Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Am Not There....

I had an idea for my next blog post....I really did. But by the time I recovered my un-remembered password, my idea had dissappeared into thin air...or wherever ideas go when they vanish like wisps of mist at the edge of a fog bank. Truly, the fog was beautiful on my way home tonight, through the hills of the mid-peninsula, painted pink like cotton candy, pulled apart in thin faint layers against the baby blue of the twilight sky. Quite lovely.

Ah, I remember...I was going to write about a slightly more serious topic - grieving. A much more serious topic actually. This post could also be called "other people's behavior - when its none of your goddamn business".

Sometimes other people's behavior is your business....for instance, when a family member you are concerned about is having a difficult time emotionally, physically, or financially. And even that one is a "maybe". If your adult children have told you to butt out of their business, then its probably none of your business. Unless your aged parent appears to have Alzheimer's disease and is still driving for example. Lets just say this is not a cut and dried issue; judgement is involved concerning each situation.

But, back to grieving. Everyone grieves in his or her own way, in his or her own time, and on his or her own terms. Some people cry; some never do. Some like people around to comfort them; some like to spend time by themselves. Some people like to talk about their grief; others prefer silence. For some, visiting a grave site is important; others feel the spirit of the deceased elsewhere - in a favorite photo, in a favorite memory, in a place special to the deceased.

Personally, I am partial to "place", and by this I do not mean grave site. My mother died when I was 13 and I can count on one hand how often I have been to her grave in the forty-plus years since then. And yet, every chance I get I visit the old neighborhood in Connecticut where I grew up, where my birth mom was a mother to me for 13 years. My 17 year old son died ten years ago; we scattered his ashes in a place he loved, the place where he grew up, in the peninsula hills. Its a long trek to get there but I go out there when I can. I go out there not because his ashes were scattered there, but because this is the place where we lived, this is the place that he loved, this place is where I remember my son best.

What is that poem? Do not grieve for me, I am not there.....

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush.
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
-- Mary Elizabeth Frye

I think my son would understand.

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