My Mother and I find ourselves in people’s lives at the strangest times. She’s always there as someone is about to die while I find myself around those who are on the brink of making big life changes. She brings a graceful kind of clarity while I am caught dead in the centre, watching events, often deeply conflicting unfold. She makes sense of it all through her belief in God while I have words and music.
The one bit of ink on my right hand is deeply meaningful as I got inked after Doug’s death. Doug was Gilda’s husband. In the last years of his life I was a welcome addition to the family. In fact we decided to adopt each other. Gilda would do crossword puzzles, the music playing as Doug and I talked and smoked. We laughed a great deal. They called each other angel and I was the angel child.
I was present for the last month of his life. His was the first dead body I saw and helped wash. The ink is very delicate and beautiful, a reminder that he is free of pain and that his life was a blessing and reminder I won’t ever forget. He did not recognize me at all in the end. He had dementia.
I love someone who is slowly losing bits of themselves. It creeps up and catches both of us unaware at times. Yet the spark, that indescribable thing that makes her so unquestionably her remains and so I can’t help but to love more. The floodgates to my heart are so wide open I don’t always know where to place what I feel.
As I watch over the people I love and feel them slipping away I become very clear in my thinking and being. I know that what I need is not to be married or have a kid or even to be insanely rich – but to experience deep connection. That, above all else matters. Love, I sometimes think, is not always meant to last forever. Some people come to show us the way; how to love or not to love, how much we can give and the consequences thereof.
I am not joking when I say that I am grateful for every bit of love or deep affection shared – even if it does not last. That one is even able to feel is grace itself. So why be bothered by the duration. Was it real? Did it ignite everything within? And what was learnt and shared? Those are the questions I sit with afterwards.
I don’t know why I am placed in the lives of certain people. Sometimes I do not even know if I have any kind of impact….yet there I am still. Slap bang in the middle – feeling my heart and entire being expand. Even if it hurts more than I can bear at times. Being able to express love with words and music is nothing short of a gift.
And so I made a small promise to myself to not grieve anyone for too long, even as I watch them fade. Life must go on and in order to do so I must allow the pain, the self recriminations, the judgement I swallow so easily to flow out of me. How else can I be of service to those who enter my life, those I chose to love if I walk around with a heart that’s shut? It won’t be possible to offer the best of who I am…my time, my words, my music if I forget this one simple thing.
All we will ever have is this moment. And how we chose to love in this moment is what defines us…it is what makes us so divinely and imperfectly human.
So be kind. First to yourself and then others. Before your unkind words take root in your heart and skin. Just….be kind. Be gentle and let go of one fear at a time. X