I was 16 when I lost the first person of great personal relevance to me - alright, it was Kurt Cobain and I was under the influence of great angst and the grunge movement - true, I had experienced the loss of my grandparents prior to Kurt's suicide, but those deaths were easier to reconcile with the natural course of life and the truth of mortality. Kurt's death was different, it was very personal to me and, combined with natural 16 year old self-involvement, directed me into a major period of introspection and grief (not that I needed any help, being naturally prone to a kind of introversion bordering on reclusivity and agoraphobia).
During this time I came to believe that every individual is on this earth, in this particular lifetime, to learn a series of lessons or skills and that when these lessons are learned, these skills acquired, it is time to say goodbye to this life and head on back to the afterlife.
Sure, this might certainly be a rationalization for the loss of a life like Kurt Cobain's, young, talented, troubled and so very wasted. However, the loss of others since that time have only strengthened my belief in this cycle of reincarnation and the loss of my mother now has cemented it.
There is no way I can begin to accept my loss without this.
My mother's death has added one more component to my own understanding of life and death. My mother died in exactly the way she wanted; she did not grow old, she did get sick, she did not suffer. She passed quickly and relatively peacefully (as peaceful for her as it is difficult for us).
I have to believe that that's because she was a person whose soul has seen many lives, has learned many lessons and acquired many skills and because of that she get to choose her exit from this world.
I don't think I'll get to choose this time around but I hope that I am wise enough to accept all the lessons my mother tried to pass on to me because I know she had a lot to teach.
It keeps occurring to me, in a beat me over the head and smack me in the face kind of way, the total disparity between the almost instantaneous way in which I verbally began to refer to my mother in the past tense while on the other hand my mind, my imagination, my thoughts continue to function as though my mother was still present in my day-to-day life. Of course I'm struck by this often because my mother is pretty much all I think about these days.
So, what is the deal? Is it two separate parts of mind engaging on different levels? Has the part of my brain that controls my speech accepted her death and filed it away rationally? This is an interesting theory given that I am not known for my rational, logical way of speaking; in fact I'm more known for tripping all over my words and making an ass out of myself.
Does your conscious, walking, talking self adapt more quickly, maybe in order to deal with cultural mores - since I can imagine the looks I'd be getting if I was out and about referring to my mother in present tense constantly - while the subconscious remains mired in the goop of dealing with and trying to come to terms with mortality?
I chose "Sweet Water" as the name of my blog after an early spring day spent with my mother at a local maple syrup festival. Sweet Water is the name the Native Americans gave to the sweet sap they discovered flowing through the maple trees that were (and are) so abundant in the area. A mythology was developed around the maple tree and the process of sugaring to create maple syrup, the sweet water itself was thought to be a gift from the Great Spirit, the lifeblood of the tree, sent to sustain the lifeblood of the people through long northern winters.
At the time the name held for me the beauty found in nature and life in its simplest form. It's something I strive to slow down and enjoy every day.
Today the name means more to me than I could have guessed at the time.
My mother passed away on July 15th.
That day at the festival was one of our last as mother and daughter and even better as best friends out enjoying time alone together. I am still in shock over passing as it was so sudden and without warning but I am also finding myself focusing on the strength of our relationship and the beauty of every moment of our lives spent together. Sweet Water.
My mother knew the secret of Sweet Water, she was so attuned to the important things in life, family, friends, nature, love, simplicity.
I knew this blog would be about my life somehow...but I never expected life to be what it is at this moment. I have next to no idea where I'm going from this point, my whole world is upside down and every plan I had made is being re-worked as I write. I've got no choice but to keep moving.