Love Is Strong as Death


This is a story of love, of life, and of death, which affirms that love is life even if it seems to hold death. It is a story told mostly with poetry--the story of the lights and shadows of one man's life--a journey of sorrow and growth. It was written in great anguish of spirit, out of deep personal need. This is also a story of love, happiness, and faith.
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This is a story of love, of life, and of death, which affirms that love is life even if it seems to hold death. It is a story told mostly with poetry--the story of the lights and shadows of one man's life--a journey of sorrow and growth. It was written in great anguish of spirit, out of deep personal need. This is also a story of love, happiness, and faith.
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Editorial Reviews

Emmy Lou Belcher
When he was told his wife would die within a year of cancer, this poet and minister's "...first impulse was toward the telephone./ ...The heart breaks that leaves unsaid/ Sorrow too great for silence, breaks with pain./ My call went through. Someone I loved was there./ I seized her voice and gulped it in like air."
This book is a collection of sixty-nine poems and one essay. More than that, however, it is a hand held out to a journey that all must take.
Freeman has written extensively for Unity Ministries as well as being published in secular arenas such as The New Yorker, Saturday Review, New York Times and Readers' Digest. In September of 1948 he lost his wife, Katherine, to cancer and began this chronicle of his journey through her illness and after her death. His telling of the story never shirks the soul-searing anguish, the dislocation in which such loss cocoons a survivor's being. For the reader who is sorrowing, Freeman's story is a companion that abides, that hears the struggle and does not flinch.
"Seeing her pain I wanted her to die,/ But clung to her as if by clinging I/ Might draw her back from that relentless clutch./ I wanted her, I wanted her so much." But slowly, slowly, Freeman unwinds the cocoon to the paradox at life's core, that love is indeed as strong as death, that "...Before Impossibles the soul may fail yet soar."
The journey recounted is not only that of the spouse, caretaker, survivor but also of the interaction between Katherine and Jim -- of how each participated in the other's voyage, how they reached for the other and also withdrew, how their love and their grief grew stronger at the same time.
The poetry is never obscure. The references are ones we all understand. The words and meter and forms of the various poems are varied, appropriate to the tension, relief or enlightenment that are the fabric of this journey. This book is a ministry to those who are taking this journey, as well as those who care for the caretakers and survivors. For someone in such a place, it could be the voice one gulps in like air.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871592460
  • Publisher: Unity School of Christianity
  • Publication date: 11/17/1999
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 156
  • Product dimensions: 5.77 (w) x 8.83 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
These Poems Are the Tears I Kept 11
Part 1 Hearing the Words 13
1. The doctor said my wife would die 15
2. My first impulse was toward the telephone 16
3. When pain grows too intense 17
4. Two weeks before on Sunday afternoon 18
5. Feeling the hellish store 20
6. How slow tears are to start! 22
7. I lay upon my bed and could not sleep 23
8. My wife was not to be deceived for long 25
9. I hovered near her, quick to note 29
Part 2 The Same World-- Yet No Longer the Same 31
10. Before we had discovered she was ill 33
11. My wife and I stayed home on New Year's Eve 35
12. My wife was not content to lie in bed 36
13. One evening--she had then been sick about 37
14. There was so little I could do 38
15. I have but one small angel, Lord 40
16. I wish that I could keep 41
17. On the first day that felt like spring 43
18. If I had never loved you 44
Part 3 Contending With God 45
19. When I saw my wife suffer, I cursed God 47
20. My faith was no more than an infant's cry 49
21. The heart has a sure touchstone which is love 51
22. I took up golf. I had to have something 52
23. Often I prayed. To bear the pain 53
24. I cannot think how Love could will 56
Still the Glory Is Not Gone 58
I Am There 60
Part 4 The Struggle With Others 63
25. I overheard friends talking. One was saying 65
26. She wanted a new stove. Our old one was 66
27. How can so large a spirit be 69
28. How lacking in humanity can be 70
29. I had not missed a family, having none 72
30. There is no substitute for love. The day 75
31. A few who came for love's sake tried too hard 78
32. I have been baptized in the flood 80
33. What little things we can be thankful for 81
Part 5 The Shadow Falls 83
34. As Katherine's life slipped from her, she became 85
35. Others saw the frail body wither and 86
36. One hot night she decided she would go 88
37. Sometimes I wished I were a lunatic 89
38. I have no clear sense of how long things took 90
39. I could not bid death come or bid him stay 91
40. She was afraid of pain before it started 92
41. All along she had hoped to know ahead 95
42. There was no lightest sound or stir 99
43. No matter how much you have looked ahead 100
44. How far between the first kiss and the last! 101
45. I wonder why before our friends 102
46. Sometimes I think I do not have much faith 103
Part 6 The Ceremonies 105
47. The undertaker was not gaunt but fat 107
48. The first night that my wife was dead 108
49. Much as she used to be 109
50. The funeral did not make me sad 110
51. On Katherine's birthdays and as Valentines 112
52. My wife loved lilacs. Often she had said 113
Part 7 A Time to Mourn 115
53. Nothing is as before 117
54. I wear no mourning for my wife, but wear 119
55. If tears would wear away the rocks 120
56. My heart cries, Where is she? My heart must find 121
57. I cannot bear the thought that I 124
58. Forever has the saddest sound 125
59. Full of loved things, my rooms have grown to be 126
60. Sorrow is such a friend of mine 127
61. Now in the evening when I come 128
62. It is not only with my mind 129
63. Always when Katherine and I went 130
Part 8 Love Is Strong as Death 131
Christmas: A Step Back Toward Life 133
64. A year exactly after Katherine died 145
65. When she was living, often I would be 147
66. Anything less than utter trust in life 148
67. I have lived many lives. Now one is ended 151
Love's Rose 152
About James and Katherine Freeman 153
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