It is difficult to speak of Geza Vermes without also speaking of his wife Pam. Pamela Vermes died on June 10, 1993, at the age of 74.
Pam was the granddaughter of Sidney Dark, long-time editor of the British newspaper Church Times and author of numerous books with titles like If Christ Came to London (1943), The Folly of Anti-Semitism (1939) and Archbishop Davidson and the English Church (1929). Pam inherited his literary skills. In addition to being Geza’s literary collaborator (she was the “literary editor” of Schurer3d), Pam was a Buber scholar and a poet.
As her own death approached, Pam expressed herself especially movingly about the end of life. At her funeral, the following poem was read, one of her last:
into the pitchy depths of deadness
where I’ll not be
where I’ll not be me
where I’ll not be me with you
where I’ll not be with my greatly loved
whom I may no longer see
Peering ahead into the pitchy depths
where being perhaps with Him
I’ll nevertheless no longer be me
no longer be me with you.
how shall I not express
for your being with me now
for my being with you now
o lovely lovely world.
bearing in mind the day
when I may possibly be with Him
I notwithstanding clap my hands
ten thousand times
for presently being with you
for presently being with you.
The following passage from Martin Buber’s Gleanings, in her own translation, was also read:
“We know nothing about death, nothing but the one fact that we shall die…. But what does it mean, to die? We do not know. It is therefore appropriate that we should accept it as the end of everything that we can imagine. To wish to project our imagination beyond death, to anticipate in our minds what death can reveal to us only in existence, appears to me to be disbelief disguised as belief true belief says: I know nothing about death, but I know that God is eternity; and I know furthermore that he is my God. Whether what we know as time continues beyond our death becomes quite unimportant beside this knowledge that we are God’s, who is not ‘immortal’ but eternal. Instead of imagining our self as being alive although dead, we desire to prepare ourselves for a real death, which is perhaps the end of time, but which, if this is so, is certainly the threshold of eternity.”