Soon after this glorious picture was taken, Jean's life on this earth, on this dimension, ended.
Looking at plants she gave me, I remember the times we worked together in our gardens. When it's blackberry season I remember the many times that she & Brian gathered berries along her driveway in the Cowichan Valley. From Jean I know that if I crumple a piece of parchment paper under water I can then fit it snuggly into a pan with sides. I learned the best way to slice an avocado.
Jean knit me special multi-coloured gloves with the fingers of wool just reaching the middle joint, so that I could take photographs with them on.
Thousands of hours spent with Jean helped me understand what love and friendship means. What it did not do was prepare me for loss.
So where is Jean now?
I know it sounds foolish, but it's as if she is waiting, a little to the side somewhere, close but not close enough to touch.
Does it help to read Paul R. Fleischman's thoughts that " Nothing is solid, permanent, and immutable. Every ‘thing’ is really an ‘event.’ Even a stone is a form of river, and a mountain is only a slow wave. The Buddha said, sabbe sankhâra anicca — the entire universe is fluid.”
The fluidity of life and death and life.
In "The Japanese Lover" by Isabel Allende, Alma, an elderly resident at a senior retirement community is asked by Lenny if she is afraid of dying. Alma responds “A little. I imagine that after death there’s no contact with this world, no suffering, personality, or memory; it’s as though this Alma Belasco had neve existed. Something may transcend it: the spirit, the essence of our being. But I confess I am afraid of giving up this body…..”
When he is asked the same question by Alma, Lenny responds "“No, I suppose that what comes after death is the same as before birth."
Peace, my heart, let the time for
the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain
Let the flight through the sky end
in the folding of the wings over the
Let the last touch of your hands be
gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a
moment, and say your last words in
I bow to you and hold up my lamp
to light you on your way
(1861 - 1941)
Louise Cordana writes "All who have been touched by beauty are touched by sorrow at its passing. "