Is death an ending or a beginning? Is it one big event or something small occurring periodically and often? Is dying a time of sorrow, or a time of healing? Maybe, death is all of these things collectively.
These are the kinds of questions I have pondered in deep conversation with a friend who is like no other in my life. In fact, I refer to her as my spirit sibling. During our discussions, every part of my being is engaged, with hours and hours easily passing. There is no judgement and no fear. Minds are open and debate draws out Truth (yes, with a capital ‘T’). Our dialogue can be exhausting and exhilarating simultaneously, and magical things come out of them like this poem.
I knew sharing this poem was right one afternoon while listening to the band Hammock and their album Oblivion Hymns. The final track, “Tres Dominé”, is possibly the most hope-filled and uplifting song I have ever heard. Ironically, in an interview about the album, the band stated the collection of songs is about saying goodbye. Hmmm…..is death uplifting? Check out “Tres Dominé” here.
The holiday season may not be a time of happiness and joy for everyone. For many years I have been among those who experience some darkness during the time of merry and bright. The jubilation is just too much at times and it can be a struggle to remain engaged and not become isolated. This isn’t to say there are no moments of cheer. In fact, the times of darkness can allow me to see great value in the simplest moments of joy.
Over the years, holiday festivities were never of great significance in my family. We always gathered on Christmas Day at my parents house to spend time together, but it was not an over-the-top celebration. A day of simple togetherness was enough. The light of holiday time dimmed a bit more for me when that togetherness was lost in 2013. Our tradition may have been simple, but it was something to cherish.
In the summer of 2013 my dad was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. By December his health had declined significantly and he was in a great deal of pain. On Christmas Eve my stepmom called to say the usual gathering was not an option. She had a terrible cold and the pain had become too much for my dad to get out of bed, let alone deal with having a house full of people. On Christmas evening, dad ended up in the hospital. He never returned home and only remained with us for two more months. It was an extremely challenging time, and although my relationship with that man was a tumultuous one, I miss him.
There was reluctance to share this story and poem from fear of tainting the joy of the season, but healing comes from sharing. I know I am not alone in my struggles during the holiday season, and I know I will not be alone in my healing.