The Phil Sosis Memorial Page
Photos from Memorial Service at Ethical Culture, July 16, 2006
Alone No Longer
I am isolated
By experiences long past
Adhered to my bones
Imbedded deep -- Waiting
For the day when I awaken
To the spirit that will address me
When I go among my peers
Head high, my breath deep and alive
My voice listened to
My mirror reflects my truth
I will need to hold my silence no longer!
Thank you, dear Love
For you have allowed me to grow.
You awakened me to my mortality
I cannot remember with precision
The events that sent me into hiding
Or what twisted my lips that split words
Words that fell short
I suddenly realized that I ned stammer no longer!
Thank you, my darling, for your faith in me
My love for you is eternal
I AM ALONE NO LONGER!
Member and long time friend of the society, Phil Sosis, died at 87 on
June 22, 2002, in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Phil
was born in New York City on September 13, 1914, and spent much of his
childhood in the Hebrew Orphanage. He was employed for 40 years
by Pioneer Industries, a company that manufactured steel doors. He helped
organize and was a charter member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters
and Joiners. He received a life membership for his 50 years of service.
After retiring from Pioneer,
he pursued a college degree, attending Montclair State University. When
he was 65, he graduated cum laude. Phil was then employed as a
vocational counselor for next 12 years.
A poet through much of his
life, it was his retirement at 77 that enabled him to devote more of his
time to poetry. He was a patron of the Academy of American Poets. Among
his published works are Compilation; A View of Old Age,
The Rookery; Preludes, Probes, Dreams; and Sonata for Three
He lived his last years in
Greenfield, Massachusetts. Survivors include his wife Suzanne (Kimmel)
Gluck-Sosis; three sons– Richard and his wife Judith of New Rochelle,
New York; Phil and Geraldeen Lohman of Wethersfield, Connecticut; Frederic
and Gerette Gluck of Hyde Park, Vermont; a daughter, Louisa Gluck of Sebastopol,
California; a brother, Paul Sosis of Oakland, New Jersey; a sister, Ruth
Schaeffer of New York City; six grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Two previous wives predeceased him.
Watch this page for samples
of Phil's poetry.
Please feel free to email short memories of Phil to
Essex@essexethical.org for sharing here.
Painting by Hannah Horowitz
To grow old and not forget
what it means to begin.
Born under the domed zodiac of Virgo
I come to all experience virginal
Not in Virgo's innocence but with an
open sophisticated mind filled with
September's passion and desire.
I come dressed in psychedelic patterns
of genetic change that hold the seeds
of evolving birth and the dryrot snap
of coming death.
also endowed me with
an inner complex image
broadbrushed on trees-- on mountainsides--
brushes in lush greens,
yellows, bronzes, reds
and finally-- rust--
crumbled -- cultivates the earth.
So do I
become an artisan with experience
fleshing out my psyche-- my fingertips
are verandas to my eye, my touch, my skin
in passion touch and senses touch and image
touch and ego touch
filling in the niches and crannies
echoing and rejecting the inane rattling
claptrap-- and then there are
the red pleasures and orange pleasures and
and jazzybluey blues filling
this september child
with countless numbers gone by,
with pliable hardness
in all their ups and downs.
my abrasions show
mixed with aging adolescence--
My wrinkled skin witness to this
between the fire and the ice--I dream
in wonderment and awe
knowing my failures
my strengths and the knockdowns
that someday I won't spring up from--
total made up from
these parts and pieces
for now--my inner horizon spreads to
encompass new shades of old colors.
my symphony mixed
with classical jazz.
supplied upon request.
The Rookery, (Rocky Hill, CT: The Canopus Press, 1995)
Phil in 2002
(First published in Winter issue of The People's Voice)
By Suzanne Gluck-Sosis
How does one mourn the death
of one’s soul mate?? How does one express the grief experienced at the
loss of one’s mentor, friend, lover, teammate, partner, husband? In many
contradictory ways, in my experience. And from knowledge of others’, in
innumerable singular journeys.
I cannot speak of grieving
without first saying that at the moment of Phil’s death at Franklin Medical
Center, Room 120, at 5:30 P.M on Saturday, June 22,2002 I felt sad, relieved,
and peaceful. Relieved that he was no longer in the pain he had experienced
in that last week; sad that he had had a seizure or convulsion a few minutes
before death, biting his tongue till it bled; and peaceful once that had
passed. He had opened his eyes and looked at Frederic, his stepson who
had arived just half hour before with his wife and 2 young children. He
then looked at me and closed his eyes again for the last time.
Frederic said later "Phil was
present when he looked at me – he seemed to be emitting love in his gaze."
And later, upon thinking about the tongue-biting, he speculated that Phil
had been trying to say something to us but his stuttering prevented him
from uttering words. Gerette stayed with me as I said a last goodbye by
embracing him wholly and washing his body. She took some photos for Louisa,
who had not been able to come in from California in time. Then we covered
Phil whose face was now frown-free, calm, and peaceful as if he were napping.
We left his physical being to be bundled off to the Smith-Kelleher Funeral
Home. Two days later it would be sent to Springfield to be cremated. That
was good –for it would give his soul, the essence of his energy, time
to depart from his body.
Frederic and Sonya, almost
seven, and Luke, two, left the hospital before Gerette and I – on the
steps of the hospital, Frederic commented that it was too bad that Phil
had not been able to go up to Poet’s Seat Tower because of his Parkinson’s
Disease. Sonya piped up, "Now he can!" They drove up to the Tower and
climbed to the top. Frederic, holding up his arms to the sky, and turning
to the four directions, intoned, "Long live Phil Sosis!" When he completed
the fourth direction, a huge tree fell down in the forest in front of
them. It seemed so logical! Phil was such a special person and had affected
so many people in their soul.
We had loved each other so
deeply and thoroughly – we had both wanted him to live as long as he possibly
could, and he did live longer than anyone had expected. I was so determined
to help him to stay alive, to serve him as lovingly as I was able. He
had such a lust for life and people and poetry. He kept saying, "I’m not
ready to die yet, I still have more poems to write!" And he was not afraid
to die. Here is how he expressed it in one of his poems:
In the fall of my years
I feel spiraling Winter and wonder
Or anti will Death be-
Will it cradle me
Or rock me hard?
Either way – expanding
I look forward to my ABCs
In the seminar on afterlife
Preparing me (for or if) I return
Until that happens, know this:
I deplore pain
Pray for serenity
Will continue on to the very last exit
To struggle for Peace/Equality/Freedom
I shall not go quietly
But shout my last haloo.
Such was Phil’s attitude throughout
his long illness. Yes, I felt sad and also buoyed up by the spirit of
his soul/his energy. Frederic, Gerette, Sonya, and Luke stayed with me
until the Celebration of Phil’s life the following Saturday at All Souls
Church. Family and friends converged on Greenfield from Connecticut, New
York, New Jersey,Maryland, California, Vermont. Each member of the family
wished to speak, myself, his son Richard, his stepson Phil, his grandchildren
Melissa, Karin, Andrew, Leah, his stepchildren, Louisa and Frederic, his
The service began with Paul
Robeson singing Kaddish and ended with Paul Robeson singing a freedom
song from the Polish Warsaw ghetto. It was beautiful. I was numb, functioning
automatically in the ‘hostess role". During the reception that followed,
I stood in one spot for hours while people approached with their condolences
and hugs. I wanted to be sure they felt they were acknowledged and heard.
It is astounding how I sailed through it and being with the extended family
later at our house and on into the night.
Mercifully, it seems that our
bodies and mind and heart are protected for this period of time so that
we can refrain from wailing and sobbing and falling apart. I began that
phase of the bereavement process during the third month after Phil’s death.
Every day brought with it a period of crying or wailing – of just wanting
to be held, and rocked, and soothed, and taken care of. Not being able
to take care of Phil’s needs, physical, emotional, social left me feeling
bereft. What was I to do now? Such a big, empty space confronted me. I
needed time to just be – to wait to learn what was in store for me to
do. I knew that if I were patient, a new path would be revealed to me.
Memorial Service for Phil Sosis at Essex Ethical on July 16, 2006
There was a beautiful memorial service for Phil Gluck-Sosis
at the Society and in the Memorial Garden on Sunday, July 16. To learn more about Phil and read some of his poetry, click here. Here are some photos, courtesy of Phil's stepson Phil Lohman. People include Suzanne Gluck-Sosis, Louisa Gluck, Sonia Gluck, RIchard Sosis, Paul Sosis, Phil Lohman, and the whole clan:
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