Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Song at the End of a Life

"The death of a beloved is an event that rings and rings through life:
bearing it is not a problem to be solved, but a long, slow piece of music to listen
 to. And mourning, like music, is best listened to with others."    Sarah Miles 

I'm not one to avoid the hard things...and coming here tonight feels hard. Mom died 
in mid-October, the day before my birthday. She loved reading this blog and was one 
of my most enthusiastic supporters. My sister and I got to Florida in time to spend 
two good days with her before she began the active dying process. On Saturday when 
we arrived, she was alert, talkative, sitting up and and so relieved that we made it in time. Hospice came a day and a half later, and by Tuesday afternoon, she had flown 
away with the birds. There were profound gifts of beauty and love along with the pain and deepening grief. It was a gift to be able to offer her healing work during her last days, and to sing to her as she died. My sister and father sang with me as she slipped more and more into dreaming. In her final moments, we sang Swing Low Sweet Chariot and marveled at the chorus of birds outside her window as she took her last breaths. 

Being with the land is a great solace, as always, and soon some of Mom's ashes will 
be spread in the moss garden here, a decision that she made after I first moved here, 
long, long before her illness. I think a stone bench and a birdbath are in order, to 
tuck amongst the mosses and ferns, so we - the birds and I - can continue our singing. 

I don't have a lot to say tonight, so I offer you images. I needed to come here and 
write this to mark this moment, to say that I am OK, up and down as the grief process 
is - not making much art. I'm walking and looking and taking photographs, and marveling at the astonishing beauty of water drops on shriveled weeds and the November forest surrendering to the coming winter.