The body is gone, but the love remains. This is the bottom line for so many of us.

We may miss the person’s physical presence, but more often it’s the person’s mind/soul/body presence which we long for. And yet, the love remains.

I’ve been taking a “deliberate journey of the soul” in search of deeper healing since June of last year, which was the 30th anniversary of my friend Curtis’ death. We were in high school and spent a lot of time together before he was killed in a car accident at age 17.

I often wish that I could know my loved ones’ last thoughts. Or their last feeling, just before they died. Using my imagination to write plays helps me to explore my own feelings regarding these very profound moments.

I’ve been contributing articles to Open to Hope about the process of writing an autobiographically-based play named THE STACY PLAY “A LOVE SONG” VOLUME I. Its dramatic foundation is Curtis’ death, and the story is portrayed by two characters I’ve created named Stacy and Jonathan. In Part II “AND THEN I WENT INSIDE,” Stacy describes to us Jonathan’s accident. In Part VI “SUMMER STORM,” Stacy and Jonathan are together again in an alternate universe, and she asks him to describe the accident that is, the moment when he knew he was going to die.

In SUMMER STORM, Jonathan does describe his last moments and also reveals a shocking fact that causes Stacy to faint. As he moves through the awareness recalling this last moments, all of his attention diverts from anything external, and fixates on the one thing he knows to be true. He is going to die.

When he’s at the end of describing the moment that ended with his own death, he says to her: “and. I. didn’t. think. of. you.” She faints.

When I wrote that scene, I felt the pain of not being able to help my friend Curtis in his time of need, and not really knowing what it was like for him. But writing this scene helped me to process some emotion, which led me to something deeper. I realized that human beings shut down when they’re near death, and while that may be painful to us as loved ones, it is what they need to be able to transition. It’s natural, it’s normal, and it’s a mercy.

This realization led me to PART VIII AND HERE WE ARE, the play’s last scene. Stacy tells Jonathan that if she is going to go on, feeling the pain of existence that weighs so heavily on her, she needs for him to assure her that he loves her:

STACY:

I want to know (Beat.) if you love me. (Beat.) Do you love me?

JONATHAN:

(Glances away) After all we’ve been through.

STACY: (Fiercely and angrily.)

That doesn’t matter. People go through hell all the time and hate each other. They do it because of hate. You’ve seen couples.  I want to know, I need to know. That we – you – I did this for love. Because I don’t want to go on if it’s not because of love.

JONATHAN:

Isn’t it too late for that?

STACY:

It’s never too late for that. To make it about love, Jonathan. You can choose to make it about love. If the impulse is not love, if it’s not working out, we can still choose to make it about love.

Writing those lines provided me with some sort of reward for suffering through the loss of my friend – it was the understanding that facts and events might not be to my liking, but redemption is found in moving toward love and wholeness every step of the way, throughout a lifetime. Stacy insists: If the impulse is not love, if it’s not working out, we can still choose to make it about love.

Those words comfort me because they let me know that at any time I can move in a direction that will bring healing to my life. Moving toward loving action is moving toward wholeness and healing.

And I thank Stacy for helping me to understand that.

Excerpts from THE STACY PLAY  A LOVE SONG  VOLUME I by Anne Hamilton

© 2009 All rights reserved

Anne’s plays ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT and THE STACY PLAY  A LOVE SONG  VOLUME I are now showing in TRANSITIONS, a juried virtual exhibit at Pen and Brush in New York City  (www.penandbrush.org) through September 3rd.

Anne Hamilton is an award-winning Columbia University graduate and the Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy. To ask Anne for help on developing your own play, screenplay, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, please contact her at hamiltonlit@gmail.com

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Anne Hamilton

Anne Hamilton is an NYC-based freelance dramaturg and the Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy, an international consultancy. She created Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow!, where she hosts and produces an oral history podcast series of important theatre women working in America. Anne has dramaturged for Andrei Serban, Michael Mayer, Lynn Nottage, NYMF, Niegel Smith, Classic Stage Company, and the Great Plains Theatre Festival, among others. She is also an award-winning playwright. Her chapter, “Freelance Dramaturgs in the 21st Century: Journalists, Advocates, and Collaborators” appears in The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy. She was a Bogliasco Foundation Fellow, won the Dean’s Prize for Dramaturgy at Columbia University School of the Arts, and holds dual citizenship in Italy and the United States. Anne lost her best friend Curtis in a head-on car accident in 1979, two weeks after his high school graduation. Her emotional life became frozen and she has spent the last thirty-two years exploring all areas of self-expression, particularly through stage plays, poetry, theatre, art, and music. She is currently developing her own chamber-play-with-dance entitled ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT, about the way that grief moves through the body.

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