Tag Archives: death

Hineni ~ Here I Am Lord

Leonard_Cohen1934 – 2016

You Want It Darker

If you are the dealer, I’m out of the game
If you are the healer, it means I’m broken and lame
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the help that never came
You want it darker

Hineni, hineni
I’m ready, my lord

There’s a lover in the story
But the story’s still the same
There’s a lullaby for suffering
And a paradox to blame
But it’s written in the scriptures
And it’s not some idle claim
You want it darker
We kill the flame

They’re lining up the prisoners
And the guards are taking aim
I struggled with some demons
They were middle class and tame
I didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim
You want it darker

Hineni, hineni
I’m ready, my lord

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the love that never came
You want it darker
We kill the flame

If you are the dealer, let me out of the game
If you are the healer, I’m broken and lame
If thine is the glory, mine must be the shame
You want it darker

Hineni, hineni
Hineni, hineni
I’m ready, my lord

Hineni
Hineni, hineni
Hineni

 

He was my constant companion from my early teens through my twenties. I came of age with Leonard. His poetry will be with me forever.

Mom

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“The woman who bore me is no longer alive, but I seem to be her daughter in increasingly profound ways.”

Johnnetta Betsch Cole

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It is 10 years  today  that my mom died. Not a horrible death; she was 95 and went in her sleep. She told the nursing staff when she went to bed that she was leaving, going home to her daughters. She had five of us. I was number four born late in her life. She had me at 43 in the 1950’s and another daughter two years later. The grandchildren started in between my younger sister and I. Yikes!! 45 years old and two little ones and three teenagers. Those teenagers started getting married and having children of their own. They were always at our house. Free babysitting. 45 was not the new 30 in 1955.

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My mom was beautiful, talented, creative, a nurturer. She was also human and vulnerable. Life was not easy when I was growing up. My dad was very ill with at that time untreatable bleeding ulcers and there was no national health care yet. He died when I was 18 and my mom was 61. I had just started university.  She never remarried but worked until she was 69; running a senior’s residence no less.

My mom didn’t teach me to cook or sew or knit; all things she was excellent at. She was busy and I am sure that I was a challenge for her.  My god it was the sixties and I was a teenager. The world was changing rapidly. I pushed the envelope many times.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her in some way. My mom baby sat my kids always. Now that I have my own grandchildren I remember so much of what my mother did for me and my children. They had the best relationship with her.

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I find myself saying the same phrases I heard from her.

She had a song “that’s okay Rose would say, don’t you worry none, we’ll have good time by and by in the fall when the works all done” . It was like one of my favourite quotes from Julian of Norwich, all will be well. Or this one from Karen Maezen Miller “your baby will be okay”

 

Miss you mom, all your babies are okay!

“Your child is a boat on the ocean. There are clear skies and calm nights. There are storms and rain and fog. You cannot control the course. Every time you exhale, the boat is carried safely toward the horizon, its distant harbor and home.
You are the breeze.”

Karen Maezen Miller

Time and Tattoos

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,”

W. Shakespeare

daisies-1My daughter’s blog post on time, made me reminisce on my own days as a busy mother.

We were four families with  kids roughly the same age and all in the same school. As mother’s we were known as Mrs. E F G & H. Mrs. H and I were very close; both of us busy with family, careers and aspirations. The school was a Catholic independent school where parents had to participate in all aspects of school and church life. We spent a lot of time together.

Mrs. H and I often spoke about our “busy” disease. Crisis’ would come and go. We always thought we could get on with our aspirations next week or next month; after we got through the hurdles of a parent or husband with depression, a business trip, dental bills, volunteer duties, appointments, holidays, and what seemed like everyone needing our attention “now”!

We would write that book, paint that picture, take that spiritual journey tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. We will have time…………when.

 

In 1986 at age 39 Mrs. H had a heart attack in her living room. Her children came home from school to find her dead. I lost a best friend, they lost a mother. There was no tomorrow.

I would like to say that the lesson of no tomorrow was profound and it immediately changed my life. It still took many years and many more” putting off until tomorrow” to really sink in. I know that’s why they say youth is wasted on the young. It’s only through age that we fully understand the meaning of making time. It is in our control, our lives are lived daily.

When I hit the milestone of 39, so many years ago I wanted to commemorate it and Mrs. H’s death at the same time.  I didn’t want to do something crazy at 40 to celebrate middle age I wanted something long-lasting spectacular, and something I have always wanted. I wanted it to be done now. I wanted a tattoo. My husband thought I was crazy, I didn’t tell my mother. My oldest was at university and my youngest was just starting high school. The perfect time.

I knew exactly what I wanted.

angelI wanted the reminder permanently and indelibly inked on my body and soul.  Create joy today. It will define you.

tattoo

 

Rites Of Passage And Adventure

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Life never comes to a closure; life is process, even mystery.  Life is
known only by those who have found a way to be comfortable with
change and the unknown.  Given the nature of life, there may be
no security, but only adventure.”    Rachel Naomi Remen

There were two rites of passage this past weekend.  Both marked a passage in my life. They were both ritual events that marked transition from one status to another. Rites of passage are celebrated by all cultures, nations, and religions. It can be a coming of age, a sacrament, a life change. Passages celebrated in community are the best. Our need to be part of or share an emotional connection is overwhelming. It’s where we learn the heart habits of tolerance, charity, and trust. They are life altering on this worldly path.

The first was for my friend Paul who died on April 26th. It was a combination Native American Church/Buddhist ceremony, celebrated with and by those who loved him. Prayers, singing and drumming were offered up for a safe passage, the fire lit at his death was extinguished, the reading of The Bardo finished. A time for reflection on our own lives and to remember Paul’s words to us.  Our adventure continues.

“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure “     Joseph Campbell

The second passage was my granddaughter’s First Holy Communion. The sharing in the divine nature given through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. The faithful is born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity.”

“Jesus, what made You so small? LOVE!”
St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153)

It is an act of love and sets her on her adventure to experience and share that love.

As with many rites there are gifts for the participants.

From Paul, a picture with his favourite word, written in his ashes.

Paul Dimitoff

 

For Giorgia, an ornament as a gift for our sharing in her passage and remembrance of our LOVE!

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Farewell Friend ~ Farewell Advice

My loving friend Paul has started a new journey. Freed from his earthly home, he is now free to wander the cosmos, delighting in all the things he knows are there for him. I cherish his last will and testament and remember his wishes for us.

Rev. Dr. Pavel Dimitoff“Before death, life is a seeker.
After death, the same life becomes a dreamer.
Before death, life struggles and strives for Perfection.
After death, the same life rests
and enjoys the divine Bliss with the soul.
Before death, life is God’s Promise.
After death, life is God’s inner Assurance.
This Assurance of God’s we notice while we fulfil God in our future incarnation.”

Last Will & TestamentHe did not simply visit this world.

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world

– Mary Oliver

 

Life Remembered As It Was Lived

Eulogy

He took a big, almost sob relieving breath.

“My Grandpa loved us. He really loved his girls (his dogs). He had a big smile and really big laugh. He told great jokes. He made us laugh. He took us on the best hikes. My Grandpa could take a nap any where any time.

I love him and miss him.”

Our next door neighbor’s “celebration of life” was today. It was a simple affair, just as he would have wanted it, followed by chili, and wiener and marshmallow roast for the whole community. It was a fantastic fire.

Below was his daily walk with his girls.

Clarence lake

A New Year, A Birthday, A Death

Today starts a brand new year, and the Christmas season is semi-officially over; unless you are counting to 12th  night. I love Christmas, with all my senses. I have since I was a child. My fondest memories of childhood were when our whole family was together. My mom, dad and four sisters; the older ones with their children in tow. The last Christmas together in our house there were 25 stockings hung on the mantle. My mom came to our house for Christmas every day  for 25 years as my children were growing. I still  make dinner, just as she did. I might not make Christmas cake and pudding anymore, but I do buy it from a great bakery.

Our Christmas this year was spent at our son’s. We stayed overnight on Christmas Eve and enjoyed out youngest granddaughter’s first really aware Christmas. It really made me think of my mom and our daughter’s first Christmas. I felt a little melancholy missing her, and wishing she had lived longer than her 95 years to see her favourite grandson’s first child. I also missed my dad and my second oldest sister. It seems when you start thinking of one missing person the rest flood in like a tsunami with the cracking of memories.

Death was not far from us this year. My nephew, who happens to be just a year younger that I, lost his wife on December 27th. She was palliative with cancer and went very quickly and unexpectedly. He is not dealing with it very well. Neither of them were prepared in a way that I would want to be. Which brings me to New Years. I find it to be just a superficial line in the sand, a false addendum to the wonderful spiritual season of birth, and rebirth, that is Christmas and Solstice. I am also not one for resolutions but I loved this blog quote from Brain Pickings today.                                                                                     In 1972,  Susan Sontag noted in her diary
“Kindness, kindness, kindness. I want to make a New Year’s prayer, not a resolution. I’m praying for courage.”

My prayer is that I try to make every day a new beginning. As you age and get to grandparent stage, life on the back-end seems so short. I pray for courage to continue this way, because I really want to live until I die. Just like Aurora, our Golden Retriever who turned 4 today. Every moment is just another opportunity to catch a ball. Just like my beloved Echo who died last year at New Years.

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