My friend, role-model, and father passed away early this morning a little after midnight. His fight was over and he was ready. He sat up one last time as if to say, “It’s my time. I’m coming home.”
The house seemed empty today when we returned from all the breathless running around one does after a loved one takes their final breath. Even though he hasn’t been home in a few weeks it seemed he had just left the house. Keys, hats, computers, movies, his chair all still in their proper place. It seems this is still his house, his home. But…it’s not. Sure, there are memories and experiences. A lifetime of highs and lows to relive for the rest of our time on this shadow side of eternity but he has moved and left a forwarding address.
I sit in the quietude with his presence still lingering. I think about all of the rough days he’s had over the last 8 months, the noises of the machines which were keeping him alive. After we received the phone call we drove over to the hospice house to say our; “Goodbyes.” The room was so still. No beeping, whirring, pumping, dripping, nurses checking in. It was motionless and the silence was deafening. My mother began to fill the atmosphere with soft cries, and soft words to her best friend and lover of the last 40 years. My brother and I standing in the background, witnesses to a heart affair which is rare in this world. Finally, after a few more kisses from her on his hands and cheek, we left all thankful we’d never see that room again and that he had moved on to his permanent address.
And now, we are left to carry on. To occupy a house which isn’t home without him. To learn to adjust to a new normal we didn’t choose. To loosen our grip on this world, this place, because we know home is waiting for us on the other side.
Shade and Shadow –
Most of the week there have been rain clouds hovering low and blocking the sun from view. The rain has been needed and I am thankful but today is sunny, mostly blue skies and I am thankful for it as well.
When I mow the grass and weed I like to have my phone and ear buds playing music to help block out the noise. I select my preferred playlist and off I go. However, as the sun blazed today it was hard to see the screen to pick the songs. I had to turn my back towards the sun and use myself as a shade to see the phone’s screen.
Our yard isn’t huge but it’s big enough to require two hours worth of mowing plus two hours worth of weeding. Even though it wasn’t especially hot today when I finally finished the weeding portion I sat down under the shade of the large Oak tree in our front yard and enjoyed some water and Gatorade.
The quote in the picture (attached) is that; “We stand in our own shadow and wonder why it’s dark.” and it resonated with me today because of being outside using my shadow and enjoying some shade. Earlier in the week, it was storm clouds which shaded the sun from being seen and today it seemed nothing could block its radiance.
In our lives, there are times of shade and shadow when the light we are looking for is hidden. We make our way the best we can and trust the light will find us again. There are also seasons when the light is bright and easy to follow. For both of these, we give thanks because we wouldn’t appreciate one without the other.
I had a dream the other night about someone very close to me who died not too long ago. It was so vivid and real that, for a moment, after I awoke her presence was palpable. I also saw her on Friday as I traveled home from being out of town. She was walking along side the road, bending over to pick up a piece of trash. It wasn’t her, of course, but the person bore a resemblance and my mind and heart filled in the rest of the details.
I miss my friend. I suppose I always will until, perhaps, I see her again. For now, dreams, passing shadows and doppelgangers will have to do. Our lives are short, a few breaths, a limited number of days and we are gone and a memory of those we leave behind if we are blessed.
One of the most surprising discoveries on the path of wisdom is the realization that our greatest struggle, obstacle to peace and contentment is found within not without.
When we are young we are convinced we could right the world if given the chance and the power but as we mature and grow in truth we realize we cannot oftentimes even right ourselves.
There was a time when I could pinpoint and point out every flaw in my enemy. However, the deeper I journey into the dark places of my shadow self, see my own shallowness, selfishness and sinfulness, the more grace and empathy color the lenses by which I see others.
Hatred, strife, discord, the making of others into our foes is distraction. We have no peace outside of ourselves because we have not found it within.