Hello Beautiful You,
We promise not to write about death every week, but I couldn’t acknowledge Iyengar’s passing and not my mother Doris. It was easier to write about him first.
My mother died three weeks ago after a long journey with Alzheimer?s disease. Because her old self left years ago and her death was expected, I didn’t realize I would go through all the layers of grief. These last weeks have been dotted with sudden memories, sadness, intensity, confusion, disorientation, anger, shock and reevaluation. There has also been understanding, release, laughter, freedom, epiphanies, creativity, connection and joy. I’m still taken off guard by the outpouring of support from friends I didn’t know I had, or the knowing gestures and deepening of existing relationships. It is a wild ride. Death makes everything more alive.
Many of you know exactly what it is like to lose a parent or be a caregiver to one. Some of you lost a parent to a circumstance other than death, or are struggling to relate to a difficult parent. Others have sweet relationships with your parents that you nurture tenderly. Lately I have thought of you all in these unique situations - you are so strong. These are intense times. A parent-child relationship is like no other. It is unfolding this way to help us feel more.
Hold the lessons close if you can’t hold the person.
My appreciation for life has tripled, and I credit Doris. Death makes everything more vivid. Isn’t that true for the death of anything - a job, marriage, pet, friendship, community, habit, or cherished ideal? When the routine, familiarity and dependency die, everything begins fresh and new. Sometimes sad but still new.
My mother was not perfect but she was nurturing and selfless. She was the gentle matriarch of so many families, both our own huge clan and also as a foster parent for over twenty years. She adored children and was easily silly and childlike herself. She wanted me to be a mother. She never pressured or made me feel inadequate. She trusted my path; this helped me trust it too. We can give this to each other ? learn to trust each others’ paths. We can give it to ourselves too - trust in whatever is unfolding around us.
A month before she died, my two young friends and I filmed this video Joycast. With brand new grieving-eyes, I realized later that the messages in it are classic Doris:
You are a leader.
You are beautiful.
Go to bed.
Carolyn’s kids captured her Spirit here and they didn’t even know it. What a comfort that her message is alive and sparkling in the eyes of the beautiful people around me. I hope it makes your day.