Friday, June 20, 2014

All Are In the Self I See

When one lives life as a sacrament, it can become too intense for others to enjoy. Upon the death of my youngest brother, my mother curled up in my arms and wailed that the last words she had shared with Albert had been harsh. I got it in my mind that I should live every moment with every person as if it was to be my last. I wanted every encounter to end on a high note.

The more I loved a person, the more important it became to me that we would never let the sun set on our anger. Other people don't act like this; they trust that the relationship will continue no matter what words are left in conflict. I have consequently become a big burden for others to bear.

The near-deaths of several friends and family members and the losses of so many relationships during Hurricane Katrina only added to my sense that I had to end every day with peace among those with whom I usually share good will. To say that I became obsessed with peace is simply an understatement of immense magnitude.

All of this was also impacted by the whole heaven and hell system of my mother's religion. She said that she believed that only those following her faith would make it to heaven, but her child died without notice enough to "get right with God" before he passed away from us. The same scenario subsequently happened when a sister and older brother died. All of them had moved on from the faith of our father and mother.

It became totally unbearable when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. She is a devout follower of the Christian religion in her religious, professional and personal lives. I, who follow no religion, still had enough of the fear that informed my mother's faith that I became adamant about finding a way to assure that my daughter and I would share peace in the hereafter. I could find no words to assist us in sharing our beliefs and I didn't know how I would celebrate her life with her and others if I didn't have the proper words to describe what she meant to me and those around her.

I also didn't know how to handle the fact that her religion teaches that people like me don't see our loved ones after they have passed from this earth. For years I have pondered this problem in solitude, giving up relationships rather than continue to run the daily risk of offending someone I love. And talking faith and religion is the fastest way to offend. If I don't interact with people, I certainly can't offend them.

What I came to realize is that energy shared with another lives on in each person, place, or thing that we encounter. No matter how much I may have fought with another, the good memories will always come back when I least expect them. Their energy has become a part of me that I also observe in others. Every time I cook, I feel my mothers in my kitchen with me. When I write, I feel my daddy informing how I think about things. Every beautiful day brings back my baby brother, and ironing includes the person who taught me, my older brother.

I never visit our bayou family without taking along my deceased sister who shared in their hospitality when we were sent to the country for summer vacations. My daddy, who my sister fought every minute of her life, is also laughing along with me in his sister's living room. I don't know what others may see from their places  in the hereafter, but I know that I will never stop seeing them in myself and in so many people that I know.

Watch out world, here I come again!