I sat quietly with my eyes closed. With a whoosh(!), I felt my entire being swept gently-yet-firmly backwards at a “starship-enterprise” warp speed. In rapid, repetitive wave patterns, I was swiftly moving away, gaining distance from something—as if to offer me a 40,000-foot spaceship view and perspective. [Read more…]
I happened to see a stunningly beautiful short video this evening while taking a break from the day’s tasks.
Wanting to share it with a friend, I searched online and found the video included as part of a TEDx talk from last year. It was so lovely to learn a bit more about Louie Schwartzberg, the film’s creator that it made sense to share both his introduction and the video itself [the entire clip is just under 10 minutes long].
Saying good-bye to Tom Pigott was NOT on my agenda for today.*
Then again, I’ll readily admit that hearing news that someone I care about has died is not something I would easily put on my “to-do” list for ANY day of the week.
For as Mary Oliver writes in her poem, The Summer Day:
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
I met Tom in June, 2010 while I was on a tour of Ireland that was directed by Tom’s company, and hosted by my friend (and colleague/mentor) Brian Luke Seaward. It was indeed an enchanted (and enchanting) trip for me – and for a lot of reasons.
And, meeting Tom–this bigger-than-life, huge-hearted teddy-bear of a guy with a lovely voice to boot–was an unexpected bonus. Our paths had crossed at a time–and in a way–that magically captured a piece of my heart. In this You-Tube clip, you can get a taste of Tom–the tour guide, story-teller and singer.
Tom sure seemed to have figured out what to do with his “one wild and precious life.” He had a profound love for his native Ireland, an unbounded pride in being Irish and a special gift for sharing Ireland’s music, language and stories.
And, perhaps even more importantly, he was able to reach the end of his life in the same way he lived it. I’m told that he died of a heart attack while participating in an Irish Music cruise in the Caribbean. A Facebook update reported that:
He was feeling good and laughing with all of us just minutes before he passed. We were listening to an Irish session which was what he loved and enjoyed.
Earlier this evening, a number of us who had participated in the Summer Soul-stice Riff Raff Tour of 2010 gathered virtually under our respective view of the moon–each in our own way to offer Tom our wishes for safe passage, love, and peace on this new phase of his journey.
For many of us, those moments included a song that had bound us together throughout the trip and afterwards, entitled Safe Home by Johnsmith.
The lyrics seem especially appropriate for the occasion, especially the chorus:
Safe Home, Safe Home, Safe Home will you go May the light of the moon smile down on your road Safe Home, Safe Home, Safe Home will you go Until I next see you, safe home will you go
Rest in peace, my friend!
* First published 5 February, 2012.
NOTE – this blog post even has some background music [ These Foolish Things – Chet Baker ] to go along with it. So, if you’ve got the sound turned “on”, you might want to click on the above link to listen along while you continue reading.
It had all started in the raspberry patch one morning as I was harvesting the first of the season’s raspberry crop. And during some “across-the-fence” visiting with neighbors, Penny and Marilyn, I happened to mention that it was the first anniversary of my mom’s death.
As I worked my way through the tangle of brambles, enjoying the luscious sweet taste on my lips as I sampled a few of the plump-ripe berries, I remembered how mom would drop everything when presented with a bowl of fresh-picked raspberries. She’d sit quietly, eating them one-by-one, savoring each one while dutifully emptying the bowl of its delights.
As I returned inside, I began to notice even more “foolish” things that daily serve to remind me of mom’s continuing presence in my life:
- The glass cruet that mom kept filled with apple cider vinegar. I remember we poured it on sliced, fresh tomatoes in the summer-time and cooked, frozen spinach in the winter-time. I still love the taste of apple cider vinegar – often enjoying a spoonful of Bragg’s raw, organic vinegar in a glass of water.
- Speaking of good things to drink, how about the beer mug that mom kept cold and ready in the refrigerator’s produce bin? How mom loved her beer – especially if it included a bowl of peanuts!
- And, with the beer, would come mom’s generous laugh. Oh, how I loved her laugh – so full and rich and filled with life. She knew how important laughter is in our lives. And I keep her little plaque in my kitchen window to remind me that “a giggle a day keeps the glums away.”
- Yet, for those days when the glums came anyway (whether for her or for someone else) there were always lots of little things around that could bring a giggle or two – or maybe even just a smile. For example, there was always at least one copy of the Reader’s Digest around out in the studio – from where you could often hear one of us kids guffawing as we’d read through the jokes and anecdotes. And as mom grew older, one of my favorite rituals included cranking the nose on the clown music box to make it begin to play “Send in the Clowns.” Looking back, I’m not at all sure anymore whether that ritual ever made her actually “smile” [other than with a smile of toleration for my own silly ritual!]. But I did learn that all it really took to gladden her heart and light up her face with her soul-melting smile was to look up from her chair and see one of her kids or grandkids standing in the doorway of her room.
- She was rightfully proud of the family she had grown–or at least I hope we’ve done her proud. As we were growing up, we’d celebrate our birthdays with a cake that she had made, using an iridescent glass plate on which to display it. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered that she had an entire set of those plates, along with a matching serving bowl in the cupboard.
- Besides growing people, mom also grew plants–mostly the in-the-house type, like African violets or philodendron or English ivy. And, for a long time (at least when I was a little girl), there were voluptuous sweet potato vines growing in her two matching Roseville “pinecone” vases. A couple of weeks ago, after “baby-sitting” a neighbor’s vine, I decided to give it a try. So far, no roots, but hopes still abound.
So many sweet memories. Isn’t it amazing how such simple things can stir up so many memories?
I appreciate being able to share some of my memories and stories with you – and would love to hear some of yours.
So, what are some of the simple, foolish things in YOUR surroundings that bring back sweet memories of loved ones?
Feel free to leave a comment below, or send me an email.
I LOVE the little synchronicities of life, don’t you?
At 6:36 am on Sunday, July 4, 2010, my oldest brother phoned me with the news that my dear mother, Elaine Kiener, had passed away that morning at 5 am.
In that email, a colleague shared a poem entitled: Your Mother and My Mother by hafiz.
Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living
In better conditions.
For your mother and my mother
I know the innkeeper
In this part of the universe.
Get some rest tonight,
Come to see my verse again tomorrow.
We’ll go speak to the Friend together.
I should not make any promises right now,
But I know if you
Somewhere in this world–
Something good will happen.
God wants to see
More love and playfulness in your eyes
For that is your greatest witness to Him.
Your soul and my soul
Once sat together in the Beloved’s womb
Your heart and my heart
Are very, very old Friends.
Such a beautiful poem and message – in its own right.
And yet, even more fitting considering that I had been with my mom a few years before as I watched her NOT die (all within a peaceful sleep), and had also been with her during times of panicked breathlessness. I am so grateful to know that fear was not a companion along her final journey.
But those were different long-ago times
When neither she nor I
knew how to be–
one with the other.
Then through the past two decades,
travelling simple journeys together,
mother and daughter learned to also become friends.
Content to simply be with each other–
watching and waiting–with neither judgment nor expectation
nor even need at time for words of any kind.
Yet now in this moment -barely a single day
since the mom has died,
I, her daughter, greet this new day
on the threshold of the rest of my life.
Never again to sit together,
nor again to see her look of pure delight and happiness
as she’d open her eyes to see me there with her.
No one last “Tussie Mussie” bouquet
lovingly carried from my home to hers,
Nor bowl of fresh-picked raspberries
For her to lovingly devour.
And no more tales of days gone by,
sharing both laughter and the tears
of being two strong women –
the only mother and sister
to three long-grown men.
With memories of that mysterious, witnessed moment
once on a day she didn’t die,
alongside other breathless, panicked moments
when she’d feared she’d die afraid/alone—
knowing now she’s found her peace at last.
And while I’m no longer by her side,
Content and grateful just to know
she’s resting there deep within my heart
Even as I proudly carry forever
HER name within my own.