Saturday, May 11, 2013

She's not there

[again from Rick Fields]

in the light of death

I'm down at my dad's, which used to be "dad and Chris' " but is not anymore, and will not be again. Absence is the first noticeable thing. The dog is manic. My dad's hair has somehow gone wrong. For many years, Chris was more energetic than any of us, and took care of everything with a quiet kindness and intelligence. I'm speaking of her in the past tense just because she is so suddenly, somehow, not here, and her absence is so felt. She is being very well-cared for in San Diego by her two daughters. We will hopefully be able to see her today once we pick up Kathy at LAX. Apparently she is sleeping now most of the time.

Cousin Ryan, aunt Bev, uncle Roger, and Chris
Had a great chat last night about a variety of stuff with my uncle Roger and aunt Bev who drove down from San Antonio. They have virtually no health problems which I was very glad to hear. That's how it often is in my family. Of course lately, in our immediate family, I seem to have founded the first metaphorical leper colony in an otherwise healthy clan, and some others seem to be joining...

This is an obvious point, but it's funny how when there is death on the horizon, the felt sense of what's important shifts a lot, naturally. I guess I'm pretty familiar with 'conscious change' in the sense of doing certain things to bring about changes or become more aware (that's essentially what Buddhist practice is) and then of course things naturally shift...but this is...entirely circumstantial. You see how in a few months someone's life just shuts down, and the looming fissure it leaves in their world, a world that for some amount of time will limp along without them.

For me it's something about superficial discomforts, a certain automatic amplification of certain signals in the mind. Say, being a little uncomfortable around someone, or getting weirded out in some way by what they say...even disagreement or conflict, however subtle or chronic.

The Dhammapada says:
There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.
It's essentially this: the content of life is a lot of choppy water (it's the day for finding the right metaphor!) and when you're in a boat and there's nothing else to look at, that choppy water is the deal, it fills one's experience, it is important. But when one is aware of...the vastness beneath and how anything can stop any time, one is not so distracted by patterns on the surface. They seem to have placed themselves into perspective. They start to feel superficial, inconsequential.

How do healthy people deal with it, with their friends and family dying off over the years? Are they just sadder? Is there insight into life and death? Does it make them more loving, more appreciative, or more bitter?

P.S. Here is what I've been putting on my scalp at night for maximum greasy hair effect: Spring Wind Burn Creme

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