By not booking an immediate flight home when Gen died, I have created my own vacuum here in Mexico. I love it that you are all there for me when I need to call. Just a familiar voice now and then fills that lonely spot a bit.
And solitude is the purpose of this retreat – to rest, meditate, and contemplate. Usually, though, I am examining death as part of a more general eventuality. Now, once again, those empty places have a focus. There is someone missing.
Gen has never been here with me. By rights I shouldn’t miss her until I get home. Except that she was the responsive one. If I shared a family photo on Facebook, she noticed. She admired my sister’s art work, read my blogs, and commented through emails, etc. So she was with me no matter where I traveled.
And I have felt her presence. She was the one who soothed me when I woke the morning after her passing. Sometimes in the last few days she has answered my ridiculous questions more calmly than she would ever have done in person.
I’m examining my grief in the context of my own thoughts on death. I can’t be sorry for her. Although she loved life and lived it heartily, she saw death as only a doorway. And, although I’m sure she wanted to live, I trust those who were with her to have witnessed her peace in the process of leaving. I don’t for a moment believe that she is yearning for the life she left here.
So my grief is personal. It is the gaping hole she left. It is wondering who can possibly fill the space in my days that she has vacated. She will always be in my heart, but who will answer me when I ask the myriads of questions that we bounced back and forth?* Who will take her place at the holiday gatherings where she threw in the tidbits of knowledge and history as well as raising the thought-provoking subjects.
Who will begin the rollicking laughter when it all becomes too much? I can see her rosy cheeks and her eyes squinting with mirth.
My grief also carries some fear. Death is front and center. As I walk the beach thinking of her and watching for her whales, I struggle with my own mortality. Am I ready? Will I make the peaceful choice when faced with final decisions? Will I even have choices? Am I making my choices now without knowing it? Will my beliefs stand with me?
It is the roller coaster of sadness, fear, and loneliness that is grief. It is the momentary emptiness that comes and goes.
Thanks for being there when I call.
*I doubt that calm voice in my head would engage in an in depth discussion. She would expect me to have my own answers.