TOLKIENESQUES & STING OF DEATH by Heidi Robertson
I love Tolkien’s Hobbit, and Peter Jackson’s epic movie. These remind me of my missionary son, Donavon. Ready to go out into the world to have an adventure. It reminds me of being on a mountain. In living and reliving the book and movie, I feel as if I am one the travelers.
I especially love the intimate exchanges that occur half way through, just before the “Rock ’em Sock ’em Stone Bots’ battle. The tenderness shared telepathically, physically, and verbally between Gandolf and Galadriel, the Lady in White at Rivendell, just after the dwarves have fled.
Gandolf is thinking on what he loves… “The little things, the everyday kindnesses and acts of love” as shown by Bilbo Baggins, the burgler hobbit. Gandolf says,” These give me courage, when I’m afraid,” And then the gentle lady takes his hands, and soothingly answers, in tones as if to kiss her beloved friend, “Do not be afraid. If you ever need me, I will come.” I suspect she is refering to the hour of his death that will surely come in a later sequel.
I am reminded of that monster, DEATH. I am reminded of my mother at the end. A time when I went but could not offer help. I wish I could rewrite this ending so that it were not true, so that she were still with us, in simply meeting, eating, reunioning. I wish that I could say I went to her in her hour of need. That I bathed he face, fed her ice chips. Held her hand. Heard last words roll off her cracked, rosy lips.
Only I did not. I waited in the outer room laughing with my brothers. Fools unworthy of such a mother. I could not withstand the sight. Stale and heavy air of death. The falling grotesque night. Her greasy hair, stroke blown eye. Unresponsiveness. She was not the laughing, animated mother I once knew, remembered as a child and came to know and love. And so I ran away like a frightened little one.
Fear came over me and I would not go to her, though she was likely calling to me with her silent soul. Only strangers had the courage, the compassion. Hospice women, who knew the death language. What strangeness. Angels among us on Earth. Tilling dearth. My mind racked with grief and guilt.. no fight for loss. Heavy crossed.
I fled….terrified as if by waves and waves of caves of goblins. Wishing for Gandolf to come in brilliant assault with piercing light and goblin cleaver waging war on DEATH. I was not there to hear my mother take her last short breath. I was a coward. Nothing more than sorry. But Christ did come and take her away. Oh DEATH, where is thy sting? On Celestial eagle wings her body fell and was whisked away.
And still, I hear my sick soul sing, like the dwarf king, Thoren, “In judging….. I have never been so wrong in all my life.” Try to forget that aweful necromancer. Repeat “The past does not define me. It is only a path that I once hiked.” This past path, I did not like. Disgusting Goblin King was DEATH. I hated everything about it. But I could not, can not change it. Take it back.Only move on. Forward toward my own and other loved ones’ passings.
And then one voice is heard above the rest, and like a hero shouts, “I do believe the worst is behind us!” And I hike on believing Bilbo Baggins.