Sunday, February 24, 2019

Varieties Of February Experience: An Extended Morning Meditation and Celebration of Life Lived to the Fullest

The previous photos were taken from February 12 through February 15, 2019.

The following photos and videos were taken on February 16, 2019, throughout the day that a dear friend of mine had died peacefully early in the morning at age 78 in her senior living apartment, surrounded by her loving family.  In the early afternoon of February 16, her three daughters emailed her friends to let us know that she had died and to let us know about the memorial gathering planned for February 23.

Listen for red-winged blackbirds and robins and crows, among others.

Joyce loved animals.  Her last job was as a professional petsitter.  After surviving several recurrences of cancer, she continued petsitting until the last year of her life.  She was fond of my cat, Oboe.  When I looked up from the yoga mat this morning, Oboe appeared to have a "halo."  Saint Oboe? When I tried using a flash to brighten up the scene, the result was comical and would have delighted Joyce who had a wonderful sense of humor.  It delighted me.

The slide show of Joyce's life at the memorial gathering was accompanied by the music of Keb'Mo' and Taj Mahal, including:

When her daughters asked the roomful of gathered friends, most of them sober members of Alcoholics Anonymous, if they would like to share an experience they had with Joyce, a sober alcoholic woman in her 70s in fragile health said that she and Joyce shared a love of the blues, and that she would like to sing one of Joyce's favorite songs.  That tiny woman proceeded to sing out loud and clear, as if channeling Janis Joplin, even to the cackling laugh at the end of the song, this:

When she got to the part where Janis asks everyone to sing along, the entire room sang the rest of the song with her!

Below is a photo Joyce shared from the last month of her life, walking with one of her daughters.  She walked into and out of the Grand Canyon several times in the latter part of her life.  Her ashes will be scattered there along with the ashes of notes written by friends and family at the memorial gathering.

Below is another photo, taken as she sat in her hospice bed in her senior living apartment a few days before she took that walk in the sunshine on one of those in-between-snow-and-ice days we've experienced this February:

This morning I read this:

You don't have to do anything to keep the mind calm.  Just leave it alone.  Let it be.  That's the song you sing.  Let it be.  So be it.  Amen.  (Sri Swami Satchidananda)

Joyce did not belong to any religion and neither do I, but she was able to let her mind be and that was the song she sang.  I can still hear her silent song of unconditional love, humor, and gratitude for life.


Colette said...

I'm sorry for your loss. It's rough to lose people. It is hard to believe they are gone, and I struggle to believe in death. I'm not convinced there is an end to love. I find your last sentence to be reassuring.

am said...

Thank you for your kind words, Colette. Death is mysterious. It is hard to absorb the absence of someone who was so present, isn't it?

ellen abbott said...

a lovely eulogy for a departed friend.

Anonymous said...

What a loving beautiful tribute to your friend. May her memory be for a blessing. And yes, love lasts forever.

37paddington said...

This is such a beautiful tribute to the life of your friend. She sounds like a wonderful soul, whose travails made her kinder and deeper and more grateful. The fourth photo down of the clouds looks a but like Joyce is winking at you from the skies, wrapping you in her love.

Sabine said...

What a thoughtful and loving commemoration. Very moving.

Tara said...

I'm so sorry your Joyce is gone. Yes, what a mystery death is. And in the words of a song, "I'll just let the mystery be."

Your view is spectacular -- and as Joyce love the outdoors, so do you, and you've chosen a perfect place to live for it. She sounds like a very special woman, full of wisdom and loving family and friends. I love the music she asked for at her service. She sounds like my kind of gal.

beth coyote said...

XOXOX the brevity of life lets us enjoy it with vigor.

am said...

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments honoring the life of my friend, Joyce.