I am not sure how each of you view dying, or how you mourn the loss of someone that played a central role in your life. I only know how difficult it is and has been for me in the past and now.
I was not there at the moment of dad’s death, but before my father died I had had the oppurtunity to regain a currentness with him, that I felt that I had lost. I had, mixed with self centered feelings of loss and guilt, a sense of guilt filled relief that he would no longer have to suffer and was finally allowed to go home in his true form no longer by tortured by a body that had ceased to be an appropriate vehicle for his true self. I did not have this chance with my uncle.
I wished I had taken the time to tell him, when I saw him the last time, How important he had been in my life and that I loved and respected him. I wished that I had taken the time to vist him and my aunt the last time that I was in Boston, or the time before or the time before, but I did’nt. I wished that I had not let so much time pass without re-establishing contact and renewing a relationship that though sometimes difficult was very important in my childhood and adolescence.
But honestly I never thought the time would come when he was not there.
Even though we know it, each of us chooses in their own way to deny the inevitable. That life means transformation and one of these is what we call death. I am no different in this respect.
I don’t know who my uncle really was, but I know what he is, a part of the Divine that touched and continous to grace my life. Perfect in his imperfection. To say that he was a father a brother a husband, friend, uncle is not the complete truth. It only describes the location that he occupied in our lives, but it is not a complete description of him. To say that he did the best he could with what he had is also not the complete truth either. He was much more than that. He was and is a peice of divinty that touched my life in the most unexpected manner, at the most unexpected moments, in a way that I will probably first understand when I go home as he has.
Each of us wants to be loved, and to know that he is loved. Each one of us spends a major part of our life in the pursuit of our own unique form of happiness and love, and tries to avoid as much as possible those things that cause pain, sorrow, sadness or discomfort to ourselves or our loved ones. It is as if we really believe that by living a certain way and following certain rules that we will be spared. But it is not so. In loving we cause pain, it is unavoidable. In trying to be helpful we cause pain, it is unavoidable. In growing into adulthood we are the source of pain because we are loved and love, it is unavoidable. And in the middle of loss we inadvertently cause pain, it is unavoidable.
Love without pain only exists in the Divine corner of our hearts where we can love without possession, without controlling without demanding to be loved in return. Like the sun shines without making any distinction between those receiving its rays of warm and light. It shines because that is its true Nature.
In this sometimes, or all too often secret corner of our hearts where love truly exist, is also the place where all of those who have given us, sometimes unconsciously, even one small moment of unconditional, love reside. They are there and are part of the inexhaustible fountain of love that we call God, the Divine, Master or the true Self. They are there in all of the splendor and glory that exist in creation. They are God’s face as are the flowers in the field or the lilies in the valley. And they are in this form free from all that that prevents us from seeing the divine in them. And yet we wait until it is too late, or almost too late to tell them that they are loved and acknowledged for what they are.
We identify ourselves in a manner that is exclusive, a manner that prevents that which is present from unfolding, touching and enriching our lives
We often spend time nourishing our pain and hurts, justifying our behavior toward others based on those hurts and in doing so we rob ourselves of yet another opportunity to experience the wonder and awe of His multifold manifestations in our lives.
If I could be with you in person in your time of sorrow I would say that we should all take just a few moments too close our eyes and visit that place in our hearts where He dwells. To experience His presence quietly in our lives. To marvel at His miracle of constant transformation that we experience as life and to rejoice in its glory, and then rejoicing to open our eyes and see Him in those around us as they really are.
Each of us has the same spark of the divine in him, and each of us is as totally unaware of the role that we play in the lives of those around us because of it. I rejoice in my uncle’s memory, mourn him, am thankful that I knew him and am grateful for the light that he unknowingly brought into my life. May he find his way home. I’ll miss him.
(the original was written on the occasion of the death of my uncle 2005)