A dear friend lost his Mother this past week. In passing conversation, my writer-friend and I exchanged the thought of his Mom still being here through the many stories he writes about his childhood and the other stories of his youth that he shares occasionally. Personally, I find this thought, consoling. I recently celebrated the 11th year of my Mother's departure, so death and life and all it's complexities continue to rattle around the corners of my mind this month. Several questions thread through these philosophical ramblings.
1. Do our Loved ones truly live on in our memories? Or is this wishful thinking? Is that crocheted doily of My Mom's that I so treasure, really her still in my life, or a ghostly representation? She bought the thread, she spent the effort and talent for its creation; it would not exist without her existence.
2. Are we physical beings, having an occasional spiritual experience along our lives, or vice versa? The latter leaves many open questions about our passing while the former presupposes a predetermined continuing of one sort or another. It surely makes for sweeter dreams when we go to sleep each night believing that a greater place than our physical lives, awaits our immortal soul.
3. Is this the only time we live in a physical body, or do we pass through this life more than once? Many written words suggest that we get more than one chance to learn our worldly lessons in preparation for a higher level of existence. If so, are we always a human, or do we take our chances as other animals as well?
In Nature, everything is recycled. And we know scientifically that we humans share many of the same ingredients that make up our surrounding world. For example, our veggie scraps live on to feed the compost pile - which feeds our garden - which sooner or later makes it back to the table - and again to the continuing compost pile. Is the garden...a veggie's idea of heavenly bliss? Maybe not.
Back to my friend. As a staunch believer in a hereafter, I sensed a peace in his voice when he spoke of his Mother's passing, as opposed to panic or overwhelming sadness. And as for missing his Mother, I know he will. I've listened past the words in his stories of his youth; his Mother and family are threaded through, around and inside every story he has - and still will write. And through these stories, I too have grown to sense a bit of who his Mother was through her quoted words, the ways he responded to those words, the gentleness with which he has described her on numerous occasions. So in some ways, I too, will miss his Mother.
In my heart of hearts, I guess I believe that we leave behind parts of ourselves in the crocheted doilies we create; or the certain twinkle we recognize - though not as our own, in the mirror each morning; or the memories of our Loved one's peculiar ways they behaved or a special way they Loved us.
My friend told me; 'This evening as I was bringing in the stove wood for the night, I could hear her again telling me when I was a boy, "When are you going to learn to fill the woodbox before dark." '
Yes, I believe we live on, in one form or another...or maybe in many different ways. I know my friend experienced that belief as he fed his wood stove last night.
As always, Nature prevails.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Winter snows howl outside today. As I sit by the window, gazing through the blowing snowflakes to the far away thoughts inside my cozy brain, it seems it's the small things - the everyday, 'no biggie', collection of on-going moments, that seem to fill me. I used to believe the big events were the 'markers' of life...getting married, climbing the social and professional ladders, getting a raise. But are these bigger events really as important as the tiny parts of life that grease the gears of our 'every-days'?
When a loved one passes, what is it that comprises 'the memories' we so treasure. Is it..the way they smiled when they tried to hold back from telling about a secret gift? Or the way their eyes looked just before they said 'I'm sorry'? Or was it their particular walk that you watched for years as they left for work? How about their yen to take off fishing every Sunday morning? It used to annoy you, you wanted more time with them...then. How did their hug linger, the smell of their perfume, the toss of their head and the shine of their hair?
Yesterday, you were planning your vacation, your new move, the big party at Christmas, the "rest of your life." Tomorrow, your health may change, disease may creep in, and time will not stand still; it never does. What then, of your tomorrows? My dear Colorado friend always says..."T.C.! Things change."
Weave carefully, the fabric of your life. Choose the thread, gather it with forethought, add many colors, tie knots in the lose ends, wear it with reverence.
Nature is sunlight and sadness, growth and grief, forethought and forgetfulness, birth and death.
"Possess this day with awe and caring.
It is a gift given quickly and only once;
Stain it not with tears of regret.
Look to yesterday with reverence,
For it is a teacher - a wise one,
A pathway for tomorrow, a memory, a vision.
Tomorrow is also a vision, but without substance.
It is a dream, a wish, a story - yet to be told,
A feeling waiting to be birthed.
Ah...but for today."