Tag Archives: Life

A little more on death and mourning

I am still functioning as a mother and my son continues to grow and blossom. I will get back to writing more about him and my mothering.

However, a friend of mine lost her husband to cancer a week ago. In the Jewish tradition, spouses, siblings and parents sit Siv’ah, a week of their community paying respects and supporting the family. Today was the last day of the Shiv’ah, and I was finally able to get out (we have had more than a week of a nasty stomach bug here at my home) and spend some time with her.

In 11 months she lost her husband.

And we shared some of what it means to love and loose someone, whether it is expected or unexpected. What you feel, what you experience.

I can still hardly get my head around my mothers death, it also seems so unreal that my friend is now mourning her husband. It really really just boggles my mind.

And yet, from our conversation, the huge importance of being able to live your life in a true way, expressing yourself freely – not living up to the expectations of others. Knowing who you are and being true to that. These are the things that seem to matter when you consider no longer being alive. And being grateful for what you do have.

Make good use of your life. Celebrate your life.

And yet, a part of me knows that it is useless to write these words. I think people already know this and written words aren’t going to make it new, or they don’t know it, and written words won’t make a difference. The intensity and passion with which you live your life is important. Your life is unique, special and valuable. Do not waste it. I had no honest grasp of this until my mother died.

I was speaking with my friend about my poor frustration tolerance and loosing my temper at things like something falling off the roof of the car when I have balanced it there while I put my son in his carseat. It is just too much for me to handle sometimes. My friend was surprised that I would be so frustrated. I guess it seemed out of sink with an attitude of living life with passion and being grateful for things that comfort me.

And yet I feel both. I do not have the energy to deal with small mishaps. I need things to go according to plan right now. I do not have the emotional reserves to deal with the unexpected. And at the same time I feel an urge to live my life fully and honestly.

To close off today on the rather disjointed entry, I am thinking of finding a way to express my mourning and grieving in a way that makes it real for me. I am still searching for the reality in what has happened and feel I need to connect. I am thinking of covering my hair for a period of time, as a way to honour my memory of my mother and not let her death be swallowed up in the continuity of life just yet. I’ll get there. In the Jewish tradition, children mourn their parents for a full year. I think there is wisdom in that.

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Wise words

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”
Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Nation

I find more and more personal meaning in such words. I am getting it. Death is inevitable and the denial of it ever touching our lives is pure fallacy. Live your life as if today were your last, while planning to live forever. We all are going to die somehow, somewhere. Be proud of the life you have lived.

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