19 October 2010

I love you or I do not live at all.

I've been in the hospital with my grandfather, and I'm learning something new. Life and Death are so close together -- like twins -- that in a moment death might come and in a moment life might return. I'm finding it frustrating, almost like teasing, but I'm sensing that it is just one of those natural elements of life, like waves or cycles or spirals causing this flux of death and rebirth on many levels.

I've been with three people when they've died, including my 35 year old cousin who died suddenly and my Great Aunt who chose to die on her 100th birthday. There's always a bit of trauma, and I've spent these past years surviving by trying not to feel the emotions so that I wouldn't get caught up in the drama. Realistically, I think I've also numbed myself in other potentially traumatic situations as well. My heart has been protected, but it's so hard for me to face the realities life that really deserve anger and sadness.

Lately, I've also been wondering if I'm really missing out, and I've been creating space in my daily interactions for my true anger and sadness, space for vulnerability.

However, this flux between life and death has me on edge.  I think it's because I don't feel ready for death.  I don't like the idea of my Grandfather dying. I don't want him to die. But, that's not healthy at all. I must learn to let-go. It's a big lesson and perhaps a great one for me because I'm a virgo and like control and safety. Death just doesn't seem safe at all.  Either a big adventure like Peter Pan says or a nothingness, the mystery of death scares me. I was scared so much yesterday I called out to what seemed like everyone in my phone book in a moment of desperation to ask for prayers and such.

And this liminal place in between life and death, where my Papa is now, is so tense. I must trust. I must believe. I must trust in the cycles that bring about rebirth again and again and again. And, I believe in the power of relationships and remembrance. And, I must allow myself to feel within this aura of trust.

Talk about emotions has led me to poetry again, to William Carlos Williams recently and his line about loving or not living at all, and now to Jorge Luis Borges and  his "Instantes." Thanks to Pablo for introducing me to this lovely poem.

If I were able to live my life anew,

In the next I would try to commit more errors.
I would not try to be so perfect, I would relax more.
I would be more foolish than I've been,
In fact, I would take few things seriously.

I would be less hygienic.
I would run more risks,
take more vacations,
contemplate more sunsets,
climb more mountains, swim more rivers.
I would go to more places where I've never been,
I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans,
I would have more real problems and less imaginary ones.

I was one of those people that lived sensibly
and prolifically each minute of his life;
Of course I had moments of happiness.
If I could go back I would try
to have only good moments.

Because if you didn't know, of that is life made:
only of moments; Don't lose the now.

I was one of those that never
went anywhere without a thermometer,
a hot-water bottle,
an umbrella, and a parachute;
If I could live again, I would travel lighter.

If I could live again,
I would begin to walk barefoot from the beginning of spring
and I would continue barefoot until autumn ends.
I would take more cart rides,
contemplate more dawns,
and play with more children,
If I had another life ahead of me.

But already you see, I am 85,
and I know that I am dying.


John Hsiao said...

It is holding things at variances, the finest harmony of incompatible wholes that makes life become "death, failure, and absurdity," which leads to "renewal, joy, and beauty" and everything comes in accordance in unity.

““Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things - with resignations, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope.”

Keep inspiring and reflecting and always praxis, always praxis.

C said...


It’s been a while. I am sorry to read this note about your grandfather. The very essence of our grandparents’ existence brings us closer to the wise love and carefree spirit we sometimes can find with age. It also brings us closer to our mortality - our union to the cycles of mother earth becomes much more tangible.

Death is powerful, and when we are witnesses of it, our heart can become impair of emotions as to protect itself from the trauma an ending can bring to our lives. As we see life drift away in others, fear is one of our natural reactions – fear is so natural and yet so unpopular. But what is this fear of death if not love of life – life a gift of beauty we borrowed from God and our task is to live happy, grateful, and humble.

It is an immense and wonderful task to come to terms with our fear so we can experience with full realization the magic of life. Moments like these are hard because we see death as uncertainty even though it is one of the only two certainties of life. It is true we cannot control death nor do we know what to expect in the thereafter, yet we can overcome its fear by recognizing that life (it’s partner in the cycle of creation and existence) is so wonderful that the mystery of death is a mystery because we cannot yet imagine or begin to comprehend in this earthly realm the heavenly beauty that awaits us.

But it is hard… and I am deeply sorry you are passing through this. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your loved ones, always.

Stephanie said...

Hi, I stumbled upon your blog today and was immediately captivated by this post. I have lost my mother, best friend, all four of my grandparents and many others at a relatively early age. I am always frustrated that no matter how many you have lost, it doesn't get any "easier" nor does it provide the blueprints to help anyone you love through such pain. But I have always found comfort in finding that I am not alone and that thousands before me have written inspiration that proves brighter days are ahead.
Thanks for the post.

Bro Lo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bro Lo said...

Hi, CR! I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather. That's really sad news. May God give you peace and comfort.

cristyroses said...


thank you.

c friend,

who are you?