On Motherhood & Sanity

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the problem is... we think we've got time

yesterday I attended my first Reiki event. Essentially a Reiki orgy..... a bunch of Reiki people that come together to give each other treatments and think about the reiki principles. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I got to blind-pick a principle, and it asked if I get enough rest. Freaky how appropriate that question was given that I certainly DO NOT, and cannot, and don't know how.... unfortunately I fell asleep during my treatment so did not do much thinking.

the jury is still out on that one. I came home to a somber g who greeted me with the old and feared opening  "I have bad news" and proceeded to tell me that my 44-year-old cousin, the one who after years of struggling economically was finally making money and excited with his work. The one who after a long childless marriage that ended in divorce was soon to be wed again. The one that had been left to father his younger siblings after their own parent's divorce, and his father's subsequent disappearance from the family. He had died. Car crash. Gone on impact. Shortly after breakfast. Nothing to do.

I called my mother, she was in shock. Disbelief. I called his family. They live in Lima, he lived in Mexico, and and so on top of everything they now have to deal with the logistics of bringing his body home. It dawned on me as my cousin picked up the phone on the other end... I had nothing to say. What on earth can you say?

It seems senseless. It seems absurd. We are all overwhelmed with this sense of having been told a bad joke. One that could not possibly be. As we are all scattered  around; Peru, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain... the phones kept ringing well into the night. it did not get any easier. it did not get any more real.  We struggled with stupid things like wanting to share our feeling in facebook, and not finding a way to do so. I thought of my aunt. I selfishly kept repeating to myself " que dios me libre" (may god spare me)....

Today is my sister's birthday. It must be celebrated. It is a sad day in our family. but more the reason to celebrate life. to celebrate every moment. to celebrate how lucky we are to have health and our loved ones. 

so today we are in mourning. I will mourn three days. why? because I need a ritual, I need a path to follow. I wish our culture had more "instructions" to deal with death. Other cultures accept death much more as part of life.  Which seems logical given that we are all dying every day (some days more than others). In Chinese New Year they place an empty seat at the table for the ancestors. OK, so it is done to keep their wrath away, but I have decided to celebrate Chinese New Year every year as a way to honor my ancestors. A day to remember. Just like father’s day, mother’s day or Christmas. this will be family day. for those gone to join us and do what we Mediterranean do best: eat.

 Sotoday  I will take the children to the park, to a lake, to something beautiful. something that will be there no matter what. I will not explain death to them. They never met my cousin, it would be impossible for them to understand. But I will talk about life. I will talk about love. I will talk about giving thanks. I will talk about making good use of our time. The importance of honoring our lives, and with it, those who are no longer with us. That will be my farewell to my cousin, whom I had not seen in such a long time. we will make our own ritual, we will throw flowers into the water for him, for his journey. 

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