gratitude friday 3/12

I am grateful today. Grateful grateful grateful. My father’s funeral was today. He died on Tuesday. He’s not in pain any more. He’s not suffering from bedsores and gangrene. It’s over.

I don’t have to watch him struggling to breathe. Shrinking in size every day. Not recognizing me. Not being able to speak. Or move. Or toilet himself. Or eat unassisted.

Amazing how I can be so relieved that he’s finally gone and sad that he’s gone—all at the same time.

I am exquisitely grateful for my sister, for my daughter, for my niece, nephew and brother-in-law. For the outpouring of love and support from my friends and cherished loved ones. I feel so blessed.

I read three poems at the service today; I really like them.

Here they are:

Long Distance II
Though my mother was already two years dead Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed and still went to renew her transport pass.
You couldn’t just drop in. You had to phone. He’d put you off an hour to give him time
to clear away her things and look alone as though his still raw love were such a crime.
He couldn’t risk my blight of disbelief though sure that very soon he’d hear her key
scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief. He knew she’d just popped out to get the tea.
I believe life ends with death, and that is all. You haven’t both gone shopping; just the same,
in my new black leather phone book there’s your name and the disconnected number I still call.
—Tony Harrison

Shifting the Sun
When your father dies, say the Irish, you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians
When your father dies, say the Welsh, you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.
When your father dies, say the Canadians, you run out of excuses.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.
When your father dies, say the French, you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.
When you father dies, say the Indians, he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.
When your father dies, say the Russians, he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.
When your father dies, say the English, you join his club you vowed you wouldn’t.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.
When your father dies, say the Armenians, your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light.
—Diana Der-Hovanessian

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

—Kahlil Gibran

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I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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  1. These are very powerful. I can’t imagine the strength it took to read these aloud Barbara. The first one especially. One I am keeping for no other reason than the truth it holds for so many close to me, I’m sure. I’ve been thinking of you and have just lit a candle in your, and your fathers honor…..

    • Hi Nikki, I’m Barbara’s sister Sue (the blogger). These are the pieces I read. Barbara read two other poems, also lovely and powerful. I’m very glad you found them powerful. Which one are you keeping?

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