Today

Today is the day that we bury my dad next to my mother. They rest on their side of the pink granite family gravestone; my grandparents (Dad’s parents) rest on the other side. I remember each burial; first my grandmother, then my grandfather, my mother next, and now my dad.

It is a formality we keep, even though we know that their living souls are in Heaven. Since I was a child I believed this, and I do now. Imagine the sheer beauty of one human soul with all its complexities, thoughts, loves, talents, abilities! Whether we live one day or a hundred years, why should such a magnificent thing as a human soul turn to nothing?

Our bodies are the temporary homes of our eternal souls. It may be that we have lived many lives in different bodies over time. It may be that this life is our first time on Earth. Either way, we are here to learn and progress and use the gifts we have been given.

Have you ever met someone and had an instant connection with them? It could be that you have known each other in different lives. Same with meeting someone and feeling that, for no special reason, you don’t like them.

Mom and Dad and I often talked about soul recognition, life after death, and living many lives on earth. They always said that they had been together in many lives; learning in each life what they didn’t know in past lives. We used to laugh together and say that our present lives were “school,” but Heaven was home.

These rituals of life and death that we observe are our ways of honoring those who have gone on before us. While we will miss their physical presence, the abiding love they had for us on earth never leaves us.

As sad as I feel today in missing my dad as well as my mom, I can still hear their voices in my mind. I know that where they are now they can see all the delicate strands of purpose that helped them to find each other again in this life.

When it is my time to leave this earth, I hope that I will know all things I have questioned all my life. I believe with all my heart that I will see all my relatives and friends, and that my arms will be wide open to hug my parents once again.

The truth beyond this temporary pain of today is that love lives on forever.

 

Re-Awakenings

For many years now, my main passions have been reading, writing and making jewelry. I found that, after my mother died, I felt numb toward all my former interests. I had also been taking ukulele lessons, which I loved. Once everything was behind us; the moving out of all Hospice-related items from the house, the funeral, the outpouring of love, kindness and help that came from so many—we sort of folded in on our ourselves.

Losing a parent for me was like losing a limb; you can get by all right, but you aren’t the same person you were. By turns I was weepy, angry, hurt and frustrated; I know now that this, for me, was grief. I felt that I could never again be the person I was, and I couldn’t even think of taking up my beloved hobbies again.

Oh, I still read and wrote, but my heart wasn’t always in it. I realized one day that I hadn’t been to the library in months, nor had I continued my ukulele lessons. All of my boxes of beads had become dusty, and the thought of designing anything just seemed too hard and exhausting to consider.

I came to understand that, for me, this was my grieving process. It has been almost eight months since Mom has been gone, and I miss her with each beat of my heart. However, these days I not only feel closer to her, but also can hear her voice in my mind saying, ‘enough already. Get going!’

And, just like that, I went back to the library and picked out some new books. I found I had loads of ideas for subjects for this blog, and I slowly began to get “re-interested” in making jewelry again. (I still haven’t resumed my ukulele lessons, but that’s next!)

Getting back in touch with myself and my interests does NOT mean I am done grieving or missing Mom. But that process, that ‘living through’ grief; has softened through time. It seems to have morphed into an overall feeling of hope, renewed interests, a desire to reach out to others, and absolutely knowing that love never dies.

Sometimes I feel that Mom is just in another room in the house, busy with her many interests; that all I have to do is think of her and she is there.

Personally, I think that those we have loved and lost are always available to us. I feel that we honor their lives not just with a time of grieving, but with remembering them with laughter and love. We remember them when we renew the hobbies we loved, we remember them when we enjoy a good meal, good company, good jokes (or terrible ones; they are usually the funniest), but most of all, we remember them in our heads and our hearts.

Just recently I began making jewelry again. Mom and I had different styles of jewelry-making, but we shared a love of colors, textures, materials and new design ideas. The first few necklace and earring sets I made reminded me a lot of Mom’s style, and it tickled me to know that I could still learn from her.

As I went along, I became more confident in my own color and design choices. Just the other day I found myself smiling over a new design idea I had, and was delighted with how it turned out.

And so it goes. This time in my life reminds me of *Auntie Mame’s quote about living: “Life’s a banquet and most poor bastards are starving to death!” Lessons learned—1) move on, but never forget the ones you love, 2) tears are ok, just don’t let them become a flood you can’t escape, 3) always carry a fork because you never know when you will find yourself at a banquet.

*Patrick Dennis, Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade