This morning, we had a guest minister in church. He had known Steve (in fact, I had forgotten it, but the last time he was here was for the memorial service last year). He mentioned how he still missed him (It really does seem almost everyone loved Steve; I think the key was that he made people feel special, like he specially cared about them. Probably because he did). He also mentioned something about "recurrence of cancer" and the penny kind of dropped - I never knew the reason for his death and I wondered. But maybe, maybe it was better he went fast and didn't suffer through months of chemo or whatever.
But even though I have that bit of closure, I feel a little sad again. Losses are like scars: they heal up, sort of, eventually. But then sometimes something happens to bump them, and they hurt again.
And I also was thinking about an article I read suggesting that, particularly for people middle-aged or older, having someone they were close to die suddenly has the added frisson of bringing up their own mortality, and that you can sort of suffer a type of trauma from it. (And yes, for me, the sudden death made me worry more acutely about other loved ones: family, friends, anyone I cared about who was in precarious health). And that it takes longer for us to get over it. And yeah, maybe.
And I had also been thinking a lot about a saying I heard, about "the cup is already broken" - meaning we should enjoy what we have in the here and now and not think of the future where that thing may be gone, and that is something I have a very hard time, personally, with.
And yes, it's true: I need to live in the moment better, and I also need to accept that sometimes stuff breaks or wears out and even if you *really liked* it, you just have to let it go. (I hang on to stuff for a long time. Part of it is I'm cheap and also try to be conservationist: not-replacing something that is still functional is even better than recycling).
But anyway. These things were swirling around in my head today.
I used to write poetry ages and ages ago...mostly in high school, when I had more time for such things. Most of it was pretty bad, but then, probably, most poetry most people who write poetry write is pretty bad, and the secret is to write a lot of it, and to work on honing it, and only show the best to the world.
Well, anyway. I sat down after the workout (doing the workout, oddly, made some of the lines sort themselves out in my head) and wrote it out.
I'm still not entirely satisfied, and because I don't trust my own judgement of things, maybe it is terrible and dumb.....but it filled a need for me today.
(It doesn't really fit a pattern. At least I got it to rhyme though I'm not 100% happy with the scansion and I didn't feel like taking the time to try to force-fit it into a form like a sonnet or something. I've never really been able to do that except for things like haiku, which are short and don't require meter or rhyme).
So anyway. This is partly for Steve, even though he'll never see it.
The Persistence of Attachment
(“To me this cup is already broken. Because I know its fate, I can enjoy it fully here and now. And when it’s gone, it’s gone.” Ajahn Chah)
The cup is already broken
The dress is already torn
The person you love is already dead
So there’s really no sense to mourn.
Wrong the attachment to worldly things,
Both Jesus and the Buddha taught.
But every loss for me still stings,
And lost joys stay in my thoughts
Living in the moment is the key
But that, I have never mastered
From my attachments, it’s hard to get free
And each new loss feels a disaster
I learn to glue the pieces of the cup
(From that, the art of Kintsugi was born)
The dress, I alter or sew it up
But the person, I simply must mourn.
Over time, the loss becomes less,
But there are things that revive it
And while I fix the cup or the dress
The loved one’s loss, I must simply survive it
I want to say I like the poem (I do!) but is it odd to say one likes something that is sad? I think you've done a very nice job of it. and I think it really conveys the feeling well. Thank you for sharing.
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