The Farm is quiet this morning. There are crickets chirping perfectly on time outside making it feel like a musical guided meditation piped in from my backyard which is teeming with life and weeds after a rainy summer of neglect. I don’t turn on the radio as I being to write slowly, taking time to drink in the silence like a voraciously thirsty person. The crickets stop singing suddenly as though they had been waiting for me to pick up my pen, and the silence feels like a blanket all around me.
I have been feeling a great need for a different kind of quiet since my mother’s death. I am looking for a silence that is more pervasive than simply what I can find on the outside. I want deep silence from the inside – from my heart.
My mind is busy. I am sorting through my mother’s effects one thing at a time. I realize how careful she was to tell me the stories about each thing, and I am shocked at how vividly I remember them.
“Oh, this is picture frame we bought together on that trip to New York,” thinking to myself, I pick up the frame which now holds an old photograph of the two of us with questionable hair styles from the 80’s. We smile the same way, I notice for the thousandth time.
“This is the basket of pictures we have been promising to go through together for 25 years and never did”, I smile.
“Damn – now I have to do it alone”, I say to her out loud. “You got out of it!” I cry again.
We loved procrastinating stuff like that. I look back at the basket. The round jar like shape made of natural reeds from West Africa where we lived is typically colourful with a bright red and green African design. It has been overfilled with pictures accumulated over so many years that it has finally settled into a middle age sag sort of look, a protruding rounded belly filled with the stories of mine and mother’s life. The memory of buying the basket in an African market place when I was 13 with her is as fresh as a paper cut – and suddenly the basket means the whole world to me. So, I give it to my sister. I can[t be attached to everything – I feel like I’m going to drown in it all.
I see how am attached to too many things. I understand this in my head but I can’t seem to tear myself away from it; a broken chain, a cracked dish, meaningless papers all reluctantly and often tearfully tossed in the garbage.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to run out of tears sooner or later.
It is very hard to throw anything away. My inner non-materialistic hippie is a little disgusted that I have to keep reminding myself that stuff is just stuff.
My sister (my mother’s twin) – (if you don’t understand this, I will explain it another time J) – is handling things with patience and love and humour. My youngest daughter has been a trooper through this whole process and they are getting to know each other better. I am enjoying this part. I can see the “good parts” of what happens when great changes come and I can be present enough to have a moment to be grateful.
We keep it light, and we try to find the spiritual side of things. Big things in life such as death and big endings make you reach a little higher for what you have inside of you. I figure it’s a survival mechanism.
This need for silence makes it so that I am more consciously focused on meditation and centering. I realize that a great deal of time when grieving is spent visiting the past in our minds – a very dangerous neighbourhood to visit alone, She often reminded me. And I realize that whether they are good or bad memories, they have a hold on my heart squeezing it tight with the knowledge that fresh memories can’t happen anymore. As a result, I spend little time in the present moment – which is exhausting. The only place we really get any energy from or joy, is from the present moment. So right now meditation keeps my mind from completely cracking open and bleeding all over the floor. I think it’s natural to go through this process, but I am pretty aware of the fact that this reality is completely un-centering. I feel like I am living outside of my body.
I have been careful to keep myself even. I try to sleep, eat properly and stay focused on my spiritual center. In a way I meditate all day – it’s not just an event in my day. When I am out of that state, I bring myself back. Staying there allows me to have brief moments of presence, to remind myself that grief will pass –
“This too shall pass”, I hear her say. In every moment everything is changing. Be like water…not stone.
OK well easy to say but I feel a little “rock like” at times, unwilling to let go or even budge an inch.
But, I remember that every time I focus on the moment I am standing in – there is nothing wrong. There is nothing.
“It’s just is what it is.” That’s exactly right.