Death and Love and That Special Day of the Year

15 Feb

I spent time with death and love these past few days.

Last Friday I was at a lovely, memorial mass for a firecracker-of-a lady that had recently passed away. The aunt of my dear friend and co-Mom, “Auntie” was in her 90’s when she died.

Without religious training, not one yoga class, not a single retreat, darshan, sesshin, vision-quest, vision board, life-coaching session, visit to a shrink, no anti-depressants or anxiety meds, no years of finding herself, Auntie lived as love every waking moment of her life.

She was what you would call the “maiden Aunt”. Never married and with no children of her own, she loved and cared for several generations of her family’s children. Her great-niece named her child after her beloved Auntie.

Her heart never stiffened or shrunk despite loss and pain. She lived through poverty, depression, world wars, death and more death, poverty, uncertain times, broken hearts, caring for her parents, hard, and unrelenting work.

At family gatherings, she was always the center of a circle of love. She was interesting and interested. Because of that, even the youngest family members would hang out with her. She accepted everybody as they were, without judgments or criticism. She was always positive. She never gossiped or spoke badly of anyone, even when they had left the room.

At my friend’s wedding 20 some-odd years ago, Auntie danced to “New York New York” and cleared the dance floor. Her Rockette-style high kicks at the end of the song were so exuberant; we insisted the DJ play the song again so she could reprise her performance.

Auntie continued to radiate love even when she lost her eyesight. Even when she couldn’t get around on her own. Even when her care was completely in the hands of others. She simply lived as love. Always.

At her memorial, I learned of another death; the 27-year old son of a friend’s friend – full of despair he had shot himself.

I have a son near to his age.

Later in the day I received news of another death. A 15-year old boy at a local high school had taken a running jump off a school building during school.

My youngest son, the same age,  has friends at that school.

Still later – the death of Whitney Houston. So famous and loved for singing, “learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all…”

I had to sit and ponder…..it took several days. Valentine’s Day came and went…

So many people in pain. So many people suffering from loneliness; loss; fear.

Fear or Love. It’s one or the other.

Love is expansive and inclusive; like Auntie.

Fear shuts us down and keeps us stuck.  Makes it near impossible to see the possibility of hope or change. Fear makes it difficult to ask for or accept help. Fear shuts us down and keeps us in the house, ignoring the ringing phone.

Fear makes us think we are different from others; that “I’m the only one feeling this way.” Fear compares and we always come up short.

Fear insists we look for something to immediately numb the pain; a drink, a cupcake, a dozen cupcakes, sex, cutting, piercing, a pill, more pills, a gun, a leap.

Fear tells me, “Laura, you have nothing to contribute to this world.”

Love tells me, “Laura, go ahead – press ‘post’.”

Love is not a created day that rolls around once a year. Love is not chocolate and flowers once a year. Love is not finding that special someone that completes you.  Love is not a small Tiffany-blue or Cartier-red box tied up with a bow.

Love is not an external.

Love is an inside job. It begins with loving-kindness for yourself first and then loving-kindness for  everyone dear to you, then everyone around you, then everyone in the world, then every thing in the world.

Loving-kindness is compassion in action.

Loving-kindness sees no separation between you and me or us and them.

I am that – That I am.

I am you. You are me.

You are in pain. I am in pain.

I am love. You are loved.

Not just February 14th, but every day of the year.

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8 Responses to “Death and Love and That Special Day of the Year”

  1. Lisa Mahri February 15, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    This is beautiful ! Your Auntie was a great lady and your words of her beautiful and sincere… My Grandma was one of those ladies Also that lived as love… Love this!^.^

    • lauraelizabethlove February 16, 2012 at 2:23 am #

      Hi Lisa~
      She was my Auntie by marriage. Your grandmother was a natural Love too? That must be where you get it from!
      XO Laura

  2. Emma Molina-ynequez February 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Laura thank you for this re-count of the week that was, I wrote on FB “STOP IT, JUST STOP IT” feeling the death of so many, that I could not keep up, mentally, emotionally and physically it became exhausting… just like your story, I wondered why so many so fast, and for some way too soon: the day that Drew jumped to his death, I was at Walgreens, I saw two young boys sitting, in shock, I stopped and asked them Why did they look that way, and they told me that a girl ( they were not sure at the time) just killed herself at CV High…so they were feeling like you and I about death,
    We have Youth Soul-Workers under my supervision here for our Young Community for these reasons that plague so many souls, Molly, Kenneth, & Adi are in their 20’s they once attended Crescenta Valley High School, they can relate on all levels of pain, loneliness & saddness, but have chosen to be of service; they are available to console, spiritually: My heart cries out loud!!!
    Then there is Auntie, people like her who “Live the Vida Loca”, I want to go out that way I want, someone like you to write those things about Me the way you wrote about her, what an Honor it is to hear such Praise; to Live Life with Gusto with every breath I take, knowing God, and Loving as if its my last day on Earth with you and everyone I Love. Thank you for this beautiful Share, much love to you Laura perhaps Death is a Mystery? Rev. Emma BodyNSoul/Que Linda Btq./Que Linda Tu Studios of La Crescenta

    • lauraelizabethlove February 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

      thank you Rev.Emma. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for the soul work that you have brought into being. Thank you for your praise.

      Death is a bit of a mystery, I agree. Aren’t we fortunate that love isn’t?

      Much love to you!

  3. sharon mayberry February 18, 2012 at 1:26 am #

    I responded to this SOMEwhere. can’t decipher FB any more. I cried, as is becoming my usual response. also sent to to my cousin Rita (whom i have never met) as she had been righteously grousing on FB earlier in day re: revolting amounts of money spent on this dubious holiday. It was such a kick. when I read her post, I sympathized and Eureka (light bulb on top of head) realized I could share my feelings by sending her your blog, which she felt an immediate sympatico with. Incidents like this are what I like about FB. Not all the hassles, where i don’t know what I’m doing and where I can’t find anything or anybody w/o major mishagosh, (sic). Keep on writing and I’ll keep on looking and trying to spread word according to Laura whenever I a able. xoS

    • lauraelizabethlove February 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

      I’m smiling with you Auntie Sharon. As challenging as FB is for you, figuring out all the doo-hickies etc. of wordpress is for me! We’re in it together!

      Thank you for reading and sharing me with Rita. We can gripe about FB and yet it’s allowed us to connect deeply with people we’ve never met. I love that!

      One day, you and I will meet. Until then, I’ll keep plowing through the mishagosh (sp) if you will!

      Love from your west-coast niece.

  4. Cynthia Tasker February 19, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    I love that you wrote about our dear, sweet Auntie. I have been wanting to post something about her passing on FB or somewhere, but as usual, didn’t have the time, couldn’t think of what to say, thought it might seem weird, or any one of the many reasons why I never got around to it. What you wrote was perfect and described her perfectly. I cried and laughed. Thank you for reminding me what love can be when fear doesn’t get in the way. I love you more than my big bix of See’s chocolates in a red heart shaped box!!! Cindy.

    • lauraelizabethlove February 21, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

      I was so moved at her memorial to hear the stories of her life and love. Auntie was such a joy to be around and what a natural example of living as love.

      When I’m afraid, I’m going to ask myself “what would Auntie do?”.

      You better save me some of that chocolate girlfriend!!!

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