Me, for one. I have been absent from blogging and sending out Centering Tools email newsletters throughout the holiday season.
The reason why I’ve been so absent involves the final, precipitous and untimely absence of my beloved oldest child Anna, who died December 26 at 37 from still-unknown causes after a heartbreaking and rapid downhill struggle from complicated, multiple diseases. She left three children aged 5-7 and her endlessly loving, heartbroken family.
My Beloved Daughter’s Passing . . .and Me
She was an enormously gifted, compassionate and insightful young woman – an acclaimed writer and singer, and a most creative spirit. She was one of the most unjudgmental and loyal people I’ve ever known.
Other than my work, family, travel and hiking I haven’t engaged in “extracurricular activity” despite being endlessly interested in a number of possibilities since my twenties until this fall, when I accepted the Rochester Oratorio Society’s community invitation to participate in singing in the performance I ended up instead attending this evening of Lawrence Siegel’s Kaddish, and heard:
How Broken Hearts Regenerate
“Nothing is as whole as a heart which has been broken.
All time is made up of healing of the world.
Return to your ships which are your broken bodies; return to your ships, which will be rebuilt.”
The theme of Kaddish celebrates survival through the most horrific and decimating loss as it occurred in World War II for European Jewish victims of the Holocaust, which included some of my relatives. Loss creates absent space, relationship, and being – especially unnatural/untimely loss.
The Truth About Survival
I can relate – and who among us, as we live our astoundingly unfolding lives in a number of immensely challenging ways, doesn’t? How do we survive absence of love and the loss, the pain it brings?
When Anna was 12 in 1989 her father also died suddenly of causes unknown, that subsequently over several months revealed coronary artery disease precipitating a massive heart attack. The heart breaks and we die…so how is it that when we experience key, tragic losses in our lives and our hearts absolutely split and break open, like Humpty Dumpty, with the pieces never put back together the way they were, that we manage to survive?
Life Exists Only in Its Terms
‘Galadriel in Lord of the Rings says “everywhere…on the earth…love and loss…are…mingled…”. This fact is probably both the most deliberately ignored and predictable center of our life and experience.
How is it that we ignorantly find our way to survive absence? Life waits for no one, no thing – it continues to rush along in all its minutiae, as a member of my monthly women’s self-healing and spirituality group said last week, uncaring about absence and pain and loss.
What We Must Acknowledge – Even Honor
We are taught to ignore and fear more than anything what truly stops our world and breaks our heart. We’re meant, though, to honor this absence as we honor nothing else, along with allowing life to continue to unfold and grab and carry us, in all its unfolding moments, along with it.
I left the performance of Kaddish this evening wiping away the tears which kept rolling down my cheeks with a strange sense of hope that I’m still not moved to make any kind of sense out of. I do think, though, that the real meaning of acceptance as the final titled stage of grief is simply coming to accept without agenda, rationalization, excuse or other predetermined conditioning what’s real . . . and simply, graciously acknowledge what’s true.
The Key to Transmutation
The door opened tonight after all these terrible weeks for me to write once again and open my bursting, broken heart to share with you all as an offering, as a “deep dive” into what life and survival really means through facing the challenge of inevitable loss.
Nobody gets out of here alive, as the saying goes. Really getting the truth of that is meant to sharpen our awareness and development to better live our lives from an authentic, present core, and in alignment with our own true rhythms.
We become stronger, clearer, and more balanced, able to partner in the present and with each other, and create from a higher plane of consciousness. How the world needs these “presences” . . . and how much we need to be who and what we really are, as we admit how and what this world really is.