“Will the circle be unbroken
By and by, lord, by and by…” Ada R. Habershon
It’s part of becoming an elder, isn’t it? Death and dying enters our circle as a constant rather than an occasional visitor. One of my best friends died in January and now the husband of another close friend has begun his next journey.
After exhausting days of vigil and attendance, I whined a bit to my daughter. “Why must I be the rock?”
She let me answer my own question.
This comes with being an elder, too, doesn’t it? Having lived through much and learned by experience I choose to hold space for those who matter most. I want to live and love with and through them – being there.
This isn’t all altruistic. My life has been enriched by these times of profound emotion. Sharing others’ questioning and loss has given me answers to my own dilemmas. It has deepened my spiritual understanding and strengthened my connections to my own future. And it has woven my circle together with invisible bonds that can’t be broken.
Being a rock is a lesson, too. It identifies my cracks and fissures and teaches me self-care. I have taken myself to the breaking point and by necessity learned boundaries. I recognize physical and emotional exhaustion more quickly. Deep down I know when I must step back and restore myself, respecting my own limits.
Do I prefer not to experience loss? Of course. But I understand that the alternative is to skim along as an observer and not a participant. It is to miss the richness and fullness of life.
So, I live in gratitude and when necessary I wear the cloak of the elder. I cherish life within my circle trying not to wonder what is coming tomorrow or the next day.
Blessings on your journey, Dan.