I light a candle.
My cousin’s niece died this past weekend. Cancer. She was young – early 20’s. I never met her but I’ve followed her story over the last year and a half thanks to my cousin’s periodic updates. My cousin is one of those people whose photos are always organized into albums, whose Christmas letter comes on time every year and who, for her 5th wedding anniversary, sent an email out with a “Where Are They Now?” update for everyone in her wedding party. When Jamie was diagnosed with cancer she let us all know and asked us to send our prayers. When Jamie was undergoing intensive treatment, my cousin wondered if people would be willing to send little care packages to help boost her spirits. We sent one. I don’t remember what it contained other than a lip gloss. (A non-carcinogenic one). I remember thinking that if I were stuck in a hospital, feeling like crap and fighting for my life, a little lip gloss might make for a few lighter moments.
Just before the holidays we got word that all the treatments failed and Jamie was going home to die. My cousin made sure to let us all know that Jamie’s spirit was still vibrant and that she had plans to enjoy life to her very last breath – including marrying her long-time boyfriend. This made me sob. The next email stated they weren’t sure if Jamie would make it to her wedding day. She did. I sat for a few moments and held a vision of her as a bride, beautiful as all brides should be, full of love and joy. Even now it makes my throat burn to think about it. She got to be a wife for almost 3 weeks – until the morning of January 16th. And then she left her new husband behind.
For a long time I have believed that we are all energy and when we leave this body, we return to Source, to be born again when we choose. A man I know who died and was brought back to life described it as “taking off a lead jacket and soaring”. This gives me comfort when I think of death, of the loss of someone deeply loved. And still when I heard that Jamie was gone, I cried. A parent should never have to bury their child and yet it happens all the time. I think of my own child and try to stop my imagination from going down that road. The pain of even imagined loss is intense (and crazy-making). The current tragedy in Haiti is more than I can bear. And so I light a candle, in honor of Spirit; in honor of those whose flames are no longer visible though their heat can still be felt.
My heart is full. I am grateful for the opportunity to love deeply, to be vulnerable, to allow my soul to be touched in ways that change me. I resolve – again – to live mindfully, to find joy in every moment I possibly can. I know fully that the world is a beautiful, tragic place and that logic and reasoning often do not apply. I choose to live my life fully until my very last breath.
How about you?