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Sunday, December 20, 2015
For Barbara... "& LOVE"
The morning after you died (which I did not yet know until I finished teaching and Rabbi Jon told me) I saw a sign on the drive to the shul that read "& love." It was a beautiful message to share as a gateway into leading meditation for our local kehillah on bitachon, trust in God and hishtadlut, effort. We do everything we humanly can/hishlatdut, knowing that there are some things we can't change/fix/heal. This is when the quality of bitachon is most needed, a kind of trust that allows us to rest, release, surrender to God/Mystery. A few nights before you passed, my wise nineteen-year-old daughter Rosie and I sat meditating on the Chanukah candles, knowing that you would be taken off life support in the next day or so. Watching the lights burn out one by one, I said to her, “My favorite part of witnessing the candles is the moment a flame slowly extinguishes, the wisp of smoke rises, lit by the lights of the remaining candles until it gently vanishes. I imagine death is like this. Surrounded and accompanied by the light of love, the soul quietly releases into no-thingness, leaving those left behind with beautiful memories.” She replied, “I think everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t understand it. I have noticed in my life when bad things happen, something good follows, I learn something important that I couldn’t have known otherwise.” In the moment I agreed with her completely. Then I thought, that could sound callous to someone suffering in the midst of tragedy, “Everything happens for a reason...” What possible reason could there be for you to be hit by a car, in the prime of life while crossing the street to have dinner with your daughter? And yet with bitachon/trust in God/Mystery/the workings of the Universe/Beingness, unexpected blessings DO follow. Just as the light of the candles gathered round the wisp of smoke, lighting the way, love surrounds the one who is dying, love surrounds the mourners. Keyn yehi ratzon, may it be so.
Thank you Barbara for every blessing, for all that you taught me through the years of our friendship, and continue to teach, through this process of mourning and celebration of your life. As I sat by your bedside, watching you being breathed by a respirator, I learned about strength and courage I did not know was in me. Thank you for this too. Holding your hand, feeling surges of energy, life-force passing between us, there were tears, prayers chanted, memories and gratitudes softly spoken, promises to be present for your daughters however and whenever they need a family friend, now and in the days, weeks, years to come. In the hours I spent with you at your bedside, I was surprised again and again to realize a serene smile was upon my face, held in the grace and sacredness of time outside of time, connecting soul to soul beyond your broken body, my broken heart. Now you are pure love unencumbered by physicality, free from pain, dwelling among us in unexpected moments. Thank you dear Barbara for every blessing.
I Heart Macro is on hold again…I just don't have the energy to focus on this right now. (Also I am having difficulty accessing newer photos… perhaps this is meant to be, to allow me to focus on life unfolding just as it is.)
I do hope you will participate in the Gratitude Quilt this year. Please, please send me your patch. I have not been on top of this as I usually am due to life circumstances, including a resurgence of chronic pelvic pain from MS. So far only eighteen offerings have been shared. For me it feels more important than ever to express gratitude, the world has been so dark in so many ways. Won't you help us to spread light, to Shine the Divine through your own words of thanks? (Instructions are at the top of this blog)