Our Sighs Ride the Ebb-tides of Eternity … in memory …

 IMG_20140525_110843673_HDROn May 28, our group for people with life-threatening illnesses celebrated the lives of those who have already passed on. I was unable to attend the memorial service due to bronchitis, but I celebrate them, two of my family, and this wonderful group here today.

Our group is comprised of people from several different religious traditions and is hosted by our local Insight Meditation Center. The group was founded and is run by a Buddhist chaplain who has been very kind and is a stalwart friend to each of us.

Though I still follow the progress of friends in the group and attend our quarterly potlucks, I no longer participate in meetings. By some surely unearned grace, I am now considered “chronic and stable” and I’ve grown to the point that the news of death no longer disturbs me. The major take-away for me from this experience is that the only difference between having a medically predicted expiration date and not knowing when our time will come is that with a diagnosis, we no longer fall into those moments of denial. That’s a huge gift. Huge! The result is that we become present in each moment.

Today is my loving celebration of: Ann, Deborah, Dick, Ernie, Hilda, Mary, Parvathy, Robert, Mary Kate, Steve, Victor and of family lost in recent years: my former husband, Kirby (the most decent man I’ve ever known), and my cousin, Christopher, with whom I grew-up and who was like a brother … 

Each moment and every person is precious and beautiful and the only thing that really matters is how much we have loved and been loved and that – as survivors – we continue to live in the service of our families and those in need. In the end it would seem that’s the best way to honor the family and friends whose memory we treasure .

Eternity flowed deftly through the last eight years
enfolding in her stream eleven with whom we
contemplated Knowledge and Mortality
Looking back, we ponder amazed at love among friends,
……….it blossoms fragrant, as gentle
……….as a dewy rose among thorns and thistles
We thrash and crawl and climb
……….puzzling
……….over the sea and fire that stalks us
Our hearts, cupped in one another’s hands
……….like castanets, beat in unison
Our measured moments grave lines in phantom fears,
……….they float like storm clouds above us
In words of jade, we speak elegies and encomiums
Our smiles mask our sorrows and yearning
Our laughter is love grown wild
We see each other in a thousand shapes and dreams
……….and in nameless names
Our sighs ride the ebb tides of Eternity
…..Another moment:
…..and even the sun will die
…..but our lotus song will echo on ….
……….We have lived! We have loved!

© 2014, words and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

13 thoughts on “Our Sighs Ride the Ebb-tides of Eternity … in memory …

  1. When faced with a chronic illness especially if it’s the unpredictable kind we no longer fear death. We learn to appreciate living because our tomorrows are hazy. You expressed this reality very well.

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  2. Beautiful and brave words.
    I remember Ann’s poignant and deep poetry. I was wondering if Robert was the doctor who wrote such beautiful prose on Into the Bardo. May they all rest in peace and rise in glory unfettered from the wheel of re-birth.

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  3. Yes! This essence is brilliantly distilled, Jamie. Thank you!!! The wisdom of being present, of no longer being in denial, is (I think) the peace that my late husband never quite reached. However, what do I know of his last night’s sleep? Only the sound of the machines regulating his breathing, his kidney function, his insulin level. That huge relief may have overtaken him at last. He has loved; he has lived; his lotus song wafts like a fragrance throughout nevertheless.

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  4. Dear Jamie, I feel akin to you through our communication and also because I have health/death struggles. I can say this then…….that this last part of my life has been my greatest teacher. I would expect that you would have a similar experience. You really learn to love fully, compassionately. I have found that faith is a given with consuming illness. Your poem is so beautiful just like you. You give so much. Thank you.

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  5. Beautiful, beautiful, and I am so sorry to hear more of your condition. It is wonderful that you are able to seize the moment. I am inspired but have such a hard time in doing this in my life. Will try. K.

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    1. When we can’t change something, it turns out that it comes down to the choice between beting a frown or a smile. It is hard though. Peace of mind should be easy but it seems it is hard won. 🙂 Wishing you every blessing, K. 🙂

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