Monday, September 21, 2015

Letting Go of the Ground We Stand On

Allyson said that mom introduced her to Janie tonight.  Mom has been in Hospice since May and has, as they used to say on the farm, "taken to her bed," since July.  There is no one that we can see in her room, but she is talking and visiting away in there, all night long, most nights.

There have been days, many of them, where it seems that she is passing right on throught those pearly gates.  But then the next day, just like the "Energizer Bunny," she pops back up with a healthy appetite and has two eggs with a couple of pieces of bacon, some toast and a quarter of a cantelope.  Later that evening, it's breaded shrimp with coctail sauce. 

She always was a good cook and has a fine appreciation for American cuisine, including ice cream, which is how she gets her meds down to ease her pain and make life a little easier for her Hospice caregivers, the ones who do their share of the heavy lifting.  Such a blessing.  One among many. with Allyson leading the stellum, lighting the way for us all.

It's not easy to die sometimes.  Just like there are difficult births, that stand out in contrast to the easy ones, there are also difficult deaths.  How does one let go of this dear old friend, the body?  I don't know.  I wish I did.  Because, if so, I might be able to help mom to say bye for now.  But I do feel that there is an elegance, and certainly an astrological significance, to the timing of our deaths, just like there is a significance to the timing of our births.  So, I give it all over to Divine Arrangement, knowing that there it rests in the best possible hands.

In the meanwhile, we the living do what must be done.  We select caskets, arrange for headstones, yesterday we bought the mortuary plot, today we crafted the obituary for the home town paper.   We also ate watermelon.  A little sweet with the sad.

I'll leave you with this poem, by Ranier Maria Rilke.  It is one of my favorites and pretty much sums it up for me.  I hope that it speaks to you as dearly as it speaks to me.

The Swan

This clumsy living that moves,
lumbering, as if in ropes,
through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.
And to die,
which is a letting go of the ground we stand on and cling to everyday,
is like the swan
when he nervously lets himself down into the water
which receives him gayly,
and which flows under and after him
wave after wave.
While the swan,
unmoving and marvelously calm
is pleased to be carried,
each moment more fully grown,
more like a king,
farther and farther on.

© Josephine Laing, 2015

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