The Shine Journal - The Light Left Behind

Journeys Through Grief and Beyond


She told me about someone who made a dying man cry


Marlon Murray


What kind of person does that? I say to her.

She shrugs, one who thinks itís pointless to

deviate for the dying. Someone who enjoys

rolling dice, the type who eats breakfast at one

in the afternoon, perhaps. The kind who lives for

one, maybe, two people. His jaunts just didnít jive

with the dying manís time.

The dying manís time.

Whatís time to a dying man? I wonder.

Itís a daunting shadow, she says. Time - time and

mortality. She always had a way with words. Time

hastens for the man death shoves through the door.

I canít wrap my mind around this.

Why is she talking in riddles?

What kind of person would make a dying man cry?

Heís a church-going fellow, she says. Collects tithes and

bends the reverendís ear. He prays to Jesus every day.

She grins. My grandma used to say itís the type of man

who thinks heís larger than life.

He prays every day. I scoff at the notion. What would

his reverend say? God - Jesus. What would the Son of Man

preach about this good disciple who made a dying man cry?

She looks at me. Jesus might ask if heíd no regard for

his soul, then heíd scan through his big heavenly book of

mortal punishments for the page on emotional blackmail,

because the dying manís love was brotherly, pure and gentle.

She calls on Jesus and scorns in the same sentence.

That love mustíve gushed downhill but trickled up. I shake

my head and purse my lips a bit longer than the usual.

Couldnít have been brotherly.

Brothers, she said.






Marlon Murray


Creeping along with her on the journey right up to deathís door

is a life changer.

She crosses the threshold but you remain on this side of the dirt,

looking down, thinking you know what sheíll experience based on

a romanticized image in pop culture, Catholicized or immortalized

in our minds by the terror that sometimes lifts into our core.

The light, eternal damnation, the door, Inferno, harps, fear,

angels singing, a Lost Paradise, Saint Peter, circles of suffering,

sheís smiling down upon us, the Grim Reaper, ascending the divine ladder.

It is a void, yet, an immutable tangible experience, uniquely defined by the

living personís flawed understanding of the indefinable.

Someone saying, ďItís like lying on an operating table. The nurse holds your

hand right before the anesthesia swallows you whole. In the next instant,

youíre awake and itís all over. Itís as if you were temporarily dead.Ē

For one, walking through the door


puts the fears and speculation to rest.

It doesnít matter: trap, wooden, steel, adorned, sudden or foreseen,

itís a life changer either way. It affects.

If it doesnít or cannot affect the ones standing above dirt, their journey is pointless.

Marlon Murray lives in Florida. He is currently seeking publication for some of his poems and short stories as he works on his first novel. His curiosity for places and people gives him an excuse to travel whenever life permits. Connect with him on Twitter @marlongmurray


Contact Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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