Wednesday, June 07, 2006

mortality much

ashes to ashes and dust to dust...

we are fragile creatures, we humans.
how easily we cease to exist, truth be told. i think death is something many people are fearful of and by not talking about it think it might pass by, missing them and their families. a good friend of mine is a vegetarian. when i started inquiring beyond the primary questions of her vegetarianism, i unearthed that she is a vegetarian because she is scared of death.

to recognize our own mortality and our own death paves the way for recognizing and commissioning how to truly live.

have you noticed a lot of people say a person has "passed" - i wonder if it's easier to swallow that way, like a sugar coated pill with less of a bitter aftertaste? my good friend jason's father died unexpectedly a few weeks ago.just today we were talking about how his role inside his family has changed so quickly- how death affects a lot of unexpected little areas as well as the obvious gaping crater-sized hole in the family. comfort takes on so many forms: a cup of tea, a casserole, a stroke on the back, an all-encompassing embrace, and even maybe a word or two like "i'm sorry."

i have felt the ache of one less table setting where one had existed a year before at thanksgiving. i have been stung by the familiar silhouette that looks like it could be the departed, walking in the flesh, absurd hope rising up in my bloodstream, only to crash back into reality once they look me straight in the face and it's not him. i have struggled with thoughts of a long voyage that they will return from soon. if you love someone, you will know loss of them. but that doesn't diminish your love- it can give you the propensity to love more and more greatly, exponentially increasing by sharing the love previously reserved for one person, now with many. almost like the ultimate honor to the deceased is to share that love with countless others that need to hear it, feel it, walk in it and breathe the everlasting life in it.

i am training to walk 20 miles to raise money for suicide prevention because of a still recent death that impacted my life late last year. we will walk from 7 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. in july to bring "shameful" issues like depression, mental illness and suicide out of the darkness and into the light. depression affects 20 million people in the United States and yet is one of the most treatable mood disorders. in working with the homeless for now almost seven years, i have seen and loved many people afflicted with depression, contemplating suicide.

a week before thanksgiving last year, my friend todd killed himself. we met at the living room coffeehouse drop-in center for homeless street kids many years ago. he was a christ-believing guy with a great ability to love and draw out the best in those around him. shock and outrage and confusion and deep sadness punctuated those days surrounding his death. they were catalysts for various poems that fought their way out of me, written on todd's behalf. for me, this walk is a chance to do something about helping others perhaps make a different choice who are struggling like he did towards the end, as well as honor his life and friendship and inimitable spirit.

if you would be interested in donating to the walk, please leave a comment and i will send you a fundraising letter.

i really think we could embrace life more fully if we allowed ourselves the truth that one day we too will die. imagine how differently life would look for each of us if we thought our days were numbered. how would it look different for you?


Blogger katy said...

In high school, the father of two friends of ours decided to jump off a building and end his life. It was - and still is - a horrible event. Certain, movies, stories, holidays...make me recall vividly when this happened. It has been 10 years, but it still hurts.

Please send me a letter. K

10:39 AM  

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