When I was finishing my bachelor’s degree in my late thirties, I took a few studio art courses. I refrained from telling anyone I had moved to New York to pursue my art career. I only told people I was an art major who planned to be a teacher. I remember being in ceramics class, chatting with a young woman about some future plans. With absolute certainty she said, “Oh, I plan to be famous by then.” I was old enough to understand and let her be with her future of fame.
I had a good long span of planning to be famous. I felt that would make it okay for me to be mortal. Nowadays, I would love to run into some sudden wealth so I can be free to not work anymore, but fame? No. I want to do some creative work, but I no longer need to try to make a permanent mark in history, lest I disappear after I die. I do not believe any of us die, anyway. I never really have, but Susanna’s passing has put eternity into the forefront of my life, solid as cement.
I am convinced we are all really adrift in an arena of some type in a different dimension. Maybe it is like a marketplace, or a playing field or a flowery meadow, depending on what is going on at the moment. There is a reality beyond flesh and states of matter, and this too is ours, together. Everything we see and do here is real and important, but not nearly all there is. We earth people frequently climb back into bed and hide, covering ourselves in denial of our mortality, the fact that all we do in our day-to-day is temporary. This is okay but futile. The sun on our faces, the connections and conversations, the way we love our children enough to jump out of our skins, none of that is lost. But there is an unspoken promise whispered in the wind, sung about by the birds, that there is more.
This coming Wednesday will be one year since Susanna died. I am riding waves of grief, anxiety, and sometimes dizzy nausea. Family and friends have asked how I will spend the day. Spending the day is different than riding out the emotions. Both will come and go. The only idea I have come up with to help so far is to ask that anyone who wants to honor Susanna plant something in the earth (or in a pot or bucket if that works). Here on my blog, I would like to ask for something else, too.
When you remember my daughter, and I hope with all of my heart that you will, please make a promise to open your heart and mind to what you cannot see or understand with your usual earth mind. The twenty second of April will be Earth Day, but please make it a cosmic, all encompassing, out of this world kind of Earth Day. In the seeds, the soil and the cherry blossoms there are the secrets of everything both here and beyond. We are all together in this. Our loved ones who have passed, and all of the good forces, can love and help us. They speak a whispery language, but the words are there in good time. There is more to life than life.
Something I wrote last summer:
Vacation has started, the first summer without Sunshine. As per my plan, I have exercised and meditated this morning. The living room air conditioner is not in the window yet, so I can see the gentle and colorful passing of a person by the window, into the back yard. Could it be someone to read the meter? So happy and gentle for that. I go to the back door, wrestle the lock a bit to open it. There is a cloud of love outside. So still but with a feeling of “Yes, come out.” I follow like I have been set free without knowing I needed to be set free. Just a moment, into a perfect time. I walk around for only a minute which I could never have wished for or invited. Peace, like the world is new and I have never been there but have always been there. My mind returns to the logic of knowing I had seen a flash of pink, white and mint green (Sunshine’s party dress) pass the window. I have been to heaven in my back yard. Later I go back wishing for some small sign that she had really been there. I see a tangle of loose wires in a ball among Papi’s fix-it-stations. Colors pink, white and mint green. Thank you Sunshine.