Yes, they’re dead and for some reason we are all shocked. Feels like a celebrity melt-down, but the real shocker for me is our attachment to these people. Facebook is filled with lamentation and curses for 2016. 2016 is not the problem though … if you are still alive, you are going to be surrounded by both death and new life. Some call it samsara … because both things cause suffering.
I remember a year when my sister died, my aunt died , and then my grandfather. I almost got fired from my job because I was taking so much bereavement leave. By the end I had to take in the actual notices from the paper to prove that these people really died and I wasn’t just goofing off. This in spite of the fact that the employer actually liked me and vouched for me to HR. That was a truly crappy year. That same year two of my cousins had babies … Was the year cursed? Not likely.
I have a whole cohort of friends and acquaintances who grew up in a time of magnificent possibilites. People were landing on the moon, microwaves and colored tv’s became commonplace — even for those of us who were not especially affluent — cars, trains, planes all became faster and shinier, jobs were so plentiful we could pick and choose, and somewhere in that mindset we thought we’d never get old like our parents, that we wouldn’t suffer. We wouldn’t suffer losses or the physical indignities of old age. The loss of the celebrities in the last year may have shocked us out of that … and the truth of the matter is that if you live long enough you will see lots of people and things pass away … so maybe wishing the passing of a year quickly is not a very bright thing. My grandfather would have said we were wishing our lives away.
Some of you might think I’m being morbid. Not true. If I can understand deep in my being that things come and go I can give up clinging and accept the ebb and flow of this amazing life I have. I can watch the birds (which are absolutely plentiful here this morning) eating the crabapples in my tree and not want to chain their little feet to the branches. I can let you go if you need to leave or hold you close if you need that too. We can look at things realistically. This world is not attacking us. It’s letting us become.
A very dear friend died this past year. She lived to a very ripe old age and she had ripened in the best way (from my vantage point at least ..) and she was ready to go. It caused a lot of suffering for the friends who could not let her go. There are times when I still miss her. We had a great number of things in common — loved the same books, science, teachers, etc., but her ability to move on with grace is what I will remember when it is my own time to go, I hope. That and her greates gift to me, which was to actually see me, really see me, (warts and wonders both) and to support that.
Peculiar blog? Sometimes it’s not just about pots. And, in the words of the very famous William Shatner — “Live life like you’re going to die, because you’re going to …”
Hope you’re having a great day, and enjoy what’s left of 2016!
Here you go, one of favorite songs (especially if I’m feeling down … ha, ha.).