“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”
― John Green,
Today I attended a funeral of a woman I did not know well at all. Her name was Elisabeth Rubin. She died at 80, the mother of Emily Jennewein, a special person whom I cherish. The loss connected me more fully to Emily but also to the other daughter Elisabeth cherished, as well as a husband, grandchildren, sons-in-law, and many others I will never fully know. Elisabeth had a rich life. She was extremely intelligent and gifted. She loved deeply. She was a witness and a participant to the lives of many amazing beings. I missed the cues to her amazing life.
I wish I had known how to act next, but the loss involving Elisabeth suggested so many other actions that I sit observing in awe. I ask the angels: what do I do next? Silence is clearly the initial answer.
Breath, is another.
I have attended many funerals as of late. These occasions teach me many things. The power of process, for one. For example, we should not discard the importance of grieving. It is so, so important. We could easily jump into the process, dust ourselves off, and forget how essential it is for us to take our time. The richness of embracing our pain cannot be dismissed as inconsequential.
So what am I saying? For one, you are important to me. I woke up this morning feeling my age and the preciousness of all that invokes. Where did the time go? I wish for more time, who doesn’t? I have dreams like you. I want to touch the sun, and feel that despite time, there is still something left to give.
There is a special painting associated to this post. It is of MoJo, a Queensland healer, who graced the life of my brother and wife in particular, and me secondarily. MoJo and I walked many trails in San Jose and along the Santa Cruz Mountains. She was special creature who kept me company when I felt alone, and graced my family’s life when we need to be reminded of life’s gifts. I call this painting: The Forest Entrance.
Mo Jo is gone now, at least in physical presence, but her spirit tells us that life lives on. With Elisabeth, I think the same. I didn’t know her the way others did, but I think she really would want to know that paying it forward is the best gift to recognizing who she was.