Last month I wrote about the unexpected passing of my sister-in-law. Although we lived more than 2500 miles apart. Her absence is indeed felt. The space in our lives where she resided is empty but not hollow. We can still feel her love, her spirit, and the soul that once lived inside the amazing woman she was. So yes, there is sadness and pain associated with her death. Knowing we can’t talk to her, hear her laughter, or go to visit and spend time with her. But there is also a calmness. Knowing she is no longer in pain, she is free from medications, and poisons pumped into her body to fight an illness that ultimately took her life.
Time has passed since learning of her death. Wrapping our minds around the event, trying to understand the why behind the tragedy. Then driving 24 hours to the funeral, the burial, sitting in her house, which felt vacant filled with people. It has been weeks since then, yet our lives continued, changed as they are, they contain the mundane, the ordinary, the usual – and yet now they mean much more. We recognize the simple things and take a little more time to appreciate every day – every – day. It makes one thankful. Grateful when you can take a deep full breath of clean air. To enjoy a crisp apple. To wash a sink full of dishes you’ve just served a meal on to your family, who lingered at the table a little bit longer. I hope these feelings last and more moments are shared and cherished.
Remembering is a powerful thing. To take time to remember and feel the way you did before the feeling turned into a memory is special. I think it keeps the person or event in your mind and heart. I can only hope they can feel that and know they are still and always loved.
Recently I returned from a week-long trip to Cape Cod. My daughter had a workshop she was attending, and I was given the gift of time. The last time we were there was just about a year ago, and I finished my first book. It was a personal achievement I sincerely hope will be published. Since then I am still searching for an agent and/or publisher. It is an exhausting, frustrating and skin-thickening process. So for the week in Chatham, I was allowed to walk on the beach, listen to seagulls, watch sunrises and simply be. I chose to read. I chose to clear my mind of thoughts and aggravations and watched the waves. I chose to listen to the water rush onto the sand and study the patterns left on the beach. I chose to feel whatever feelings came, then let them blow across the shore. It was a mindful meditation of sorts.
Now that I am home, trying to find slices of those choices has been a bit challenging. But it can be done. By holding the stones and shells tucked in my jeans pockets from those walks. Looking at the photographs of each sunrise, the beautiful ones in all the splendor and glory the sun paints as well as the ones designed in shades of grey with storm clouds on the horizon. Wearing my sunhat to do yard work and sipping coffee in my rocker on the front porch watching the birds in the feeder.
Today as I drove to work over Bear Mountain and although it is the last day of April and spring arrived almost six weeks ago it was snowing! Not accumulating snowflakes that must be shoveled away, but big wet ones that slapped the windshield and required the wipers to stay on. By the time I arrived the snow had turned to rain, but tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful and 75 degrees. Go figure.
So do we complain and fuss? Well, you could, if you chose to, but I think it is better to take a deep breath or two, hold that seashell in your hand, a cup of warm something in the other and remember. Remember someone you lost or someone you still have, consciously think of things that make you smile, laugh or shake your head. Make the mindful effort to bring those slices, pieces, little bits of happiness into your own life. Find those sunrises, waves or mountain paths and take a walk. Clear your mind, your heart, and your head. Take a picture or two or more and remember to look at them, not just glance as you rush by.
Take the time to slow down and live, right now, right this moment. Take time to do some remembering of your own, and if it means you need to grab a tissue that’s okay too. We don’t know just how many slices, pieces and little bits of life we have. So cherish this life you’ve been given and live it!
Breathe Deep, Think Peace