This past week I have been helping my in-laws move. Their home has sold and they are wisely downsizing to a smaller home. My wife’s family is letting go of the house where they were a young family. They are doing this with grace and strength. My immediate emotional field is full of themes of ‘letting go’ and ‘saying goodbye’ and ‘moving on’. With every trip I make to the storage unit, I see the street sign for Davidson road. I think on my friend with that last name who recently passed away after a fight with cancer. This weekend many of my friends gather to remember her.
I wish I could see her dancing at her wedding again. In the seventeen years I knew Becky, that was when I remember her happiest and most in love. My wife and I sat and watched her dance on that warm summer evening in Nashville. She lit the ballroom in her wedding gown, making the chandelier look dim and faded in comparison.
I remember Becky wrapped in her golden curls and smiling a big satisfied grin. Her smile that I remember was a content one. A grin that wants for nothing and needs nothing.
I remember her voice and the chills she could send through me with the notes she hit. And her laugh. A laugh that made you feel like you are special, made you feel good. A laugh that made you want to make her laugh again.
These past few years have seen a couple of passings in my world. My mother a year and a half ago, my best friend’s father just a year ago, and Becky a few weeks ago. In all three of these people, their bodies could no longer contain them. Disease and illness had overcome their ability to resist.
There are many words and thoughts of comfort and condolences that surround us when someone we love is no longer among the living.
The lessons of Thich Nhat Hanh are comforting. He teaches looking deeply. He teaches that though the ones we love no longer inhabit a human body, they remain among us . Look deeply at your hads and see you mother and father, their mother and father and all your ancestors. They walk the Earth in your skin. Their blood is yours, their cells are yours.
And for our friends, those we love, looking deeply into our hearts, we can see the places they touched. We can feel the channels that flow differently because our lives collided with such wonderful, brilliant souls. Like Becky’s, though she and I were not close for several years, she touched my life. And my heart is changed because I knew her. And that flows out of me into the world in ways that I cannot track.
But when we consider the loss, my heart settles back to the ground. And I see that Becky and Rick and Kitt are not here. They are not living. I am grateful their bodies are not living. The thoughts and feeling that give us comfort are concerns for the living. The dead no longer suffer such sadness.
As for Becky, I wish I could see her dancing in her wedding dress again, and hear her laugh and sing.