January 24, 2010

Day 1 Michael Land- Life and Death

***Written by Michael***

It is auspicious that today, the first day I am writing Bernice's blog entry, what is most alive for me, is death.

Today, after rehearsal, Bernice and a friend went to Dominion Cafe, and I went to Oso. As I was climbing the stairs I heard my name called from up the road. It was Dorthy, Bernice's mom.  Before I was halfway to meet her I could see her crying. She held out her arms and told me, 'I need someone to hold me. My Uncle Len died.'

Uncle Len was like a second father to Dorothy. When she was two his mother died and he moved in with Dorothy's family. In Oso, I watched tears stream down her face while she was telling me about the doll house she got for her birthday, each tiny roofing shake hand painted by her father and Uncle Len.

He died Wednesday night in England. They didn't find her number til Sunday morning. Len and his wife had been moved to a home by social services on Christmas day, fearing they were unable to take care of themselves. Len died a month later, in his sleep. Dorthy's phone number, and many of their things still in their apartment.


But even before the phone call, Dorothy felt him, Thursday in Gyro park. On a park bench, Alanah, her son's dog, pressed herself against Dorthy while she cried for two hours, thinking about her uncle. If she doesn't make the funeral, she knows she had her good-bye.

I don't know what happens when we die. -- I leave all possibilities open, and the impossible. -- But I know what it's like to be alive, and to feel the pain of loss. I sat with Dorothy to hold her when she needed holding, and hear her while she felt the pain of losing someone she loved. I believe this is how we make it through the most difficult times, by holding each other, and being witnessed, witnessing ourselves in the depth of our pain, where love lives, vulnerable, and open. 

There is some kiss we want.
There is some kiss we want.
There is some kiss we want,
With our whole lives.
(Rumi's words)

I trust that to kiss raw experience, the depth of joy, and the depth of pain, sweetness comes, ideas melt, the bitter tea of loss is soothed with the honey of acceptance, and the beauty of life is celebrated. I saw honey in the tears in Dorothy's eyes. And as they splashed to the table I heard them say, ‘We love you Uncle Len.’

As we left Oso, kindly unmolested by the closing staff cleaning around us, Bernice appeared with our friend, having come from a comisseration of anther kind of pain. Now I am looking for honey. I know I'm involved in this one. But I'll save that for tomorrow. Today is about death. Tomorrow, life...

“How do you say good-bye when you have lost a love one?“ is the question in 12 days journal #287

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if I ever really DO say good-bye. I feel like I carry that person with me. It's like a relationship that changes...you can't pick up the phone and call the person for a chat, or meet for coffee, or any of the ways we relate in the physical realm, but I don't think that makes them completely "gone." Someone once told me, "We are the sum total of every other human being we have ever met, to some degree or another." In many ways, I agree with this. To some degree, we integrate others and our experiences with them into ourselves and they become a part of us. I don't think they can take those parts back, ergo, they are always with us.