Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Losses, gains, and letting go

Dear friend Stephanie lost her mom last night after a long illness.  Although expected, her loss saddens me and my heart goes out to her and her family.  This morning we were treated to a Chippewa funeral chant in her honor, which is said to aid the spirit of the deceased to cross over to the spirit world.  Very moving, and, as I listened to the chant, I reflected on other irretrievable losses and on the retrievable kind as well.

I thought of my dad's mom, a woman who was close and beloved to me all my life, and of her last days in hospital, struggling to stay alive until finally given 'permission' by her sons to let go.  And of my brother Bruce, who, in ways mysterious and unknowable, refused food and water in his last weeks so that he could let go on his own terms, but wouldn't do so until Sue arrived from California.  And dear dear Les; Dad was with him, too, at the very end.  We seem to need these guides to help us step through and over into oblivion---or whatever it is that awaits us.

We cling to life---that precious gift---with such tenacity, that it makes me wonder whether, deep within, we are somehow made aware of the notion that there is no afterlife, as a practical matter, that the present is all there is, and we don't wish to let it go until the arrival of the inevitable.  

Then again, in the land of the living, I know from my own personal experience and many of those closest to me, that the process of letting go, turning outcomes and results over to the realm of spirit, is freeing and opens us to possibilities that we could never have fully imagined outside the narrow scope of our own ambitions and conceits.  This is how it has been for me, especially as it concerns separations from friends and loved ones that once seemed irretrievable.  

Does this make any sense?

After a few pleasant days away from the city, I am facing my own challenges of letting go and crossing back to THIS side of the river.  And grateful, as dad says, that I woke up this morning on this side of the turf.

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