Passing On

—Neal Lemery 1/9/2019
They say life’s a journey and time moves on
And lives end and now you are gone.
When someone goes, it’s never on my schedule
And I can mourn, I can scream, and
I can cry.
But our lives move on, and my friend has passed.

They say your time had come, your work was done
You were letting go, and moving on.
You let me know in many ways that this was goodbye,
And that was fine, this was what would be—
And life goes on, so the well-wishers say.

I’m not done with you, I scream in my head
In the darkest of my thoughts, not wanting to know
You are gone, that you have passed, before I was willing
To say good-bye.

You are right, I’ll hear you say,
Seeing a spark of light in the darkest of the night —-
The ache remains, the emptiness unrelieved,
Your absence is what I resent.

The path you made through life still guides my steps
Your smile, now just a memory—
Your voice still whispers in my ear
When the path gets rough.
You letting me know it will work out,
That I’ll know the way, the path will clear,
You still by my side, you still lighting my way.

Neal Lemery, a retired judge and now a community volunteer, is the author of Mentoring Boys to Men: Climbing Their Own Mountains, Homegrown Tomatoes: Essays and Musings From My Garden, and Finding My Muse on Main Street. More information is available at