Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dreams and Prayers

On September 14th it will have been 5 years since Carolyn's sister Emily died.

I said it seems like yesterday, she said it feels ancient. The weight of grief grows greater for her, heavier, deeper and more profound with the passage of time. But, still, for her the event is becoming an historical fact. She is moving through time with her grief.

I am stuck. The deathbed, the nights waking to Emily's moans and crying, the family battles, the paraphernalia of hospice, the letting go of hope - each of these arising in my memory like pinpricks in a too-full heart. Petting her dead hand, stroking her frozen withered face, gasping at her closet, heartlessly and hurriedly emptied by a husband none of us understood.

I dreamed about him last night. I was in a changing room, a communal one like at Loehman's, with many other women, and we were all dressing and undressing as normal. He came in with an armload of clothes. He was nattering on about the garments, which were all women's clothes. He started trying them on, insisting that green was his color. I tried to hustle him out, and then hustle him into a corner alcove in the room, thinking he was disturbing the other women by his presence. They said, "oh no, it's alright, we don't mind," their affect and gestures implying he wasn't enough of a man to intrude on their sense of modesty.

May I grow in compassion, to help Carolyn bear the weight of her grief, to loose the tightness in my throat and speak with kindness of he who could not wait for her to die, and to forgive myself.

I turn aside for a moment, I step away from my heart, I long for a quiet, peaceful death, I wish the same for those I love.

Away from the gasping, the crying, the rigor, the resistance of a death that is not quiet or peaceful, I can see that I am still holding it all so close, that I have not let time slip between those events and the present. No river of moments in which I am present flows between those events and this moment. The grief is light, it is maniacal, it is my present. It is my present, my gift, my loss. I must sink deep, through five years of depth, the same as submergence of ashes in a lake. If I follow, it will take me where I need to go. It has been waiting for me to be ready. To release. To let go.

Breathe. Breathe into the spaces between the tears, between the moments of doubt, the years of waiting. This will not be something that happens to me, not a passive occurrence. I must press myself forward. Stop waiting. Go. Now. Into those depths where my grief waits.

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