Three days ago, I wrote the following piece for the Writing Through Loss group at Pathways Hospice, primarily led by friend and poet Veronica Patterson. The Herakles reference is to Euripides' Alcestis, in which Herakles (better known by his Roman name, Hercules) brings Queen Alcestis back to her husband Admetos, defying death.
Come on, Vicki. You've played this game far too long.
I know you're not dead. You've just been centering yourself, sunning yourself, lazing about on that balmy beach you always wanted to ecape to. Being the mermaid you always knew you were.
Come back, please come back, even for a short time. But let's make it a long time, shall we? Thirty or forty years will do. No need to return to work. I've closed the books, cancelled your professional subscriptions, filed your final tax return, replenished the bottomless well of tears too many times to count.
We'll live together again, circumnavigate the globe, visit all those places you wanted to visit, which was every last damnmed place ever touched upon by newspaper or glimpsed in documentary. I want to go there, you'd say. I know you do, I'd say. Someday, someday.
Or if you are truly dead, I'll summon Herakles, be straight with him, send him down, no, I'll go down with him, wrest you from the arms of Hades, bring you back into your perfect body, restore your health, and be the best damned husband that has ever been known, in tune with you, sensing your moods with the skill of one who can feel the bob and weave of each breeze deep in his bones, honoring them, reading your mind and your heart and soul in ways I never could before.
Simply turn toward me as the bloom turns toward the sun. I'll do the rest.
— Robert Devereaux, February 25, 2013