You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life? The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; And like the seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling? For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly *dance*.
Kahlil Gibran (1883 – 1931)
My Mom, the most amazing woman I’ve ever known, passed away recently. The night she chose to leave this earth was August 20th … it was the night of the supermoon. She had been waiting for my sister to arrive. We were all with her. She died peacefully asleep in my father’s arms. There were moments of struggle and yet there was still humor, great affection, love. It was what she wanted.
The days after and realizations that come with grief
1. I have been grieving for two years. Since she began chemotherapy. Hospitalizations, deep sickness, dis – ease, complication after complication, losing her independence along with her eyesight, her hearing and her hair. She handled it with such grace. I did not so much. I recall entering her hospital room as she just began to lose her hair. Thank god my phone rang because it gave me an opportunity to leave before she could see me cry. I was strong for her, I can say that. I got scissors from the nurse and came back and cut her hair. She cried and I sang to her. If you’ve heard me sing, you may not think this was the best idea 😉 but it did soothe her. I held her and she cried and then they gave her a Marinol and it helped. We watched a comedy and she laughed her ass off. She had a great sense of humor, Betty White – ish. The sadness with this comes in waves. She always managed to laugh through it all and to create that lightness and levity for others.
2. Distraction was fine for a time, everyone grieves uniquely. I do so quietly and alone. I find many great distractions to not be alone.
3. I love the alchemy of Yoga. The transformation of pain into gold. “There are women everywhere, this moment, loving their children as you are, frustrated as you are, praying for peace as you are” -Seane Corn. Thanks to Elena Brower for such an amazing class, “We practice fearlessness, asking for what we need, showing full support and releasing judgment of others.” Time now to restore my Sādhanā (an ego-transcending spiritual practice). For me this is daily yoga, meditation and Thai massage. This is where the healing happens. In self care.
4. I feel lighter. And that’s OK. I know she is still with me and I am happy to see her suffering come to an end. Those last weeks were so painful to bear witness to. I was there in every way I knew how to be. I wish I could have been there more but my Dad was amazing in his love for her. “We got to see the man she fell in love with” my sister says. The day before she passed I bathed her. She was so tiny in my arms. She was still so incredibly beautiful to me.
That is exactly what death has taught me:
To be *Fearless*…to *Live Fully*… to *Never Waste a Moment* … and most importantly to *LOVE*.
“You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?”