Life and Death

Feb 16

I have not been writing much since the passing of my grandmother. I am beginning to become

more inspired with the passing days.

The thing about death is coming to the reality that we are not immortal. It causes one to

think about death and the after life, if there is one. It makes you think of what you want to

happen when you pass on. I’ve already decided that not only do I want to be cremated, but I

want my family and friends to have a tye-dye party in my honor. I want my ashes spread in the

mountains – not buried in the ground or held on someone’s mantle. I do not want to have any

“space” in a cemetery or vault taking up any of the earth as a memorial to me.

Experiences with our dying loved ones also causes one to savor the time we have with those we

love. My dad cried when we left to fly back home after the whirlwind weekend. He does that

sometimes, and it really gets to me. I always cry all the way to the airport. My parents are

the sweetest people on earth. I am so fortunate to have had them as role models in my life,

always supportive of my endeavors.

My mother, my grandma’s only child, was so ill from influenza on the day of grandma’s funeral

that she could not attend. This was devastating.

I’ll be thinking about this for a long time. My grandma was a significant part of shaping who

I am. She was a big part of our family. My son even had his great-grandmother’s name,

“Thelma”, tattooed across his chest several years ago. My mother has no siblings, so for her

this is truly a tragic time. We are all strong and the sadness will not disappear, but we will

learn to live with the beautiful memories we have at the forfront of our minds, instead of her

sad and slow death that finally took her from us.

In one of the last few coherent conversations I had with my grandmother,after I had pulled up

stakes with my three children and made a bold move from the east coast to the pacific northwest

in 1997, she told me how proud she was of me and my bravery. Grandma, my inspiration came from

you.

“To Those I Love”

If I should ever leave you
whom I love
To go along the Silent Way
grieve not,
Nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk
Of me as if I were
beside you there.
(I’d come– I’d come,
could I but find a way!
But would not tears and grief
be barriers?)
And when you hear a song or
see a bird
I loved, please do not let
the thought of me
Be sad. . . For I am
loving you just as
I always have. . .
You were so good to me!
There were so many things
I wanted to say to you. . .
Remember that I
did not fear. . . It was
Just leaving you
that was so hard to face. . .
We cannot see Beyond. . .
But this I know:
I loved you so- – ‘twas heaven
here with you!
-Isla Paschal Richardson

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