“What is your life but a journey? Some journeys are short while others are much longer. Our earthly stopover is to return better people than when we arrived. To live unselfishly and do good work. Joyful journeys rest on giving and receiving Grace, whenever the opportunity arises give and accept it freely.”
Throughout history the world has been endangered with plagues and pandemics. I won’t use this post as a history lesson but rather as a reminder of the impermanence of our existence. In this time of Coronavirus we have witnessed the medical community transform death into a human endeavor by communicating with families about the progress or lack thereof concerning their loved ones by utilizing technology such as zoom, phone calls, FaceTime, Skype or other media platforms. Those on the front lines are laboring to establish humanness before a patients final transitional moment. Families cannot stand in the same space that their loved ones struggle to survive in during this time of Coronavirus. Medical professionals are the last voice or face many patients will hear or see before the final goodnight. They are the last connection, “one human being to another standing in the gap where the will to live or the inevitability of death is not always open to a desired outcome.” (Holstein, 1997)
I write this post from a place of heartache for my daughter who lost her father, my ex-husband, during this time of forbidden comfort. The reassurance that arms will circle you, and shoulders will be available, waiting to catch you as you weep silently, or wail out loud in grief are forbidden. The comfort that generations of families have been ordained to offer through the years is suddenly without warning, gone. And until you are standing graveside you will not understand the pain and unfairness of it all.
I stood beside my daughter both donned with PPE but not quite six feet apart, a bit closer, and softly, with my arm barely touching her waist. Irresponsible l know but what would you do if your heart of hearts was breaking apart at the seams… and now I wait to see if “love in the time of Coronavirus” will supersede this killer of family consolation. There is much that was left unsaid between them lost in the complexities of the father daughter bond. That is a post for another time… so, she is left with the guilt of not having had the opportunity to have one more chance at “girl dad” bonding. I was communicating with a friend this morning about the heartbreak of it all when she reminded me of something that I heard growing up “guilt and death go hand in hand.”
Research shows that “time is the most valuable commodity.” James brother of Jesus said “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” My daughter grieves for the loss of her father’s life but she also grieves for a mother who is getting on in age. She said I have loss so many people lately. Her father and two of his siblings transitioned within what feels like months of each other. We lost my brother, her uncle, in June. A guy she was dating, and, a friend gone, vanished…
As we talked I rejected the notion of sugar coating the moment. The history of death is as old as time itself. But with a mothers heart I listened and responded to her wounded soul when she said that she is afraid of losing me. I am a realist so even in her grief I had to say the hard thing “one of us will lose the other someday” but selfishly I pray that time is a long ways off.
I made peace with death a long time ago. I have never been a drawn-out griever and I don’t want to be grieved for in lengthy despair. Why has no place in the discussion of death, why, because it just is? As for me when the light comes (counting on a light) I humbly grant permission for a simple service of my cremated remains, the people you leave behind need the closure…
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
~Hunter S. Thompson,
Did I do some things I’m not proud of, hell yes I did! But my hope is that the good I did was valuable to the family I choose to take this journey with, and, to the fellow travelers I met along the way.
I wrote this poem and sent it to my daughter after learning of her fathers crossing-over…
Be Well, Stay Safe!