I've begun to wonder how smart it was to lie down on my mother's grave. It was absolutely compelling, so I did, but it's dawning on me now why my sister was so uncomfortable with it.
The peace I felt lying there was incredible. The look on my face was incredible. I experienced a calm so deep, even my face looked peaceful. This is highly unusual for me. But pretty much since the second I returned to DC, I have known no peace.
I came home in a state of grace, enveloped by love as a friend aptly described it. I thought I could take that grace into the holiday season and beyond, but no. I was unable even to ape the calm face, let alone the feeling of calm I had experienced. Trying to shape my facial expression to match the way I looked in the picture was my attempt at reverse engineering. I failed completely and now I can't remember the feeling itself, only the memory of the feeling.
The thing is, while alive I'm not supposed to always be calm or peaceful. That's not what life is. Life is dynamic, shit happens, there are ups and downs. Life is full of the unexpected. At least, my life has been. There are moments of peace, of course, but until death itself, only moments. The gift I was given at my mother's grave was a visceral understanding that just as she did, I am definitely going to have to die at some point. That was a great gift. I kind of knew it anyway, and have not feared death at all as I've grown older - just the stuff that happens before death. But I never got it in my body as I did during that beautiful moment on her grave. It's a big thing to realize at a physical level.
Though I've always been shy and reticent to engage in life's dramas, the truth is, my life has been extremely dramatic. Mine is not the path of peace or at least it hasn't been till now. What's that saying? A ship is safe in the harbor, but that is not what ships were meant to do.
I've not been moored at the harbor for a few days. I have been wined and dined, had dinners galore. I've made cake after cake. Every day there's a present in my mailbox from someone, literally every day. I even received a beautiful love letter. And it's not even my actual birthday yet. I expect the celebrations to be ongoing for awhile yet.
The holiday season, in the wake of putting the stone on my mother's grave, was exceedingly quiet. This birthday, however, is all about gatherings, celebrations, museum visits, good food, witty repartee and very nice red wine. It is everything a birthday could ever be.
Life is good and I am grateful. Shalom (if possible), but in any case L'chaim!