Sunday, April 24, 2016

For Thor - 45 - Infused with Love

Things are getting harder, Thor, not easier. I had heard that this is what happens. Time rolls along; the world swings back into its normal rhythm and here I am in a swirling dance of mystery and sorrow. These days your death is no longer the foremost thought in every waking and sleeping moment. The emotional roller coaster has slowed to match the pace of the primordial current that pulls me into ever deepening cycles of the mystery. Your death and the mourning that surrounds it have occupied all my senses, filtering, coloring and flavoring every nuance of each new day. So while my conscious mind begins to engage in tasks, conversations, making plans for the future, my entire being is altered in the orientation to the world. Like tea leaves scent and flavor water, my life is now infused with this new attribute; I am playing the role of a mother who has lost a beloved son. You have left this stage, I am playing on, we all play on. We can no longer see you, but you are no less here, in a starring role. The script is full of dialogue that remembers you, that describes and makes solid this huge, empty hole in the middle of our hearts. We play on, but our roles are forever defined and wholly changed by both your life and your tragic passing.

I had thought the sorrow would ease. But it doesn't. I grow accustomed to moving about wearing this new cloak, the one woven of a mother's sorrow, tears, and broken dreams, that sparkles with the love we still share and is fragrant with hope to see you again, whenever and wherever that may be. Sorrow gains a certain density and lends weight to the reality of what has happened. The fact that you are not coming home, ever, concretizes and pulls me out of my small self and into the vastness of the unknown. The fast-paced and early, wild days of this crazy-ass ride are over. I've slipped into the abyss so deeply that I can hear the heartbeat of the stars and I can feel the sky breathe. The pixels of the Universe appear as they are; ever shimmering, changing and fickle in their expression in this temporary reality. And it is so very, very temporary. I guess I learned that one the hard way.

From this perspective, it's hard to stay grounded long enough to get anything done. Doing is overrated in the new landscape. I'm slowly ramping up to go back to work, but I'm only able to sustain a few hours at a time before the illusion of "Cassandra, the Personality" starts to unravel and dissolve back into the mystery that sorrow forces me to explore. It is where my heart rests for now. I feel love here like I've never known love to be. It is full and encompassing. It is the kind of love that can heal me, your dad, your brothers and even the great suffering in the world if our species is willing to embrace it. It's hard to pay attention to the business of the world when the core of the mystery is beckoning to my cracked-open heart to only shine this love.

When you died, and the light of your life here went out, I asked, "Where did the Light go?" For a time I felt it had extinguished along with the sparkle in your eyes. It was beyond horrible to think that the individual spark of life, the soul, who shared a few precious years on earth with me as my son, was vanished, dissolved, disappeared. I meditated and prayed about this for a long time and was relieved to discover the truth. You shine on; your light shines on, Thor. And so brightly! It is simply on the other side of the veil. You left a hole in our hearts, but your passing also created a new opening in the fabric of our understanding. One that I can look through to see the Truth. We are all one. We are all connected. We are here on the planet to learn to love. We are not here to play it safe and never feel anything. Sorrow and Joy are two sides of the same coin; the price of admission to the Big Show where we step into our full potential. I can see with dual-vision now, both sides of things. It is all beautiful, even if it is hard. Maybe it's especially beautiful because it's so hard. The hardness of this is what challenges me to push beyond my comfort zones into real expression, being and loving.

I am still trying to reconcile so many things about this experience. One by one, they fall into place, although there is still so much that is unclear when I try to act in the world. Sixteen weeks is not a lot of time to do this. For now, I have one question to guide me as I plan each day, "Will this bring more light and love into the world?" Whether it's a phone conversation, a visit with friends, taking a walk or scheduling a business meeting, as I decide how to spend the gift of each day of life, that question leads the way. I've had some trials and errors along the way, but it's okay. I'm learning.

There is so much we can never know.
Breathe deeply and relax into the not-knowing.
There is much that we do not have to know
in order to live joyfully.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize
how little we understand about life,
ourselves, and the world around us.
- Socrates

I love you, Thor. Now and forever.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

For Thor - 44 - What Matters in a Moment - Part 1

A friend asked me an interesting question yesterday. She's been reading these letters to you and wondered if there were days when I wished for something different. Honestly, Thor, with the single exception of wishing that you were still alive among us, I have been completely supported and cared for through this whole time. I can't say I wish someone had done this or I wish someone hadn't said that. So, instead of writing What I Wish Had Happened as an expression of what a grieving person might need or want, I can share a few of the beautiful stories that illustrate the immense empathy and exquisite care that we've been blessed to receive.

I have to start at the very beginning, the moment Jai Ram called to tell us that you had wrecked your truck, that it was bad and that Dad should come immediately. He didn't say anything else at that point, although he already knew you had died. Jai Ram was the first person on-scene, and as a trained EMT, he immediately and professionally assessed what he saw. But Jai Ram is also a family friend and has known you almost all your life, Thor. His heart broke to find you dead on the ground, knowing he would have to tell us, his parents, the horrible news. He lovingly and carefully covered your body in blankets and offered up heartfelt prayers for your soul that was surely hovering around dazed and confused at being so suddenly severed from its body. I can't think of a single person I would rather have had there to take care of you at that moment, Thor.  What a blessing to us to have someone who knew and loved you to be there at that moment.
When I finally arrived on the scene, I still did not know 'the terrible fact'. Your Uncle Gopal drove me over there and offered stalwart support for me as the trepidation of what I was walking into threatened to choke me. We approached the roadside carnival of police and ambulance vehicles and lights, eerie and jarring in their garishness. I got out of the car and walked toward your dad, flanked by Sergeant Bodek, Bill and Bridget and Nana and Grandpa. The first words out of my mouth were, "Where is Thor?" Your dad shook his head no. What does that mean? "Where is Thor?" I looked to Bodek. He shook his head no. What? I looked at Nana and Grandpa. "What? Where is Thor?" They all just shook their heads no. I fell down to the ground on the side of the road and wailed.  I heard myself outside my body. I sounded like a wounded animal, guttural and disbelieving. I screamed and cried into the night, surrounded by loving family and friends who held that space for me. But I still wanted to know "Where is Thor? And who is with him?" Thor, they wouldn't let me go to you, sweetheart. I started freaking out that you were laying on the cold ground by yourself as the last bits of warmth left your body. If I can't be there,  "Who the FUCK is with my son?" I demanded. Sergeant Bodek took my hand and promised me that he would be with Thor and wouldn't leave his side. This was a seemingly small thing to do, but it kept me from clawing everyone's eyes out in an attempt to reach you. An attempt that would have put others at risk and would have only added to the pain of a horrible moment. I am forever grateful to Bodek - who was your friend, too - for standing vigil with you in the place of your death.

Your dad must have called on some serious reserves to keep his shit together. Because I lost it. I couldn't say the words. I couldn't think the words. I didn't want to repeat the words, "Thor is dead." Uttering these terrible words would only make it real. Saying it out loud would underscore this hideous thing in indelible ink. It would make it real to others, and therefore, would be forced upon me.  But your dad was beyond belief in his ability to do what needed to be done; we needed to tell your brothers, we needed to call Mimi and Pap in Pennsylvania.  This was just the beginning of his road bearing a heavy load. He bravely stepped on that path and shouldered the weight.

Once the wreckage was cleared and your body retrieved, there was an opportunity to see you before you were transported to the funeral home. The family urged me not to see you like that, in that state. They were protecting me, I know. I agreed to let them shelter me, but I had some conditions. Someone had to kiss you for me, and someone had to trace an Om Shanthi symbol on your sweet forehead like Nana and I used to do at bedtime when you were little. Dad, Nana, and Grandpa went back to the scene to carry out these desperate wishes. I am forever grateful to them for doing what I was not permitted to do myself.

Lakshmi was the first of my sisters, your aunts, to walk through the door on that night. There are no words for this moment. I didn't have to say a single word. She KNEW. She SAW. She FELT for and with me. It was as if we activated a connection that we've had our whole lives but never knew its strength and vital force. I fell into her arms and we sobbed over the loss of you, our beautiful boy, our Thor.

Radha and Sumati both had to make long road trips home before they could be here. Radha and Dick left New York almost the moment they heard. Radha had her arms wrapped around me by 8:00 in the morning. Sumati and Dave left Utah and drove like banshees without stopping so Sumati would be here in time for Family Night. My amazing brothers-in-love were super-human rock stars, driving literally through the night across hundreds of miles to deliver my sisters back home in this time of incredible pain and acute need. Poorna swirled in with her sweet girls and Mat in tow and took her post, by my side.  Gopal and Angel, it seemed, never left. I'm still not sure how they did that with little Kai. The family has always been a big part of our lives, but on that first day, it was something else entirely. We morphed into an organism that seemed to live and breathe as one. As your cousins poured in and phone calls came from the family that lives far rang though, the energy of the tribe gathered, coalescing in beautiful synchrony around this horrific loss.

January 1st was quite a day for me - I dare say, for all of us. Food magically appeared carried in on the wings of angels - our friends and neighbors many of whom I hadn't seen in months. Tears of sorrow streamed non-stop that day. Some very thoughtful person had supplied multiple boxes of tissues. I recall being grateful for this sweet gift as I wiped my eyes and blew my nose for the gazillionth time in an hour. The house was full of people, full of conversation, full of pain and sorrow and also tender, loving care. Your dad, brothers and I were very well cared for, Thor. People would sit with me and hold my hand. They talked with your dad and supported him as he adjusted to the heavy weight he carried. Xan and Chaz were scooped up by cousins, uncles and friends to do things just to get them out of the swirling energy that lived in the house.

Our sofa was the center of my world at that time. Everything came there. Everyone came there. I was ensconced in the middle of the couch wrapped in your blanket and clutching Ralph, your stuffed dog. This is where I felt safe and supported. And so this is where I stayed. Starr sat with me, her sweet heart shattered along with mine. Both of our dreams of loving you for a whole lifetime blasted out of the realm of possibility. Dozens of your friends came. Somehow people had tea, or cookies or lasagne. I don't even know where they came from. The world had narrowed down to your death, my heart, this couch and whoever was sitting beside me.

At one point, I had gotten up, and I saw a woman I didn't know coming up the walk toward the house. Radha, seeing the question on my face, looked too. It was Karen Dunkum, from the funeral home. Anxiety like I've never known began to rise inside of me. NO! NO! I couldn't deal with it. There was no fucking way I could talk about a funeral for you. Radha held one of my hands and Lakshmi held the other. Radha said, "I'll deal with it, Cass. You don't have to do anything right now." Karen came to the house and was warmly greeted by the clan. She politely addressed everyone she met, but she edged her way toward me. When she finally got through the throng, she took my hands and looked me in the eye. "Cassandra, I have your boy. I have him, and I am taking really good care of him. He's just so beautiful. I know you were worried about him. I have your boy and I am taking really good care of him." I let out a breath I didn't realize I had been holding. She had received your body in the middle of the night, on New Year's Eve. And she had taken the time to really SEE you. To appreciate you.  She was taking good care of you. And I could see in her eyes that she held us all in her heart.  What a blessing to have Karen here at that moment. When I think of all that she offered to us, that she offers to each of the families who have need of Dunkum's services during the darkest days of their lives, I am so grateful that she's in our community. And she is now forever in my heart.

I don't think I can recall a time of my life when there were so many people around me who were totally dedicated and dialed in on me and my well-being. The value of this total support? Priceless. No matter how fast the emotions shifted and danced, no matter the need for tears or silence, no matter what each moment called forth, I was supported.  People noticed that my drink glass was low - and they filled it. They noticed that I stretched to ease my back and neck - they suggested a walk or a neck massage. They rubbed my feet and asked if I needed to lay down for a nap. They brought me food - anything that I was willing to eat magically appeared before me. They put movies in the DVD player to lighten the heaviness of the room. Friends brought wine - a lot of wine! Pizzas were delivered. Home cooked meals appeared in crockpots, their preparers sometimes sticking around for a visit.  People signed up to send us meals for three full weeks, Thor. It was overwhelmingly beautiful to be open and receive such love from so many people.

Nana and Mimi buzzed around like little bees. They cleaned and organized. They cried together, your two grandmas did. Places were found for all the supplies and mountains of food, for flowers and plants and stacks of condolences that came daily in the mail. They were field marshals who kept the house tidy and presentable for company. They fussed over your dad and brothers. They folded laundry like no tomorrow. Where did all the laundry come from? I wore nothing but yoga pants and a tee shirt for days. Still our moms took care of us in our time of need and great pain. They showed up, stowed their grief and did what needed to be done to help keep our little family from falling apart in the abyss.

There was a safety net of protection woven around me by the family and friends. They shielded me from all but the most critical questions. There was zero pressure on me to do or say anything. I could flounder and be catatonic. I could cry or get ripping drunk. I could sleep and wake to the offer of a warm meal. I didn't have to shop or cook or clean, which is good because I couldn't have done any of those things. The only reason I knew my name is because people were saying it to me. I could fall apart, and everyone had what they needed.  Your dad marched on, dealing with the details of the funeral, and insurance, human resources at your job and the police. He had something to do, which was good for him. I had shoulders to cry on, so I didn't add to his burden any more than needed.

Your aunts and uncle held my hand, Thor. Someone held my hand almost continuously for days. I was not left alone for a second, unless I specifically asked for it - and I didn't. During those first days, someone even made sure I was safe in the shower. They helped me find clothes when selecting something from the dresser proved to be too difficult of a decision. Yes, I was that wobbly.

Grandpa and I went on walks. Walking at first was hard; moving dislodged the grief and sent it coursing like a live wire through my body. I felt nauseous, clammy and out of breath. There were tight bands around my ribs that wouldn't let me get enough air. I had to walk slowly. I couldn't talk. I resented chatter at that point. It was like torture to listen to inane, pointless prattle. Grandpa knows how to walk in silence. We don't have to fill it up with words or ideas.

I am blessed to have so many people who can sit with me in this grief without trying to cheer me up or nudge me out of it. They just get it. I don't need to change the way I feel. I need to FEEL the way I feel and allow it to express naturally.  These blessed beings aren't scared to be with me in that space, diving into the depths and just being there with me for a while. This is a tremendous blessing. I need to remember the value of being with someone, in silence and tears in the bottom of the well…it matters a lot.

My work colleagues rallied around me, too. They sent food and champagne (at my request for what beverage I would prefer). They drove down to be with me at the service. But beyond this, we have a company policy that allows for unlimited leave. The practical side of my brain balked at this notion. It sounds good on paper, but to test it, for real? I was unsure. I would have to get back to work, back to earning a living and pull my weight on the team. Ben told me when he came and delivered a delicious meal prepared by his wife, that I should take all the time I needed, even if I took the whole year. He stressed that I shouldn’t come back to work one second before I was ready. I have what anyone would need in this situation, time to process and heal. In subsequent weeks, I would test ideas for coming back to work, Ben gently shot them down, sensing himself what I already knew but hated to admit. I was not ready to go back. Ten weeks, eleven weeks, even fourteen weeks, like today, is still not enough time to get my feet back under me. And even when I do get my feet back under me, I'll am forever altered. Ben is brilliant and gracious at understanding this, too. He told me that we need to wait and see where my energy naturally wants to go, not to force it. He knows I'll be back, but he also knows I'm coming back different, changed. Better, at least I hope so. What a gift this is, to have the time and space to heal without worrying about my job. There is a lot to be said for progressive, forward thinking companies that put their people first.

The energy that fills the air around me is palpable. It's full of the prayers, love and good wishes that are continuously beaming toward our little cabin in the woods. We are held up and sustained by the daily doses of prayers that come our way. The prayers and thoughts are less tangible than the cards that filled up the mailbox but no less impactful and beautiful. I sensed and called upon this prayer energy more than once to get me through a tough moment or day. Dad and I worked our way through the cards a few at a time. There were over three hundred offerings of condolence and sympathy. It took us a while to read them all, but eventually we did.

On the day after the service, I woke to a houseful of flowers and plants. It was like I lived in a floral shop. They were so beautiful and their sweet fragrance uplifted my heart, just a bit. I spent the better part of two hours playing with flowers, sorting and combining them. Watering and making sure they were preserved for as long as possible. I began selecting individual blossoms that I could dry. Flowers matter. I never realized how much they matter until I walked into the funeral home and saw them all there. They represented the sincere desire of all our loved ones to make this last moment with you in your corporeal form the most beautiful it could be. I was dazzled by the gorgeous bouquets. It was a sight to behold! It took my breath, brought tears to my eyes and comfort to my heart.  Your dear friends, Jonathan, and Tracey at Special Touch made sure everything was perfect and beautiful. Sunflowers have always been a favorite of mine, but now they hold a special place in my heart as the featured blossoms woven into the casket blanket under which you rested.  Such mindful, heartfelt care was taken to pay tribute to you, Thor, my heart overflowed with gratitude. 

These are just a few of the stories and impressions I recall from that first hectic and emotionally turbulent week after you died. There are many more that I will share with you. Each one is a tribute to you as well being an offering of love and support for us. Receiving so much is overwhelming and deeply moving. We can, perhaps, repay the kindness shown to us by living a kind and humble life, seeking to serve and love those in need.

I love you,

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

For Thor - 43 - Bittersweet

My life has a new flavor, now. Every moment, smile, tear, triumph, or trial is imbued and fragrant with a new aura. Each day I awake and it is there on my tongue, behind my eyes, in my lungs. It colors my speech and infuses my thoughts. Each day dawns with new hope on the horizon, beckoning me to take the first tentative steps into Life. And I do. Only now everything is piquant, tinted and texturized with bittersweet.

On Sunday, Dad and I loaded some things into the camper. We're preparing for our first trip in a few weeks. I opened the cabinets and drawers to place pots, pans, dishes, cutlery and drink koozies in their new places. What I didn't expect to find was the rich emotion of the day. Dad and I were excited to be together getting things ready to embark on an adventure, a very sweet feeling full of promise and good times to come. As I rummaged around in the camper, I stumbled upon some of your things. These little things can hit me hard, giving rise to the tangy bite of bitter.

I found your copy of Safe by a Mile, inscribed to you and signed by Papa. It's the only book I've known you to read voluntarily and while I wish you'd read more, I am so proud and happy that you read that book, in particular. Words cannot express the emotion in my heart at seeing the heartfelt inscription, your name, in your great-grandpa's handwriting. It is endearing and heartbreaking all at once to see where you dog-eared the pages as you read along. You and Papa are both on the other side now. I hope you've found some time to hang out, have a catch, and joke around.

A blue spiral bound book caught my eye as your Dad lifted some things out of one of the closets. It was your Daytimer with a calendar that ran from September 2015 through 2016. Your handwriting is all over it, neat and purposeful. You had written down all of your family's birthdays. You had firehouse meetings and VDOT training days. You and Branden often met as you guys worked to get your side gig off the ground. You had your time off mapped for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And then there is nothing. When I turn the page to January, the page is pristine, white and blank. This little blue book profoundly shook my world, illustrating in a glance the life you expected to live. A life severed in a mere flash.

Your dad went into the barn with a basket full of things to put away. I followed him, not wanting to be alone as rising emotions threatened to choke me. He picked up something and handed it to me. It was your driver's license, an official recognition of you, your life and the fact that you were a person of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Here is tangible proof of your identity, sanctioned by the State. This piece of evidence, along with so many others that recognized you as a citizen of the US, as a presence, remind me that you belonged to a lot of tribes outside of the family tribe. The human tribe, the American tribe, the Virginia tribe, the Buckingham tribe, the VDOT tribe, the Class of 2014 tribe and so many other associations that defined your personality and set up your orientation to life. One more treasured keepsake that I look upon through bittersweet tears.

It was evident that the bitter side of bittersweet was gaining ground, so your dad suggested that we hit a few practice balls with the golf clubs. Having nothing better to do, I agreed. We teed off into the newly cleared area next the driveway. For a person who hasn't swung a golf club in 35 years, I did pretty well. I just need to knock a little rust off my swing. I used your clubs, Thor, and they fit me just right. We went to look for the balls so we could hit them again. As I scanned the area looking for yellow balls, I spied a bottle sticking up out of the tree and leaf litter. It was a nearly full bottle of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum.

I couldn't believe my eyes! Last summer you were arguing with someone in the driveway. That bottle of rum was in your hand. The argument escalated, and in a fit of frustration, you hurled that thing into the woods. I figured that you had retrieved it later after things cooled off. Apparently not. I was more than surprised to find it here, now. Even after the loggers cut down and grappled all these trees, and they rolled back and forth across the area with their big machines, this bottle of rum remained intact. Bittersweet. The bottle of rum brought back a memory of a day that was not so ideal for you. It was a time when you were trying to figure out so many things in the midst of heartbreak and uncertainty.

I remember that day for some other reasons, too. It was the day you returned to me in a way, seeing me once again as your greatest ally and resource for unconditional love. This was a big, mom moment. All parents know that we have to let our kids go. We need to let them find their way. Eventually, we hope, they will come around. I'm so grateful that you and I reconnected like this before you died, sweetheart. You told someone once that you knew I would do anything in the world for you, anything at all, because you knew that I had your back. It's hard to imagine coping with all of this if I hadn't had that chance.

The bittersweet character of my life continues to unfold. There is a reason to celebrate, even in times of sadness. Xan and I took Chaz to get his learner's permit, yesterday. He passed the test on the first try and now has his own set of credentials from the State. I tucked away my sorrow to be with him at this milestone in his life. He deserves to have a smiling, loving mom who is present and happy for him. It was a hard test for me, but I think I passed. While we waited for the DMV clerk, I recalled taking you to get your learner's permit and later, your driver's license. (The one that is now on my dresser where I can see it every day.) But I had to look beyond the memories and specter of you, Thor, to see Chaz and to let him know that I see him. Afterward, we went out for celebratory lunch. I even had a Dr. Pepper (you know I never drink soda!) with Chaz and a toast to his new status as a driver. I pushed this grief aside for a time to just be with your brothers. They regaled me with stories of their video games, music, and favorite authors. I listened, and we laughed together.

I suspect bittersweet is a permanent part of the new life; the one where we learn to live without you here among us. I can't bring myself to call it the "new normal." This is not normal; this is extraordinary, mind-blowing, heartbreaking and, at times, surreal. Not normal. As we move through this experience, we share the sweetness of joy found in life and each other, even as we shed bitter tears over your profound absence. 

I love you,

Saturday, April 9, 2016

For Thor - 42 - All the Sorrows

Hey there, baby boy.

I had a rare evening last night, your dad and brothers were all out on their adventures, and I had the house to myself. There are more than a dozen people I could have called to hang out with me, but the opportunity to simply be here by myself is a rare one these days. So, I took it.

The night's agenda included hanging out on the sofa with Lady watching romantic comedies, noshing popcorn and sipping Orange Julius'. As solitude settled around me I realized something. Lately, I've been holding back. I've metered the tears to protect your brothers and your dad from the daily agony of a mother's grief. Last night the tears fell unhindered and unabashed to the background banter of on-screen romances.

Sappy movies have a knack for hitting me in just the right place to trigger a memory or a wave of sorrow. I adore these sweet stories of new found love, lost love, regretful missteps that lead to love, the inevitable heart-baring conversation that reveals tender vulnerability and wide-open futures of happiness. Last night these stories dredged up a host of little sorrows, Thor.

There are the sorrows of my personal regret and guilt. These are a mother's worst torture, testaments of missed opportunity, of misplaced attention. I recall times when I wasn't present enough, and I missed countless little looks or smiles. When perhaps I had been too distracted to pay attention to what you were telling me, and I didn't catch the hint that something was troubling you. I didn't always turn my eyes away from whatever work preoccupied my mind to see - you. I took for granted that things were fine and that we would have time, years and decades to hang out and share the unfolding story of this life. I figured if the Lord gave me a blessing that I would get to keep it. It never occurred to me that you might be a shooting star blazing your way across the expanse of the sky only to disappear over the horizon. 

Your life was cut short, and the sorrows that arise from this fact are overwhelming. All the beautiful things you won't get to do, haunt my imagination. The songs you won't sing and jokes you won't tell. No more summers with friends on the lake and fishing, something you loved so dearly. You won't hang out with your brothers playing video games into the wee hours of the night. You won't be the best man in their weddings. You won't get to help plan their graduation and bachelor parties. You won't be here to choose a girl and become her husband. You won't get to be a father, something you seemed born to do. No more summer evenings singing on the porch with your dad and no more Christmas morning mimosas with me, my darling. 

I looked around at the empty chairs in the living room last night and begged for you to show up and let me hear you say, "Hey, Mama." Just drop in and tell me hello, tell me you are fine. Tell me its all been a terrible mistake and that you're coming home. It's just so fucking sad you know, that you died and broke my heart.

I try to make the most of each day, Thor. Some days are better than others and some days are full of sorrow. A million little sorrows dart about like tiny fish in the Sea of Grief. They make the Sea effervescent as they school, dashing in and out of my vision. They are part of the story of mourning your death, and so I treasure them.

All the sorrows…

I love you,


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

For Thor - 41 - Double Back Flip Cannonball

Good morning, Thor. I can hardly believe thirteen weeks have passed since that horrible night when our lives took a very sudden and sharp turn. You died, and we are left to carry on. Grief sweeps through my life taking me on a rough and wild ride to places I never knew existed, at least not in this life.

You loved the outdoors so much that when I'm outdoors soaking up and appreciating the natural world, I feel you are easy to reach. When I gaze into the bright blue bowl of the sky, I see your beautiful blue eyes, or when a hawk soars toward the sun, I recall proud Mama moments watching you fly high into your potential. Even the modest expression of little cowbirds at the feeders and dogwood blossoms bobbing on a breeze are natures echoes of the love I have for you, darling boy. When I take the dogs out walking, and the wind kicks up a little dust cloud on the road, I imagine it is you blowing me kisses to me from the other side.

In the mornings, I take the time to sink into the depth of my soul all the way to sense the connection to all - and therefore to you. I listen to kirtan singers chant ancient, holy names in songs offered in sacred prayer and surrender. Praying like this opens my heart more fully to the experience of knowing our collective state of being. We are all One. We are all one family. We are Divine Light and Love. My only job in this life is to awaken to this truth.

Snatam Kaur - Ong Namo

The rain is pouring down 
Like all the souls you sent here 
Coming to this Earth 
To find healing 

Mother earth takes in the rain 
Like your heart takes my voice 
Let us free each other 
With our prayers, with our voice 

And I’m coming home 
And I’m coming 

Ong namo guru dev namo 
Ong namo guru dev namo 

Oh, my beloved 
Kindness of the heart 
Breath of life 
I bow to you 

Divine teacher 
Beloved friend 
I bow to you 
Again and again 

Lotus sitting on the water 
Beyond time and space 
This is your way 
This is your grace

I talk to you through the divination of my intuitive self, and it is such a joy to feel you respond. The message is always the same, I tell you, "I love you!" It's all that matters now. I mean what is left to say? What happened here, has happened. Wishing for something else is natural, but the path to healing is not in regret and wishful thinking. The only hope this heart has to heal is for it to burst wide open - even more - and for it to stay that way; open and receptive to the abundant gifts of the Universe.

I had noticed that when I start my day with the mundane routine of the old life before you died, it is a recipe for depression and desolation set their hooks. Shuffling out to the couch and clicking on the news with coffee in hand while mindlessly scrolling social media just sets me up for a downward spiral that ends with me being in abject misery. When I start my day with mindfulness, meditation, prayer and song not only do I feel better, but I feel YOU here with me.

You are beckoning, calling and encouraging me to be brave now, when I am most vulnerable. It's like you and I stood on a cliff and looked at the water below. Who would dive in first? Who would take the plunge into the realm of expanded awareness for the sake of pushing the rest of us to grow?

You did. You did a double-back flip cannonball right into that deep water. The splash startled me out of my poolside sunbathing siesta, my preoccupied hectic life. At first, I sputtered and, frankly, was pretty pissed off. As these weeks have passed and grief has pushed, pulled, torn and shoved me, I am worn down and weary. The bleeding has stopped, and the torn pieces of my heart are beginning to knit together with silver strands of scar tissue. Dark bruises mark my being; they are black all the way to the core but there now is a yellowish tinge on their edges. Healing is happening, by Grace and with time, what felt dead in me is being resurrected.

At this juncture, it is important that my intention for living a conscious and purposeful life is declared. It is time to reclaim the power I turned away from for manufactured busyness and false importance. I am laying the foundation for the new path. And now, when I sit in quiet contemplation I can hear you telling me to take heart. "Come on in, Mama, the water is fine." You remind me why we're on this planet. We are here to be immersed in and to emit love. It's not an easy road, but it is the path to real joy and bliss. My one consolation as I take these first tentative steps into a new understanding is that you are walking with me.

Snatam Kaur - Long Time Sun
May the Long Time Sun 
Shine upon you 
All love surround you 
And the pure light within you 
Guide your way on 
Guide your way on

I hope you enjoy the songs today, my Beloved. They are not the country music you enjoyed so much here on Earth, but they lift my heart out of the ashes and into a place of peace, even as my eyes shed endless tears from the well of grief.

I love you,