Sunday, 19 February 2012

Thinking of my brother

I just came home from the seafront, from walking along the sand and shingle watching the sun go down and the stars appear. Walking along as the day became a beautiful clear night, accompanied by my little jumpy dog and the soothing lapping waves. Thinking of my brother.

I knew this would be a difficult week. The anniversary of my brother's death. This will be three years though time plays weird games with the mind and in some thoughts it is as if I saw him just yesterday and it's unbelievable that he has gone from the world. In other thoughts, it feels lifetimes ago and a distant universe. It is an anniversary not just of his death, but of my entire life, my family and relationship with the world, changing completely. "She changes everything she touches and everything she touches changes" - God/Goddess, Mystery, Spirit, whatever we call the thing that is bigger than all of this... works in ways that are so far outside the perimeter of our language, or at times, our ability to cope, yet words, art, music, breath... can be a thread thrown across the chasm to connect us to what is strong enough to carry us through. 

Last year, it was writing that helped me to get through that anniversary night of the 19th. I wrote a poem to him, which was a piece of magic to carry my love to him. I threw it like a thread back to that night, to weave it around him so that he would not be so alone. It will help me this year too because it says what will always need to be said. I find that writing and creativity is a means of survival, of sanity, of affirmation in life, and all week I’ve been working on a picture made out of fabric, grief, love, remembrance, images and words. Infusing it with music and song while I sewed. And silence.

It is a process which will never end. It’s a process to fill a little, the hollow aching absence which breaks my heart, with something tangible, anchoring, knowable.

I wish I could know more about why and how and whether all the ‘what ifs’ that torture us would have made any difference. It is a daily spiritual practice to make peace with not knowing, to never having all the answers and to be compassionate, particularly towards myself.

I throw all this out there, to toss on the winds of the www. cosmos, not minding really who reads, because I do it as an offering for my brother Paul on this night. I do it for myself alive in this moment still opening my heart to life, and for anyone else who knows grief and may find some solidarity and brother/sisterhood as I have found many times in the words of others.

And, as has become an essential act of empowerment on nights like this, I light a candle.    

   I light a candle and close my eyes.
   Memory brings you
   so achingly close
   and the world
   could almost be
   normal again...

   ...For all the words
   we never said
   and the ones we did,
   I hold you in love.
   For all the times
   we never shared
   and the ones we did,
   I hold you in love.
   For all the reasons
   for feeling guilt
   and forgiveness,
   I hold you in love.
   For all the reasons why
   which we’ll never know
   and the ones we do,
   I hold you in love.

   You opened the gate between the worlds
   and stepped right through –
   now it is always open
   and it has changed everything.
   May we all be held
   in love. 

   (from the poem written for my brother this day last year) 

   The words in the picture were inspired by a song by Bliss - 'Say Goodbye'.