Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Precious life......

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

What will you do with your one wild and precious life? This past weekend was the funeral of a friend. This particular family has suffered its share and then some of grief. Four years prior we attended the funeral of their teenage son. This time we said good-bye to the father. How very sad. This man who had a very big heart was gone at the young age of 44. Three children now without a father. The grief was and is very heavy.

Your heart breaks for those left to grieve, for questions you can't answer, for pain you can't take away. Hundreds came to the wake, to say their goodbyes, the church was full for the funeral. I'm always hoping that when someone passes they are able to see how much they were loved. Love and grief were every where.

At the cemetary, during the burial, I looked up. Into a cold January sky, as the clouds were parting, the sun and blue sky struggling to peek through, and the wind whipping the temps frigid. What a time to be alive. To feel the sting on your cheeks, the cold penetrating your lungs. I didn't realize until that moment how when I was drinking, I never would have been aware of those small details. I'm pretty sure I was numb to just about anything. But on this particular day they were so very clear.

Afterwards at the "celebration of life" we sat with friends, and recalled memories, and laughed, and hugged, and cried, and loved. So much love in that place. How deeply grateful I was to be in that moment. To be alive. To have been given a chance to start again. To not have settled for what I considered the "norm". To know that there was something better waiting for me. My life.

Later in the evening we celebrated our son Sam's birthday. It's always ironic how death holds hands with life. To see his sweet face lit by the candles on his cake. The excitement openning gifts. The taste of cake and ice cream in my mouth. As I crawled into bed Saturday night, my head was numb. My eyes heavy. I turned to my favorite poet; Mary Oliver. The book opened to the page which contained the above poem. How fitting it was, how comforting.

In this short span of life may all of us realize just how precious this life is. May we not get to the point of thinking there is no way out. May we feel cold on our cheeks, laughter in our belly's and love in our bones. That one single moment opened my eyes to just how awesome life can be. Regardless if its in a moment of happiness or an intense moment of sadness. It's still life. It's still worth being in the moment. As yourself, "What will you do with your one wild and precious life?" I know the answer for myself......I choose to be alive. Alive in all the moments that come my way, and I hope you choose the same. Blessings.....


  1. and death often hold hands like that...i am sorry for your friend but hope you can carry good memories...happy birthday to your son...and life is surely precious...

  2. Wow. Unbelievable post. I love how you took us through all of those moments. So mindful, so inspiring. Opening up the book and having that poem be the one you see first. Love that poem.

    I am sorry for your loss. 44 is way too young...And happy birthday to Sam! Life is precious. Thanks.

  3. So sorry for your loss ~ but what a lovely way to cope. I LOVE that poem by Mary Oliver. Had it posted above my desk at work for many years. I needed a dose of beauty today. Thank you. And happy blissful birthday to your son!

    You just write SO well, girl! I love the way you turn the sentence pieces into poetry, word-music. "...ironic how death holds hands with life." Ummm, that is just beautifully constructed.

    Sorry about your community's loss. Age 44 is SO young. And a family which will grieve for a long time--young children...tragic! Makes me feel guilty for living so much longer, having contributed SO LITTLE.


  5. Have I told you how much I love you? I'm sorry for your loss and so glad you've ALIVE and living! Happy bday my Sober Sista for life