Everyone everywhere has experienced loss. It is a universal truth that ties us together crossing, economic, political, racial, religious and geographical boundaries. But to watch it, hear and touch it, is an experience that creeps into your pores and leaves long lasting images.
We discover parts of ourselves when we love others and in times of distress we find strengths we never knew we had. Last weekend the world lost a woman who was 41! What I discovered in her passing were a few amazing women that rose up to work as quiet angels in our midst. Because of where we live and what we have access too, often when we lose a loved one the family and community must take care of the details of death. We all know that in times of grief this can be difficult and heart wrenching.
I had the honor of assisting a few women of the family in washing and preparing the body. It was thru this ritual in a bleak, white walled room at the morgue that I saw a demonstration of love that astounded me. The women's cousin lovingly washed her body as she would wash a newborn baby. Gently stroking her, talking in low melodic tones as big watery tears washed down her ebony cheeks. There were moments I wished I could evaporate in to the air, so she could privately have this time as she said her good-byes.
It was there on a rainy night in Coxen hole with 150 family members and friends waiting outside that I experienced community in it's truest form.
I leave you with the words of Mary Oliver.........
"When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world."
— Mary Oliver