiction blog, not the one I normally post under here.

Bibliophilebythesea said...

Charlie, dear blogger friend....we will all meet at a later date......don't forget how much pleasure you brought to so many.

Alice said...

I won't miss you, because you will always be a click of my mouse away and now maybe I can finally catch up on all your past posts! It's meant a lot to have you there with me at the beginning of my blogging. I love you.

Brenda said...


I heard about your from the domestic bohemian. I am so saddened to have found you at this time.
Yet; always know that you are loved; and always will be; especially by Martha.

I'll be sending loving thoughts and healing to you and Martha.

Perhaps; I shall see or hear from you soon; and if I do, Philip will be the first to know.

Peaceful journey, Charlie....

Bth said...

Gosh. I am a teary mess. That was utterly beautiful. I popped over to see your blog because of a recommendation from thedomesticatedbohemian. I only wish I'd followed you sooner. With love.

Cyndi said...

Thank you for sharing. Thank you for inspiring. I have written my reaction on my blog and shared the video. You are leaving your mark. For that, I thank you. I could only hope to aspire to do the same with my time here.

Charlie Callahan said...

Thank you for the award and the appreciation post—which is far from "pitifully unworthy".

Charlie Callahan said...

Philip's idea is being implemented. More details to come.

Lady Jennie said...

Hi Charlie. I just wrote a poem for a little 5 year old who is also waiting. The doctors can't do any more. I don't know if you will like it or not, but here it is. I don't think I could say anything better than that.

Child dancing, heart's delight
Petals floating, happy light.
Angels waiting, face benign,
“This small child is one of mine.”

Fragrant blossoms, fresh with dew,
Princely garland over you.
Tinkling music, a fairy's laugh
Leads the frolic down the path.

Mighty fortress sound, secure,
to shelter children coming here.
Wooden doors lead to the hall;
I know this one! I know them all!

Happy voices, “Come and eat!”
For you, there's always been a seat.
A room, a hearth, a forever be
With forever views on acorn trees.

Calmly playing, heart content,
waiting til my family's sent.
Bright eyes twinkling - the King is here!
“This child's one that I hold dear.”

Fishing said...

Outstanding, I am going back to read your posts from 2005. Hope you don't mind the song copy and God Bless and Keep You, He Will!

Eryl said...

Not sure I can, but I'll try harder. Thank you!

Deanna Schrayer said...

Yes! I will certainly shout it out when it's ready. Thanks so much Charlie - and Philip!

TechnoBabe said...

Hi Charlie, I finally have my computer back from the repair shop at the Apple store in Omaha. I am reading all the blog posts I missed and I now I will read them all.

Charlie Callahan said...

Thank you, Lady J. Children "waiting" is so sad and I wonder, WHY the little ones?

Charlie Callahan said...

A beautiful comment, P. And now I have a few tears too. Thank you, my friend.

Kim Ayres said...

OK, that worked, now let's try the actual message:

After nearly 5 years of being blogging buddies, I couldn't let your retirement go unmentioned. Do pop over and read it if you have the energy

Stinkypaw said...

May you find peace on your travel... I consider myself very lucky to have met you, even if only thru the net, and will never forget you, cause you're a friend!

Bouncin' Barb said...

I'm glad you weren't offended by it in any way. It was meant to be a warm wish and perhaps a bit of a peek into what may be.

Elisabeth said...

My father died of emphysema, too, Charlie. He died as my husband jokes, 'from want of breath'. Want of breath kills us all in the end.

I admire your courage here, Charlie, and your ability to smile in face of it all. The courage to face death is the greatest courage of them all.

Your words in these last few posts remind me of a letter that I came across in a book by Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries. I include it here in full because it speaks so powerfully about the same things you describe here.

I have not known your blog long, but I hope we talk again, Charlie. If not, I offer you a fond farewell. Your blog will outlive you, like a loving child and help us all to remember you.

'Ottawa, April 6, 1955
My dear,
Time is short. Dr Shortcliffe says it will be a matter of days, doesn't he? This is not, of course what he tells me, but what I overheard him saying to you last night, whispering in the corridor, after I was moved to the General. My hearing has remained oddly acute.
My mind, while less acute, is at ease about financial resources for you and for the children. The house, of course, is secured- for I feel sure you would be reluctant to leave familiar surroundings, particularly your garden- and there are sufficient funds as you know for the children's education.
But you will want money for travel-why is it we have not travelled you and I?- and for small luxuries, and it has occurred to me that you might wish to offer for sale my lady's-slipper collection. I am certain it will bring a good price. I suggest you contact Dr Leonard Lemay of Boston University whose address is in my pocket diary. I expect you will sigh as you read this suggestion, since I know well that Cypripedium is not a genus you admire, particularly the species reginae and acaule. You will remember how we quarrelled- our only quarrel, as far as I can recall- over the repugnance you felt for the lady's slipper morphology, its long gloomy (as you claimed) stem and pouch-shaped lip which you declared to be grotesque. I pointed out, not that I needed to, the lip's functional cunning, that an insect might enter therein easily but escape only with difficulty. Well so our discussions have run over these many years, my pedagogical voice pressing heavily on all that was light and fanciful. I sigh, myself, setting these words down, mourning the waste of words that passed between us, and the thought of what we might have addressed had we been more forthright -did you ever feel this, my love, our marginal discourse and what it must have displaced?
The memory of our "lady's slippers" discussion has, of course, led me into wondering whether you perhaps viewed our marriage in a similar way, as a trap from which there was no easy exit. Between us we have almost never mentioned the word love. I have sometimes wondered whether it was the disparity of our ages that made the word seem foolish, or else something stiff and shy in our natures that forbade its utterance. This I regret. I would like to think that our children will use the word extravagantly, and moreover that they will be open to its forces. (Alice does worry me though, the ferocity of her feelings.)
Do you remember that day last October when I experienced my first terrible headache? I found you in the kitchen wearing one of those new and dreadful plastic aprons. You put your arms around me and reached up to smooth my temples. I loved you terribly at that moment. The crackling of your apron against my body seemed like an operatic response to the longings, which even then I felt. It was like something whispering at us to hurry, to stop wasting time, and I would like to have danced with you through the back door, out into the garden, down the street, over the line of the horizon. Oh, my dear. I thought we would have more time
Your loving
The letter conveys the essence of grief.

Charlie Callahan said...

Your post is wonderful, Cyndi, and I would like everyone to read it.

Brushes, Leaves and Cloth

Technogran - said...

Let your blog and all of its wonderful inspirational posts be your epitaph Charlie...