Friday, December 11, 2009

Ending and Beginning

Every end is a new beginning
Proverb

This week brought the news that my mother has terminal lung cancer. The hope is that she will have six months to a year. It's a strange place to be. I've worked in hospice and I know what it will mean intellectually, but now I'm making this journey emotionally and spiritually. It's been a week of a variety of emotions.

I had taken the week off, because I had a sense that this was coming. I went to a remote area of the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. It seemed appropriate to be in what is considered a high desert valley. And there I found peace to begin this new journey. The one thing that I know is that I have to say yes to this process as passionately as any that I have experienced before. That may seem strange, but what I mean is that to deny that death is part of what life is, is to be a naive child. You must embrace the reality and deal with it as much as you would any part of being alive. So this week I have worked on setting up a routine which involves journaling, yoga, walking with my dog even more, talking with friends, loving and most of all being open with my mother/siblings about how we are doing on this journey that we are now on together.

I'll be returning to work next week. It will be strange to be working with others emotional needs at a time when I must more than at any other time in my life understand my own so as to be able to do said work.

The solstice is approaching and this year I understand more then ever a poem that I read every year.

Winter Solstice

when you startle awake in the dark morning
heart pounding breathing fast
sitting bolt upright staring into
dark whirlpool black hole
feeling its suction

get out of bed
knock at the door of your nearest friend
ask to lie down beside ask to be held

listen while whispered words
turn the hole into deep night sky
stars close together
winter moon rising over white fields
nearby a wren rustling dry leaves
distant owl echoing
two people walking up the road laughing

let your soul laugh
let your heart sigh out
that long held breath so hollow in your stomach
so swollen in your throat

already light is returning pairs of wings
lift softly off your eyelids one by one
each feathered edge clearer between you
and the pearl veil of day

you have nothing to do but live

Jody Aliesan
Grief Sweat

Mediaeval Baebes, "The Holly and the Ivy":

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