Updated: Oct 31, 2019
Two years ago today there was an earthquake in Japan which was so powerful is shifted the world on its' axis. And my mum died in my arms.
On a bright spring day, as bodies and lives were being washed away, I stroked my mum’s face and told her it was okay to let go now. And for the last time in her life, she listened to me. She had wanted to wait until spring. A final winter of fighting leukaemia had been tougher than a hoar frost on a fresh shoot. She said she needed to know the daffodils would return. She waited for the first days of the yellow to burst through and left us that morning.
I just wanted to write a little note to let you know I’m doing okay. I used to use Twitter as a place I could let thoughts escape; now there are lots of you reading and my moments of sadness cause more concern than they deserve. I’m okay, I don’t wobble too often, and when I do, it occasionally escapes here; because it’s easier than picking up the phone and having to find other things to say or trying to reassure your friends that yes it may be hard, but you know you’ll be okay really.
I’m a buddhist, it’s part of my faith that everything will be okay really. In fact, if I put enough effort in, it’ll inevitably be better than okay, because it’s what you do with stuff, not what happens which counts. I believe in reincarnation; but not the retribution, be good and you’ll come back with a mansion or be bad and you’ll come back as a burger-bound horse kind of way, but in cellular reincarnation. The cells which made my mum have not ceased to exist, they push up the the daffodils on her grave, there might be some of her in that snail who is sliding on by or maybe some of her got muddled up with the fog that joins my tears this time of year. I have an appreciation for death because it will enable us to become anything. I love that I may continue my existence as a piece of litter, a window or a glint in someone’s eye. My atoms will become a tiny part of a whole load of other people’s dreams and journeys.
And I’m alright with that. Death doesn’t really bother me too much. I’m trying to develop the same lack of fear about living my life to the best of my potential. I think fear keeps our lives small. It’s tricks us into thinking the known is always more safe than trying to strive to make ourselves more happy. It doesn’t mean bereavement is easy, but it does mean I value it instead of being frightened.
No human in the history of time has ever faced a life without obstacles; Exceedingly few have escaped without having to face the death of a loved one or deal with their own mortality. These hardships are what gives life it’s value. It is the tough stuff we grow from the most. It nourishes our development. It’s not easy, but it is essential.
So I don’t get distressed that I miss my mum. I just miss her. I miss being able to tell her things, I miss knowing she is at home, or hearing long winded tales of neighbours I’ve never met, I miss her ability to say exactly the wrong thing, I even miss when she was really ill, because then my life was nothing but being love and care to my family. I miss being able to tell her the things her death has taught me.
I miss being able to tell her that I’m okay. That even when I don’t feel the answers, I know I’ve got the solutions within me.
So I’m telling you instead. But I’m not just telling you I’m okay, I’m telling you that you’re going to be okay too. I’d probably put money on you being far more than okay, in fact. Because its always okay in The End.
Living a life to try to create the best possible circumstances for peace, safety, happiness and care is the best possible testament with which I could honour not only my mum, but the long line of people who have strived for survival and happiness that I carry in my genes.
I wish you, you personally, peace in all of it’s forms, I wish you peace in your heart, home, head and health, I wish you to see the best possible you whom you can be and I wish you happiness beyond your expectations.
And next time you see a daffodil, please raise a smile and be thankful for this incredible life and the fortune you have to share your journey with all the people you hold dear.
And if you can, because you can, call your mum and tell her you love her.
“When I make a pot of oolong tea, I put tea leaves into the pot and pour boiling water on them. Five minutes later there is tea to drink. When I drink it, oolong tea is going into me. If I put in more hot water, making a second pot of tea, the tea from those leaves continues to go into me. After I have poured out all the tea, what will be left in the pot is just the spent tea leaves. The leaves that remain are only a very small part of the tea. The tea that goes into me is a much bigger part of the tea. It is the richest part. We are the same; our essence has gone into our children, our friends and the entire universe. We have to find ourselves in those directions and not in the spent tea leaves. When we learn to do this, we can find the people we have loved and lost.” Thich Nhat Hanh