As Witness to Life

Death came twice this week.
One after living many years; one after living only a few. One is carried in my children’s blood; one I’ve never met face to face. One taught me about what has been; one taught me about what could be.

A caterpillar constructs its own coffin, dissolves itself, then rises again.

I try to accept that what life shows me, I may only witness, not have.
But I have so many wants.
I wanted a great grandmother to always laugh and tell her stories.
I wanted a beloved friend to have more days with her miraculous creation.
I wanted no pain.
I may want, forever.
But that is my lament, and shows how grief makes me selfish, even as I cry for another.

Death is difficult to witness. We try to ease the struggle but cannot do the work; our people go without us for the final act, so that they may emerge into what we cannot fathom.

I have witnessed great beings, old and young. I am grateful.

Say not in grief that she is no more
but say in thankfulness that she was
A death is not the extinguishing of a light,
but the putting out of the lamp
because the dawn has come.
~Rabindranath Tagore


Image description: Two silver butterflies with tinges of blue and yellow, perched on a flower. One is smaller. Source: Wikipedia Commons

6 Comments on “As Witness to Life”

  1. Choosing says:

    You have put your grief in beautiful words. I wish you strength and I hope that the love of the people surround you will help to ease the pain.

  2. Val Nelson says:

    Dear Ji – I am supposed to be dressing to leave for the airport, but I opened your beautiful piece and can barely move. I am sorry for both of your losses this week, and I thank you for your elegant expression of your feelings. Hopefully I will see you and your most wonderful family tomorrow, and then we can share what can be shared together.. With love – val

  3. Claudia says:

    Dear Jisun,
    I read this and cried for I understood your grief even if these two deaths were not in my circle.
    Wish I could give you a hug. You will be in my thoughts

  4. gracesgrist says:

    thank you. this is always so mystifying. looking forward to the time when there will be no more darkness, and no more death. hugs

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