A year ago in Mexico, on my friend Grace’s last hurrah trip before her death in May, I got up before the sun and went to my old house in Chuburna Puerto. I wanted to release some of my husband’s ashes into the sea. I was listening to music he loved to play as he walked on the beach and admiring the beautiful morning. It was gorgeous out. Not another soul on the sand in this tiny Yucatán fishing village.
The remarkable thing is that all I could think of was how very present he is in my life even while I was standing there holding him in my hands. It’s madness, really, to imagine that a little bag of my husband’s ashes has anything to do with the real Mike. I don’t always feel him distinctly. It’s more of an all-encompassing presence of love. And that makes sense given that there’s only one of us here, right? Where could he go, really?
So Mike’s old human suit is now mixed with the sand and waves in front of Casa de los Sueños, the house of our dreams. And I swear I could hear him laughing, delighted over it all and so fully aware that none of it matters in the end. These little rituals we perform to deal with the costumes we leave behind are sometimes comforting and often painful.
But it’s kind of like focusing on the peel of a perfect fruit while missing the sweet and juicy heart of the thing. I am so grateful for the transformation of the last five years. I think I am among the luckiest people on the planet to know what I know about life, the eternal nature of love, and the myth of death.
And as the most perfect addendum, the words of the Pure Love guides who inform the work of my dearest spiritual teacher, Suzanne Giesemann:
“What purpose serves a grave if the body is only a vessel for the soul? What purpose serves an urn? It provides a place or an object to focus one’s thoughts—a focus for one’s prayers or memories. It is meaningful for some to go to a grave or a place where ashes were scattered and to honor a life, but know that you can do that anytime and anywhere and those focused thoughts draw your loved one to your side. Memories are good, but they can also trigger unpleasantness. Focus on the love you have for your loved one now. They are always in your heart, here and now. Honor them if you like by visiting a grave or touching an urn, but honor them even more by acknowledging this true presence with you as you do so. The physical presence may be gone, but they are as present as ever as you honor them merely by saying aloud or in your thoughts, “I love you. Thank you for loving me.” April 11, 2018
It’s a beautiful world and it will break our hearts again and again. And then we are given angels to help us survive long enough to find the beauty once more.
What a gift it is now to live with the certainty that our people are always with us, that Love never dies. This is the foundation of my life today and I’m so grateful.