Friday, August 11, 2006

pop, where are you?

Over the last couple of years I’ve been with two dear people as they passed from life to … wherever …

'Now-age' people (as new-age folks now like to be called) say the body’s just a vessel. We are more than flesh and bones. We are spirit; we are essence; we are one with the universe. We don’t die. We live into infinity. Christians tell you the body dies, but the spirit lives on and passes to a greater heavenly arena where they promise salvation. Buddhists believe we’re reborn to learn our past mistakes. Jews say we’ll have a place in the world to come. And Islam preaches the attainment of eternal bliss in the hereafter.

I never understood any of this until the day my aunt died. And I still don’t. But just minutes after my aunt passed, I was mystified. Standing by her side, I cradled her tiny, dry, withered hand in one of mine, sheltering it with the other. No matter how hard I looked, or how closely I leaned in to her still face, I could no longer see her. “Where have you gone, Catherine? Where are you?

Eight months later I sat with one of the most handsome, classy, vibrant men I’ve known, as he bravely slipped away. I draped across his footballer shoulders and tightly wrapped my arms around him, swallowing tears I knew he wouldn't welcome. But it wasn’t him I hugged. He’d already left.


At that very moment, I was gutted—yet bewildered. “Pop. Where are you? Where have you gone?” I pressed my cheek against his, then kissed his forehead, now pallid and relaxed of life’s stresses. Only minutes before, he’d mustered the last of his strength to give one final instruction, “You have to let me go. Let. Me. Go.” And go he did

I went back to the hospice the following morning where staff had laid my father in clean PJ’s, tucked tightly between crisp white sheets. He died just before his 69th birthday. Nurses had slipped the card I’d given to him between his hands; hands that were strong and athletic, artistic and gentle; hands that had held mine as a child, keeping me safe and secure; hands now void of life that lay neatly folded across his chest. I wrapped my hands over his and squeezed them as I leaned into his cheek to kiss him goodbye. But he wasn’t there.

I don’t know where Dad went when he left that body. I don’t have a faith. I don’t believe in an omniscient being. I don’t believe in rebirth. Or a life hereafter promising eternal bliss. I have no answers and I don’t believe I ever will. I just know that it’s the anniversary of Pop’s death next week, and as I miss him every day, my heart still whispers, “Pop, where are you?


18 comments:

gincoleaves said...

What a sad but touching story!
Yes, there's so much we don't
understand about life and death,
but it's soooo painful to lose
a loved one.

Anonymous said...

Your blog touched my soul. I lost my father 7 year back and never felt same since.

DesLily said...

It doesn't matter if you believe or not... it's always hard to loose a parent. (to loose anyone, but a parent most of all). I don't think one ever looses the need for the parent to be there for us no matter how old we get.

Sorry for your loss...

thank you for coming to my journal, however I stopped putting the memes on that journal because no one seemed to find them !! Now the journal I have is my original one: http://herethereandeverywhere2ndedition.blogspot.com/
I haven't seen a good meme going around lately though.

Lisa Goldstein/Kelly Kelly said...

This made me actually cry. It was the part about your Dad's hands. Wow. A powerful piece. I feel I don't have any answers for myself either on these questions. But I hope you find some comfort. I am sorry about your losses.

Lisa

keewee said...

How beautifully you have written your thoughts. I have lost both my father and my son and hope they are together somewhere. It all is a great mystery, one we will have to wait to find out about.
Thank you for stopping by Keewee's Corner.

twinkles said...

your story is very touching... it moved me. though my parents splited up, its worst if one is lost. be strong and god bless you

deirdre said...

I ask the same thing about my sister all the time. I call to her for answers and hope to get just a little glimpse.

Kiyotoe said...

We can only hope and pray that one day we will be reunited with our loved ones and just the thought of that not happening should force us to appreciate and enjoy them while we are together in this place......

Beautiful.

John Ivey said...

This is my first visit, and the first post that I've read of yours, and I must say that you write beautifully. With that said, the subject matter of this post is quite interesting, and I agree with you as far as not believing the various myths that religions puts forth regarding afterlives. I believe as my dad did that when you're dead, you're dead. We are the only animals on earth that know that we are going to die, and for most people including myself it can be a scary proposition, and to believe that we live on in some sort of afterlife can be very comforting. But in the end, I believe we pass into the same state as before we were born, that of nonexistence. With that mindset, it makes me realize that my life here on earth is quite precious and not to be squandered. It is all that I have.

Anonymous said...

You wrote so honestly about a very painful situation and I agree with previous poster (postee?) that you raised interesting questions.

Sad but very beautiful. Thank you for sharing your journey. fc

Yasmine Galenorn said...

Oh, ~V~, I knew the anniversary was coming close. Your entry is a tribute that goes a lot deeper than even tears or all the platitudes people always say or think of.

I'm here if you need to talk, you know I've walked this path before with my mother and sister...you know I'm always here to listen. Come to tea, to talk or not talk, to just be...

~Y~

e4c5 said...

This is truly touching. My own father passed away five years ago. Time helps but does not completely heal.

Lhonez said...

My condolences, however, they have gone to a better place, without pain, where it is so peaceful you can't imagine. If you got a minute read my story.

http://myothergeminiself.blogspot.com/2006/05/it-happened-march-8th-2002.html

Bibi said...

Wow ...thank you all so much for your comments and kind words. I know this is part of life--something we all go through--and we all deal with it in our own way. I want you to know that I truly appreciate your insights ... ~v

e4c5 said...

Thanks for clearing up the mystery about the movie. I have Scottish ancestry myself so that's interesting to know.

andrea said...

Beautiful post, Bibi. I've been back three times now. It's a wonderful reminder of what's important!

Charles said...

Whereever he is, just believe that he loves you.

Bibi said...

Thank you Andrea ... and Charles. I appreciate your sentiment.