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.