Holding a place for you in my heart
It has been a while since I felt loss in every cell in my body. I had forgotten how heavy it feels. And it is always nearby. Just beneath the surface, waiting to burst out like septic flesh. A smell, a song, a place, a memory plunges me quickly and uncontrollably into a sad place.
I have been very quiet recently. There has been little inspiration to write. And on some days to talk. I am making my way though grief since my fathers death two weeks ago. It has had me thinking about this experience of loss. Whether we lose someone in our lives to cancer or a bad divorce, the weight of the grief is the same. And sometimes the latter is worse when there someone you loved so dearly becomes your number one enemy. I am trying to recall everything I understand about how to get through this into the light on the other side.
I understand the best way out of the pain is through it. So for now I attempt to confront it head on. I also remember learning that our suffering comes from the illusion of permanence. That everything is impermanent and change is the rule more than the exception. I respect and remember these things but somehow it doesn’t lift the sadness.
Our angelic funeral celebrant shared a saying with us, “They say we die twice. Once when our physical body takes its last breath. The second time, when we are forgotten”. I read so much information about leaving a legacy but this time, somehow this moment made its impression on me more than any other time. How many people will be remembering me when I die?
Does it take my dad losing his life to inspire me to live my best life? A life that keeps me in people’s minds. One of my favourite bloggers , Alex Lickerman says ‘enjoy what there is to enjoy, and surrender it when it’s over’. Great advice Alex. Any advice on the ‘how to’ part of that?
Wanting is different from having. Wanting is in the future. It is based on an idea of what might make us happy in five minutes, tomorrow, next week. But having is here, now. Most of us don’t let ourselves enjoy what’s in front of us, consequently we’re always wanting more. When you don’t let yourself enjoy what you already have, you are always hungry, always searching, always restless. This is the surrendering I think he is speaking about. Not wanting things to be different but appreciating and valuing the blessings I have in my life now, today.
Even if it something ends sooner than you expected it to and you are broken hearted (or broken fantasied as Dr John Demartini describes it), honour and cherish it for what it did bring you. We don’t argue a movie isn’t enjoyable because it ends. We continue to enjoy it despite it being over.
And that is what I am trying to do. That is, keeping him alive by remembering the wonderful times. And having a giggle at the thought of his cantankerous moments. Remembering how to enjoy the simple things in life like he showed me. The pleasure of a clear night, the joy of watching your team win, the beauty of the African bush, the thrill of growing ones own vegetables, the gift of silence, the peacefulness of watching the ocean.
And one of the best ways I know to honour and celebrate my father’s life is by living mine to the fullest and impacting positively on as many people as I can. He gave me life so what better way to honour him than to make sure I leave a good impression.
Regardless of the loss we experience, I imagine we can all manage to comply with Tracy Chapman’s request from her song The Promise: Please hold, a space, for me, in your heart.
I am holding it. It is permanently taken. It belongs to noone else.