Dear Lucile and Bower:

I had hesitated about using your first names, out of an old-fashioned habit of respect, which I knew all along was only taboo of my boyhood. Now I use them as a new way of saying that I love you both, separately and together.

I need not tell you how I appreciate your goodness. You know. Lucile, when you wrote months ago that Mona made you think of carnations, something hit me where I love. It meant too much to me. For a long while before her illness Mona was quietly preparing for the great change, and I knew it. She would insist upon boxes and barrels of papers and trinkets being looked through so that if she should go, there would be no clutter to dispose of. She urged me to have family rings mended or reset, since they would be for the children. (She has many beautiful things in ivory, amber, jade, sapphire, gold that I collected for her during years.) Often she spoke of going on, but never morbidly. And quite often she gave me orders about a funeral — no flowers, no minister, cremation. And I was to speak reading three lyrics that meant much to her — [L' Envoi?], When I have Gone Weird Ways, and Easter. I did not obey her orders about flowers; I never saw so many & so beautiful at a funeral. I wanted a minister out of respect for the deep-seated customs of her community, and I had Dr. Lemmon, an old friend, to help us. He did, O so beautifully. Then I spoke directly to her for five minutes, reading the lyrics she wanted. I know she heard. Then, best of all, Sigurd played a Bach prelude, because [Nanny?] often said it made her feel sure that the universe is well ordered and everything is all as it should be. Then Mrs. Oliver played a Kreisler air on the violin — one that Mona played and loved. Last of all, Hilda sang with her glorious, soaring voice a song of affirmation that Mona loved to hear her sing. It was beautiful, beautiful.

All I have ever said or written about life and death is intensified with meaning for me now. There is nothing to change — only I realize more profoundly the old accepted beliefs we shared, and share.

The funeral was last Sunday. Yesterday (Tuesday) I conducted my classes, with a new feeling of power that is not mine. I fancied Mona in a back seat (where you, Lucile, used to sit) listening to me with that transfiguring radiance breaking through. Do you remember that look? And I felt strong, altho' I had little strength left before or after. Hilda will write you some things you should know and will want to know.

Love, love

John Neihardt

There is pattern, and I see that too more — clearly.