Tag Archives: mourning

Please Let There Be a Reason

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Bottomless grief.
Falling further than I thought possible.
Endless tears,
crying over any little thing.
Then the numbness,
the emptiness,
a state of motionless,
all-consuming despair.
Could this experience
be carving into me
greater depth,
a more profound understanding
of the suffering of the world?
Please let there be some reason for this.

Mourning Tree

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I will miss you Kalyanamitta

kalyanamitta tree

When I walked I looked for you
and you were always there.
Towering above the petty concerns of the world,
roots deep in the earth
majestic, strong, old, wise,
you provided solace when the world’s chaos
threatened to engulf me.
I wrapped my arms around you, dear friend,
although you were so grand I could only hold
a fraction of your splendor
and I soaked in your stability, your peace,
your way of being here quietly
with a solid presence
and a most graceful air.
How many seasons did you weather
before they took you down,
and what were your last thoughts
as the saws approached you?
You, in your wisdom, probably
breathed and flowed into your next form
uncomplainingly, without fear.
Might I follow your path of peaceful dissolution,
holding on to nothing of this changing life
but welcoming the impermanence
as I welcome my next inhalation.
I will honor your life dear friend,
I will not forget you, my Kalyanamitta.

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I was shocked to discover this evening that my favorite tree had been taken down some time ago.  Already grass seedlings were sprouting up in the place where the tree once stood.  They had done a good job at removing the stump…one could almost say that the tree was never there to begin with.  But I know better. I always made it a point to visit the tree and give it a hug when I was out on walks; by its size I’m guessing it was about 200 years old and its magnificence inspired me.  I named it Kalyanamitta after the Buddhist notion of a spiritual friend, because the tree embodied all the qualities I would seek in such a friend—stability, presence, peacefulness, longevity, wisdom, ageless beauty. To see the empty spot where the tree once stood left me speechless. I walked over to the empty place, crouched down, and wondered why my dear friend was gone.  The picture above was taken May 4 of this year…all of that beautiful green growth led me to believe that it was a perfectly healthy tree.  Now I can only trust that perhaps the tree was sick or suffering in some way and that it was an act of compassion to take it down. But I grieve. I’m mourning my Kalyanamitta.

NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 30: Backwards Farewell

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We cried until our eyes were red
and his fur was spotted wet with our tears
His eyes were open
but he was gone

 

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We had to say goodbye to old Boy kitty tonight, seventeen and a half years old.  I had known him since 2009; my husband had known him since he was a tiny kitten.  Yes.  It was rough to say good bye. His kidneys were beginning to fail, he wasn’t eating anything, he had become a bag of bones, very quiet, subdued, just waiting…I know we did the right thing, but it is so hard to see my husband so sad, dazed, grief stricken, and it’s terrible to think about the empty place on our bed, the lack of cat hair (Isn’t it crazy? To actually miss the hair that had been annoying me?), no more warm cat waiting for a snuggle. Sad.

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt asked us to write a poem backwards.  What appears above is about as far as I could get in my exhausted and sad state.  Maybe I’ll have the courage to write more, to fill in the earlier parts of the evening leading up to the moment of goodbye, but for now this is enough.

Farewell NaPoWriMo, until next year!

Still Wishing for My Own Space

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It’s hard to adapt to life without a meditation room coming from three years of enjoying a space that was all mine, where I could close the door, and sit undisturbed. This past year I reclaimed my inner writer, and this manifested in part in my committing to this blog and posting every day.  Having my own quiet space to sit and write was of immeasurable help in keeping my commitment. All I had to do was show up, and I had the perfect quiet space to sit and write in peace and solitude.

And now it is different.  Now I sit and write at the dining room table, and already my mother and then my sister have shown up, puttering around getting their water for bed time.  A part of me resists forced interaction.  While I love them both, it is exceedingly difficult to maintain a steady stream of thought when it keeps being interrupted by people shuffling around, opening cabinets, turning on water, clearing their throat–every noise is as bad as someone banging a timpani right next to my ears, as far as distraction is concerned, it’s all the same.

Earlier this evening I tried to sit in my bedroom while my husband was downstairs watching The Walking Dead. I first showered and brushed my teeth, and organized my space a little, because a cluttered space just isn’t conducive to cultivating an uncluttered mind.  Just as I was preparing to sit, our old cat began meowing his head off. He is mostly blind and mostly deaf, and meows loudly in a feline echo location of sorts as he tries to get his bearings in our new house.

Well, crap. I walked over to our master bathroom where we keep his litter box, his food, and his water.  I gave him a fresh bowl of water, made sure he had plenty of food, petted him, put him in our bed, and hoped that he would settle down and snooze.  He finally settled, but by that time my husband was done watching his show, which meant that he was going to head to our room to shower off and go to bed. I was disgruntled. I told him what happened with the cat, told him I hadn’t yet sat, and he said, “Well, what do you want me to do? You can’t sit with me up there?” Then I began grumbling about how hard it is to sit with someone shuffling around in the room, But, I said, it’s your bedroom, so come on up. Grumble grumble grumble.

I put earplugs in, pulled my fleece hat all the way over my eyes to block out two of my senses, hoping it would make it easier to go inwards. Sensory withdrawal is one of the eight limbs of yoga, and a crucial element of successful meditation. Withdrawal of the senses is easier, of course, when there isn’t so much sensory input in one’s space to begin with. Think about the quiet of a monastery or an ascetic’s cave dwelling–there isn’t much to disturb one’s journey inwards.

But a monastery or a cave dwelling this house is not. So even with the earplugs I heard my husband in the shower and my cat meowing a few more times.  I heard my husband slide the glass doors of the shower enclosure when he stepped out, I heard him toweling off and brushing his teeth.  I saw the light flick on and off, heard him  start to say something to me and then stop when he realized I was trying to sit against all odds.

Yep, feeling sorry for myself. Still mourning the loss of my room.  And there is a great battle being waged within, many parts vying for my attention, wanting to be validated. One of the loudest parts is the one saying, You don’t have anything to complain about.  Stop being so spoiled.  You have a bed, for God’s sake, a home, food, children, a husband, a family, a job. Stop being so goddamned self-centered. Well, that voice certainly isn’t helping me to feel any better.

Another part of me is hopeful.  It says, Maybe you’ll come out of this stronger in your ability to concentrate. Just keep trying.  Keep showing up for your practice. You’re doing fine.

Another voice that pipes up is that of my inner child.  She is just plain having a tantrum about all of this.  No fair no fair no fair! She shouts. What happened to my room? I want my room! No fair!
What do I say to such an angry little girl to help her feel better?

Anyway, that’s where I am tonight.  Wishing for a space all of my own, searching for meaning in all of this, trying to adapt, wanting to be good, wanting to let myself want what I want, wanting to grow up, wanting to be nurtured and coddled…wanting. Could this be about me releasing attachments and embracing reality, loving what is, regardless?

Friends, any thoughts you might offer will be much appreciated, even if it’s just to say, “I hear you.” Thanks for listening.  I hope you all are happy in this moment.

Searching

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Gri-Gri

We let go of you last night.
We wanted you to be released from your suffering.
I knew it was the right decision,
one that I would want made for me,
if I were in your condition.

But now I look for you.
On the stairs up to my meditation room
where you would patiently wait for me
until I was done sitting.

I look for you on the couch
where you would bask in the afternoon sun.
Under the bed where you would hide
when the children were too loud.

In your corner of the basement
where you would go
when underneath the bed wasn’t quiet enough.

I keep expecting to hear the sounds of
your claws tapping on the hardwood floors,
to hear you purr in greeting as I walk into the room.
You didn’t make all that much noise,
but I can notice the quiet that has blanketed the house
in your absence.

What will I do with all this emptiness I feel?
And how long will I keep searching for you,
knowing that you never again will be
where you once were?

I guess you are everywhere now…
If I listen, I might hear your purr
echoing from the walls of my heart.

Blue Eyes

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Two injections.
The first, a sedative to put you to sleep.
The second, an overdose of sleeping medication
to stop your heart forever.

When we brought you into the animal hospital,
we knew we were making the right decision.
We didn’t want you to suffer.
You were no longer eating,
and your belly was filling up with fluid again,
abdomen stretched tight,
and you were walking with great difficulty.

Yet you were warm and purred loudly
while I held you in the car,
while I held you on the vet’s exam table.
You purred when she injected you with the sedative,
you purred as the anesthesia was taking effect.
We took you off the table to hold you and pet you
as the medicine was working its way through your veins,
you purred as we told you we loved you and would miss you.
And then you stopped purring,
because the medicine made you sleep.
You were unnaturally quiet,
Yet you were still alive, warm,
and your heart was beating.
I put my ear down on your side to listen.
I stroked your impossibly soft fur.

It was hard watching the vet
search for a vein in your left hind leg
to administer the second injection,
but I kept my eyes open,
because I knew I would never see you again.
I put my head down again,
no more heart beat.
And then I cried and cried.

I will miss you sweet kitty,
and your bluest of the blue eyes.