Rick and I were so long overdue for a vacation, it was a bit challenging even getting our minds focused in that direction. While it wasn't a cocktail-sipping, beach lounging type of vacation, it was an epic opportunity for us to vacate the premises of our minds, time, schedules, home, work, caregiving, and tending, tending, tending to everyday life. Now, preparing and packing for a 2 week road trip with Pearl in tow, in our little Honda Civic took a good bit of creative engineering, but we did it!
The main focus of the trip was visiting with Rick's brother, Harry and his wife Sharon, in dear Harry's time of waning health, as he nears his end of days. We found Harry in good form, and were able to spend sweet and valuable moments together, open those important conversations about what's important and what can be let go of; what needs closure, what's in place, what needs to find a place, and his satisfaction of realizing that joys, sorrows, work, family, creativity, meaning, and love have shaped his wonderful, full, and long life. Along with our beautiful daughter, Riva, who is a whirlwind of both getting important things done, and showing us all how to celebrate being alive and happy, we had a most potent and precious family time.
During those five days of love and connection, we stayed with our dear friends, Rosanne, Dane and Pearl's new friend Marley the Labradoodle, who live very near Harry. Rosie was bright, witty, and beautiful as always, right there at the top of her game, cooking dangerously, deliriously delicious meals and snacks, which we (I) ate with wild and reckless abandon. Dane, also the consummate host, kept our glasses full of whatever we were drinking, and our minds and hearts full of his famous stories, which we have missed a great deal! A great surprise was the weekend visit of another dear friend, Boka. Thirty years ago, Rosie, Boka and I formed the triumvirate known to our large group of friends as the Three Putanas, although I tell you in all honesty, we never actually lived up to that moniker! I swear! Their summer home on the top of a mountain in the Catskills is the most restful, peaceful place you can imagine. Soaking in the daily views from their deck overlooking the further hillsides and the valley below was a relaxation I haven't quite felt in a long time. We're back almost two weeks and some days I can feel myself still taking in the sweetness of that time, when I vacated my home-self so easily and fully.
On we went, back to the Mid-Hudson Valley, staying a couple of nights with our dear godson, Josh. Again we were treated to excellent meals, companionship and love. Dear Pearl learned about living in a house full of cats, and how she could steer clear of the three of them, without getting murdered or maimed. Sweetest kitties ever, but poor silly Pearl was scared to death! We took the time to do some driving around on memory lane in the areas we once both lived, got to see a few more friends, but our time was waning. Visiting the graves of precious loved ones, some of them now long deceased was a trip highlight- planting flowers and reciting their names, thus keeping them alive another moment, another day. We planned time with two other family members, on our trip home but due, interestingly enough, to recent deaths in their lives, the timing was just not right. While disappointing, as with everything else on this trip, all just felt so right, so in divine timing, so perfect just as it was.
Thomas Wolfe, our famous Asheville native, wrote that "you can't go home again". And he was absolutely right. You can enter the territory but the territory does not remain the same. The people and places and relationships we once knew, and held dear, all exist as ghosts of our imaginations, until or unless we are able to become reacquainted with fresh eyes, pure hearts, open minds, and an authentic curiosity to get to know them as the new friends they are today, over and over and over again.
Thank you, Muse for awaiting my return and believing I would not abandon you.
The invitation is to leave it alone. To let life be. To know yourself as being lived. That is what is happening here. Life is alive as you, through your breath, through your being. Don't look for it elsewhere. It does you and undoes you, over and over again. You are not the doer. Stop claiming that you are, and your relentless despair of knowing you are not, will dissolve. The belief in the doer, in the future, in something rich and magical beyond this place, is what deadens you, and crushes your heart. The belief in something greater than this has held you captive, left you for dead. And yet you fear death. The only death you will ever know is this lifeless longing. Question these beliefs, awaken from them, and live it out loud. Then you will know yourself as boundless life, as freedom, and your body will age and die fully alive, without regret, endlessly beautiful.
Analisa Domenica is a naturalist minister and mentor, in private practice as a Doula for living and dying. She offers private mentoring sessions, end-of-life preparation & transition support, bereavement, home death, funeral, and natural burial guidance, and laying-on-of-hands for comfort care and pain release. Analisa joyfully celebrates weddings and memorials, according to your faith or secular tradition. She is available to private clients, small groups, and for public education. Find out more about her by clicking here.
'Li' lives and works in Mill Spring, NC, a stone or two's throw from Asheville, NC and Greenville/Spartanburg, SC. She also works globally via phone and zoom. You may reach her by phone at 828.429.0096 or write to her by clicking here.