Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Irreplaceable Sources of Light

I wanted to take a moment to share some things that lighten my heart.  This first photo shows what is left of a prayer flag that my oldest angel and her room-mate brought home for me from their trip to Tibet.  It hangs gently in our backyard and is a tangible reminder that we are constantly being surrounded and blessed by the prayers of those who love and care about us.  Though it is exposed and often battered by the elements, its symbolism cannot be destroyed.

This is our sweet lap cat, Harley.  When I found him, he was homeless and injured.  He had been attacked by a hungry coyote, but obviously lived to tell about it.  His journey into our family and his forever home, was a very difficult one, but he is one of the happiest, most easy going little guys that I have ever met.  He has managed solitude over adversity.

This is a picture which was taken this past weekend of my angels and my dad.  They call him "Pop-Pop" because that is the name that our oldest angel gave him as soon as she could speak.  Angel daughter number three(wearing the blue shirt which matches her eyes) celebrated her sixteenth birthday on the first day of Spring.  She is a sparkly ray of light, and like Spring, she breezed into our lives full of hope and brightness.(Her middle name is Hope.)  Other than the deep connection which I share with my wonderful  husband, these five individuals fill my life with more laughter and light than I could have ever believed possible.
This is Max.  He is another one of our rescue kitties.  He has a true understanding of the word "relax".  When we adopted him, he adopted AD3, and he rarely leaves her side.  
And finally, in honor of AD3's sixteenth birthday, I just wanted to remind her, and my other angels, of this one last thought.  You and your Dad will always be blissful reminders of how incredibly full my life is.  Sometimes, I just have to stop in my tracks to hug you because you are my true loves.  And there is not anything which can lighten my heart in quite the same way that you can...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Where We Are

Gazing out at this beautiful span of land and sea, something diverted my attention.  As I followed my line of vision moving away from the land, I noticed a lone figure rowing purposefully, yet without exact direction.  He seemed to move further and further along into the depths of his own self-induced solitude, no fear, only the innate need to be driven by the power of his own strength.  In the midst of nothing but ocean, air and breath, this individual seemed unburdened by the the unknowns of what might lurk beneath, around or above.  His buoyancy was only temporarily jostled by the rolling movement of the waves, coaxing his board to propel slowly, while he gently allowed himself to be carried forward.    His only intention seemed to be in exploring what is.   As he completed his journey, I watched as he began to re-approach the beach.  I eventually lost sight of this lone soul, but somehow I felt confident that he would end up reconnecting with the rest of the world, in his own time, but ready to face life.

Grief is like that.  We leave the knowledge of what we once knew as safe and understood, only to be carried into the direction of a "new normal".  Sometimes, the seas are scary and we try our hardest to fight against the changing directions.  Other times, we accept our soul's need for solitude, and we honor our own need to drift away from the land, for a while.  The truth is that once we have taken the journey, our lives will never again be the same, yet our strength will move us forward if we allow it to.  We must spend some time focusing on what is, because there is nothing else.  We are not where we used to be and we are not yet where we will be.  We are where we are and life is what it is.  We must trust that there will come a time when we will feel grounded, once again, but until that time, we must trust the things we cannot see.  For me, those things are God, the deep love of my husband and daughters, old friends who are more like family, the knowledge that I am a strong woman, and the open hearts and compassionate thoughts and prayers of so many whom I have never even met in person.  Those are the things, which I cannot always see that are like a surfboard keeping me afloat when I am not sure what is below or around or above.  Those are the things which keep me strong, as I am carried along this uncertain pathway from shore to shore.

May life be as gentle as possible, as you make your way through this ever-changing world.  

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What Comes Next

This past weekend, my husband and I were going to spend some time by ourselves, down by the beach. As we were getting set to leave, I realized that I wasn't ready to leave my angels, quite yet. I still have this nagging need to be within arms reach of my family. My wonderful husband called the hotel and booked another room for our girls. I began breathing again and we had a lovely time.

Please remember to always be gentle with yourself. Honor your instincts and allow yourself to indulge, if need be. The human spirit is very strong, yet it is also quite fragile. I am finding that by parenting myself in a loving and supportive way, I have more to share with others.

My best and oldest friend's daughter, gave birth to her first baby yesterday. Since we have known each other since we were twelve years old, and we have raised our children as family, I am now a "Great Aunt". Such a blessing this baby girl is! She will be another rich thread in the beautiful tapestry which is life.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tether Me

When one life ends, it is often difficult to reconnect with the life force which tethers us to the here and now. This is why it is so crucial to participate in activities that remind us of the human spirit's ability to continue. Children are amazingly good at this. I have witnessed all four of my angels' connections to the energy and joy which allow our spirits to prevail, even after the most tragic of events.

Since I am having trouble with words right now, I decided to share some photos. The first one is of my angel daughter number 3 running in a track meet. This was her first meet ever, and she ran like the wind finishing fifth out of about twenty runners. Her spirit is leading her towards new accomplishments. My husband and I were so incredibly proud of her!

The other photos are of angel daughter number four. I asked her to show me some of her dance moves, and this is what she sprang forth and shared with me. I think of dance as a song that is sung by the body. No one can ever tell me that joy does not reside within the heart, ready to pounce out loud at the perfect moment.

My other two angels also shared their absolute connections to the life force this past weekend, although I do not have photos to share of those moments. Angel daughter number one performed in a play called The Vagina Monologues. Her performance brought a packed house from hysterical laughter, to silence and tears in five minutes flat. I have never seen her perform in this type of genre before, and it was her absolute best to date. She acted from a place which was both real and unreal, both realized and unrealized. Mark and I were moved by the depth of her performance.

Angel daughter number two spent the weekend at a cheer competition that was very far from our home. She flew with her team to get there. She called us, filled with excitement, as her team took second place out of seven. We were so happy for her, but more importantly, we were happy because she was happy. It is like that when you love someone, isn't it?

So, as we move slowly, ever so slowly, back into the rhythm of life, our senses raw with emotion, we are reminded that the life force which resides within the souls of our children, also lives within our own souls. This is the reason that as devastating as death and the situations that can arise with it, might try to pull us down into the depths of sadness, our soul's connection to life eventually saves us from drowning in the darkness of that sorrow.

There is so much to be learned during a single lifetime. Although I feel as if everything I have ever known before has been somehow recolored by the sadness of my brother's death, I will continue to look toward my children for clues as to how to focus on moving forward. I will search for new ways to move back in the direction of what tethers us to life.

May you always feel drawn by the life force which resides within you.
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