“May you know that absence is full of tender presence and that
nothing is ever lost or forgotten” -John O’Donohue
Daniel Christian Maryon
September 14, 1959 — November 17, 2013
Dan died peacefully on a Sunday afternoon with his children and me (his wife) by his side. On Friday of that week he awoke with some pain and was scheduled for a chemo treatment that morning. He was really weak and his blood counts hadn’t been good so we knew that he wouldn’t be strong enough for chemo. We decided to keep the doctor’s appointment to see if he could get some help with the pain. His doctor sent us up to the hospital emergency room for a CT scan and some narcotics.
The scan revealed that the cancer had spread to his liver and the ER doctor talked to Dan about how hard he had fought and that there comes a time when it is okay to stop fighting. The doctor wept as he talked to Dan and I started crying and in typical fashion Dan reached out and comforted me. His perspective went far beyond that moment and he said “Dorothy, everything is going to be okay. It is going to be okay.”
On Saturday, he ate breakfast and rested, and around noon, after a few bites of a sandwich, declared that he was feeling really comfortable and said that he was going to sleep for awhile. He never really woke up, except to respond when asked if he was in pain to say “no.” I spent Saturday night alone with him and held onto the slight possibility of him waking up in the morning and that maybe his body was just slow to metabolize the pain medication from the hospital the previous day. I talked to him and shared again my love for him and deep deep gratitude for the privilege I had of sharing my life with him. I thanked him for loving me and waited out the night til it was clear I needed to call our children to come back home.
It is fitting that he died peacefully as that is how he lived. Once when I was telling someone about Dan they said that it sounded like I had married my muse. It is true that he tutored me in art, music, color, textures, and literature. But in truth he was my guide to love and acceptance and to the sacred matters of the heart. He gave me the gift of loving me long enough to truly know me. Because of him I ultimately know the joy of being at home in the presence of another.
I will think of him when I see the red rocks of southern Utah and the sunsets over the mountain by our home. He loved taking pictures of clouds and I will remember to notice the sky and anticipate the smell and sounds of rain. I can hear him in the gentle melodies of songs and I will wait patiently as I try to make my way without his wry sense of humor and comforting touch for that day when I too can say, “It’s going to be okay.”
I believe I will see him again. We will reminisce and catch-up with each other on all that has gone on since he passed and I imagine with great excitement and humor he will teach me all that I need to know of Heaven. Today though I deeply miss him and accept that for now it is going to be hard. I find small moments of peace and oddly I am happy for him. If I could talk to him for just a moment I would tell him again, “Well done Dan. Thank you my friend, my love, my light.” —Until we meet again.
Dan wrote on July 7, 2012, “I wrote a song. Spontaneously I wrote these words. I hope this turns into something I can leave as a statement someday.” He played it once for me on his guitar when he was still working on it. It was like a folk song, simple and genuine.
Oh cry for me my friends
When I have up and gone,
For days we could have had together
Nights we could have joined in song
Yes, cry for me.
These simple joys we’ve shared
All through our mortal lives,
Sunlit walks on mountain trails
Twilight time we’ve laughed and felt
A bonding in our hearts
We never seem to know how blessed time can be,
There’s all too often pain and sorrow
Plans we lose and dreams we never see
That’s how it goes.
Though that’s not how we wanted it to be.
So cry for me my friends
When I have up and gone.
Our memories are all that’s left
Those plans and schemes all drift away
Like clouds after the rain.
We could have done it all
With times open wide,
But doors are closing, chances gone,
Sit right down and sing along.
For new days in the light.
Now if you feel sadness for my troubled life and pain,
Don’t let it weigh you down for long
Cause I’ve had my share of happy times
You’ve been my joy, you’ve given me
More than you will ever know
Don’t cry for me my friends,
Don’t long for one more chance,
We’ve had our time together
How could any other life be better
Than the one we’ve had.
I’m headin’ for the light
That we’ll all share one day,
The worldly weights will dissipate
Our souls will freely soar in open space
In that Heavenly Place
So please my friends, when I am gone,
Don’t cry for me, we loved we sang
We walked together for so long.
Please don’t forget how we loved
How love is all we ever have.