Slow Exhale

Many of the folks I know and care about are in the midst of letting loved ones go.  It’s all I can think about, when I sit down to write, but I don’t really know what to say.

My dad being a minister, death was a matter of course in our house and the rhythms of the funeral are intimately familiar for me.  And yet it’s fresh every time.

The thing that strikes me about dead bodies, that has always struck me, is how little they look like the people you know.  I remember sitting in my cousin’s car, listening to her tell me about the death of her father, and she said, “They told us that it would be like he went to sleep, but it wasn’t like that at all.  It was like he left, something that was him left, and what was in that bed was all wrong–the face looked wrong, the body looked wrong.

It’s, to me, one of the things that keeps me believing in some kind of animating force–call it a soul, if you will–that is both us and not us.  Because, when you die, that thing leaves and you can see it leave.  Sometimes you can even feel it leave.

I don’t know.  You know.  Nothing in the universe is lost.  It changes form, but it’s never really lost.

I believe that to be true of us as well.  We are not unique in the universe in that way.  I don’t think, anyway, and so I have to believe that even we just change form and stick around.

3 thoughts on “Slow Exhale

  1. When my dad was alive, he always got a kick out of the fact that at every single funeral visitation, there was always one person who would always say “well, don’t he look natural” — so, when I was standing in the receiving line at my Dad’s visitation, that one guy comes up, peer at Daddy and said “Don’t he look natural” — I did a double take, just waiting on Daddy to raise up & go “well, hell no, I’m dead.”

  2. You know. Nothing in the universe is lost. It changes form, but it’s never really lost.

    Thank you for this. You may never know how much I needed to hear that. Much love to you.

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