Friday, February 4, 2011

Here today, but ...

The truest truths all involve paradox, yes? I say yes, at least in my experience. For instance, life: the life force, the survival instinct. Life force is so tenacious, yet so tenuous. We could hang in till age 100, or drop tomorrow, you never know.

I'm thinking about the venerable dog Shadow, one of the house dogs on Tennessee Avenue. Oh man, that dog is OLD. It takes her several minutes in the morning to "unwind" - her hips and spine are so crippled by arthritis. She's blind mostly, and deaf, but the windhorse within her burns so brightly. When it's time for dinner, in spite of her arthritis and other aches and pains, she starts jumping up and down. She loves her dinner. We joke that Shadow might outlive us all; it wouldn't surprise me.

Also thinking this morning about a friend whose brother died yesterday. He had a massive stroke, went down into a coma for a couple of days. When they removed the life support machines, the man died soon after. Survival after a massive stroke is not always possible, or even desireable.

Death is not a bad thing. It's part of the cycle, it's just what is. There is almost always a sense of relief in the room when someone who has been suffering passes through the veil. I don't fear death, I really don't. However, when someone we love dies, for those of us still standing, that truth is inconceivable, almost unbearable.

I guess the paradoxical truth I'm looking at this morning is the way in which death is inevitable and yet its timing is a complete mystery. When we go is out of our control, unknowable.

My heart is heavy for my friend this morning. His brother's death reminds me to live well right now - today - this very second. Everything could change tomorrow, or in five minutes, you never know. Carpe diem, y'all. Seriously!

Fog is nature's version of the photoshop effect called "diffuse glow."


linda said...

Lovely post Reya. Death is always worse for those left behind.

Reminds me to spend each and everyday letting those I love know how important they are in my life; so hopefully, as I loose those important to me, I will have fewer regrets about what I could have said or done while I had the chance.

In the meantime carpe diem indeed!

Much love and a big virtual hug!

ellen abbott said...

No I don't fear death either. and the sadness of death is only for those still living. I think the freed spirit is happy to be free whether the death follows a long illness or is sudden as in the case of your friend's brother. I try very much to live just one day at a time or rather to be present in the moment.

Jo said...

Yes, Reya...I love that phrase, "carpe diem." I always want to add a thousand exclamation points after it.

SIEZE the day! Don't watch it, or use it, or appreciate it, or wonder at it...SIEZE it, damn it! It's a slippery thing.

Rant over. I feel better. Thank you for your (always) wisdom filled thoughts. It helps so much.

As Linda said,
Much love and a big virtual hug!

Vicki said...

Love and a big ol' hug from me too!

The Bug said...

Being left behind does really suck - but on the other hand being still alive has certain requirements - and one of them is to LIVE. No guilt required. (Kind of talking to myself here - 6 years after my mom's death I still have a few hangups).

California Girl said...

I like what you say> It's comforting and it's kind. Very hard to get older and realize I'm now closer to the end than the beginning.

The life force you describe; I see it in my old dog too. Her breathing is labored and her lungs have enlarged; she carefully fold her legs beneath her to sit as it is obviously painful. She loves meal time & treats. She'll do a little dance. And still, she trudges up the stairs and down the stairs, hopping down with her back legs which may be too painful to move separately. She has cataracts, she's deaf as a post. She really shouldn't still be here but she's determined to stay. And so she does.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Nice post Reya. It brings tears to my eyes. I'm sorry for your & your friend's loss. It is usually hard for those left here on the earth.

Yesterday the G-man read where the oldest person in the world died at 114; now the next oldest person (also 114) moves into that position. She lives in Monroe, GA. I'm not sure I can even imagine living to 90 or 100 much less 114. I wonder about the quality of life.

We could go now or tomorrow or at 114. Do you think we'll still be blogging then?

Reya Mellicker said...

Cheryl - ha! I wonder if we should hope we will be blogging still or hope we WON'T be ... who knows?

Debra, long live your old dog!!

Ms. Bug, who among us who has lost a family member DOESN'T still have hang ups? I still grieve for my parents and sister, all of whom died decades ago.

Linda thanks and LOVE seeing you here.

steven said...

reay i'm reminded of my impermanence every day by a voice in my head that describes the quality with which i wish to live my life. bring love into the world. bring as much goodness to this place as is possible. be kind to yourself. i wish that death was possible without suffering for those who are still working through this place. but i know that that is part of their work and brings a painful sort of wealth to their knowing of this place. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Indeed a painful wealth!

Dan Gurney said...

steven said it really well. All I would add is that it's very do-able to bring awareness of death into our everyday consciousness, and that doing this work is one of the very best ways to increase the quality and satisfaction of each moment and of life, generally.

Why wait for a cancer diagnosis to live life fully? If you're lucky enough to be healthy now, the healthiest thing you could do is to cultivate a moment-by-moment awareness of death. And we get along better with other people when we recall we're all in this together. Nobody gets a pass.

In regard to seizing the day, I'd suggest working simply to seize a moment. Plenty challenging.

Janelle said...

poignant as weird...just wrote a post headed 'but' and i think i even wrote i am here BUT...synched or what, eh? x j

Val said...

carpe diem definitely - funny how we always need to be reminded. So many good people slipping thru the portal these days, hold your ground now.

Pauline said...

I don't look forward to my own change form day simply because my children and grandchildren will miss me and be sad. I've lost loved ones, though, and I know the intense pain and missing fades with time. I've come close to death through illness twice myself and both times I've been comforted (and excited) by the beauty I've glimpsed. I think the best we can do for those whose loss is new and raw is to be there to listen to their grief, and hold them when it's hardest to let go.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes Pauline, yes!

Janelle when I'm on a wavelength with you, all is well.

Seize the moment, eh? What a good idea!

Barbara Martin said...

I believe each of us knows when our time is up. It's being sensitive enough to be aware. Before incarnating in a new life we are aware of what challenges we face and what our departure time is. It is the love of life and faith that keeps us to our route, our destiny, our mingling with others on adjoining journeys.