I haven’t posted since January 8, despite a vow to myself to post at least twice per week.
That’s because on January 9, my very beloved Dad very abruptly died. I remind myself that he was spared the vicissitudes of old age, infirmity and a slow decline. He was 89, but was planning to play golf the next day. While at dinner with my dear stepmom and friends he had an allergic reaction and a few hours later he was dead.
He used to say to me “Diane, that’s why I get up every morning – because you never know what is going to happen.” How true, how true!
Tomorrow is Easter and Christians celebrate Resurrection. In fact, many religious traditions have holidays related to rebirth and renewal tied in with this vernal time of year.
Whatever ones beliefs it is comforting, when faced with the seeming starkness of death, to ponder rebirth, renewal. Resurrection.
A few years ago, driving down my favorite road with both spring in Chicago and a new love in my life suddenly appearing after a period of bleakness, a poem came to me. Having then had a battened down heart, newly awakening, I now take comfort, that having had a death in the family, perhaps, like Lazarus in the poem, I’ll feel like kissing the face of the stars – ready, once more to leap into life.
My father was my north star, and, at the same time, the firmament on which I stood. I must say I have felt inexorably lost in these three months since he so abruptly was spirited away by that trickster, Death.
So I don’t feel the same sense of awakening as I did in 2009, seeing the daffodils starting to wildly bloom on Country Club Road.
Looking out my window, I see my tattered prayer flags, gaunt and thin and dragging after the winter snows and ice and winds. I’ve cleared the deluge of cones from around the Colorado blue spruce in my front yard and raked some leaves from the flower beds.
In this liminal time, winter indeed is visibly waning – old, tired, nearly gone. The days grow longer now, and some days are even warm.
But despite what the Wheel of the Year tells us – that Spring Equinox has indeed arrived – I don’t think spring has really settled in. At least not in Chicago. At least not in my heart.
I’m truly not seeking sympathy. Perhaps forbearance for my long absence here. Death, like birth, is a part of life. And all deaths leave gaps, holes, empty spaces (though I must say, I’d not quite known how much empty there can be).
I think the thing to remember, as the Christians remind us this time of year, is that the life force lives on. That renewal and resurrection can be ours, not in the literal sense of the Gospel story, but in beginning anew. In affirming life. In saying yes. In putting out NEW prayer flags, bright, colorful, ready to be imbued with prayers, hopes, wishes, summer sunshine and love.
And as for my Daddy ~ well, I’ll quote my generation’s poet laureate, Bob Dylan:
“I’ll see you in the sky above
in the tall grass
in the ones I love
You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go.”