(left to right) Joe Millar, Chuck Millar, Laila Millar at an MSIA event in San Francisco, December of 2017
Chuck Millar, beloved long-time MSIA minister and initiate, passed into Spirit on December 15th, 2019, right as the final process of the Living in Grace retreat at Asilomar was coming to a close. Chuck served as Team Captain at Living in Grace for many years, so his passing at that sacred time of the retreat seems quite fitting.
This poem is from his brother Joe Millar.
I took a sip of black tea and honey
crossing the bay at night
on the way to his last Christmas service
and he asked me, What are you drinking,
bound as he was to the feeding tube,
his mouth full of cancer-phlegm.
He was wrapped up
in his coat and scarf,
the Greek fisherman’s cap
he often wore
and the tumor in his cheek
hardly smelled at all
thanks to numerous chemical scrubbings
and a fresh dressing of cotton and gauze.
Also there was a cold rain
stinging against the windshield
and a fitful December wind
gusting in from the west.
It wouldn’t be the King Tide coming in,
not for another three weeks.
It wasn’t the Solstice
or a falling star
or a penumbral eclipse.
It was my brother’s cool
resting on mine in the front seat
for one calm, deliberate moment
high above the dark water.