Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Like When You're Born

In the past week, three people I've known have died. One, a friend from childhood, after a long battle with cancer. Our friend, Vinny died last Friday from a massive heart attack while splitting wood in his backyard. We got the phone call on Saturday night, listening to Prairie Home Companion, curled up in front of the fire. Vinny? Splitting wood? A friend's sister died from a sudden illness. She was forty-six years old. A teacher, a firefighter, her son's scout troop leader, mom of a ten year old daughter. She'd been at the hairdresser commenting on how she wasn't feeling quite right. Two days later...

I know this is the natural order of things. This whole enchilada is impermanent. We come into the world, burn brightly, then leave. Apparently, the sooner one accepts this, the more joyful and peaceful a life they'll live. I have a thick skull. All this dying is making me nervous. I've got, more acutely than usual, that old when's the next shoe gonna drop syndrome. Does waking  up this morning to no heat in the house count? I'm watching my squeamish-ness, tallying the losses. This letting go process isn't once and done. It's again and again. Inhale, exhale.

I was talking to Claire about this domino of loss.

"One minute you're here, the next your gone," I said, "it's freaking me out."
"Well, it could be the other way around, Mom, like one minute you're gone, then here. Like when you're born?"


which brings me back to my two snow-covered chairs in the backyard post from the other day. Have A Conversation was all I could muster. But I think it's good advice; have a conversation with someone you love, or someone you've had difficulties with, or a stranger who could use some kindness...

have a conversation.


  1. Thanks for checking in, Mamma Ella! She is indeed one smart cookie!

  2. Dying makes me nervous too, but I like how you ended this piece with: "have a conversaton," because it's always relating to others that makes a lot of pain go away, at least for me it does.