09/05/2013 12:29 pm ET Updated Nov 03, 2013

Do Not Be Afraid

I'm not much one for crying. But this morning I did, as I watched Irish poet Seamus Heaney's funeral, and heard his last words. Words he sent to his wife minutes before he died.

'Noli timere' -- don't be afraid.

That it was a text message was surprising enough. That it was in Latin was superb. How brave. How brief. How graceful. How true to the poet.

Surely, the Heaney family knew Seamus was near death. Surely, his wife craved a last word of love. Yet, that's not how it goes. The dying are unconscious or wrapped up in prayer, fear, reverie, unable to give words of comfort.

Yet, even as he lay dying, Seamus thought of Marie, and sent her a text message. (She must have smiled). A text from a man whose writing method moved from print to cursive, from typewriter to computer.

Wondrous was Seamus Heaney to be in touch with life at the moment of death. Wondrous was he to comfort his wife with words, albeit electronic. Words she'll press to her heart forever and a day. Oh, to be that connected with life.