Thursday, March 8, 2012


I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”
“Gone where?”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming, and there are other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!” And that is dying.

Henry Van Dyke

The call came.

The vigil has ended.

She has gone on ahead to what most of us can only imagine.

And she is happy.

There are not many words that I can squeeze out around the lump in my I will need to borrow from the words of others until I can find my own.

July 8, 1916 - March 8, 2012

...I write these words to name myself - to name each of us -
worthy of going home, worthy of having our longing met,
worthy of awakening in the arms of the Beloved.
~Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Dance

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Letting Go

"Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you."
~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

There is a lot going on right now.

It is all swirling and whirling around inside and outside of me.

Sometimes the physical sensation of this weighty presence produces the need for me to hang on to something solid.

Caffeine compounds this sensation.

I need to drink less caffeine.

For the purposes of brevity, I will temporarily set aside all that has happened since November (although that is part of the swirling and whirling) and focus on the very large weight of what is now happening in my extended family.

My Grandma, our family's beautiful matriarch, is completing her journey here on earth.

This has been a long time coming for her. She has been "ready" for a while...Grandpa went on ahead over 13 years ago...and regular living is hard when you're in your 90's. Though I know this is her body's natural progression and her soul's ultimate desire, it's hard to let go. And it's hard to be eloquent when half of my own soul is hunkering down in rural Iowa with my mom while she arranges hospice care with her brothers and tries to tell Grandma that it's okay to let go...that we'll all be okay.

However, I smiled through my tears last night as I bathed my children. They are a physical part of her. And they are part of the legacy that she and the rest of my grandparents have passed down. A legacy for which I am eternally grateful. Family. Faith. Integrity. Strength. Honor. Humor. Love. Acceptance. And not taking yourself too seriously. Rather than write an early eulogy, I'll simply thank her and the rest of my ancestors for producing a family that respects and deeply cares for each other and all the others who share this journey. I will strive with all my power to pass this legacy on to my own children as well.

I love you, Grandma. Because of you, we'll all be okay.