These are all quotes I've captured here and there--the ones that have spoken to me over the course of my father's illness and then his passing. If you don't know me on Facebook, or where to find these quotes, I share them with you, and hope they inspire you. Peace.
“When it gets dark enough, you can see the stars.”
-Charles A. Beard
What I get from this quote is that I should not be afraid of the dark. There is mystery and wonder in it. I need to trust in the dark, that it is not a place a fear but a place of peace and beauty.
Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.
-Rainer Maria RilkeThis says to me we must rise to the challenge and face it. The dragon in my life was my father's failing health. He needed me to be brave for him. I hope my bravery made me beautiful in his eyes, but than can only be his call now, sadly.
I want to unfold,
I don't want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded,
there I am a lie....
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
For many years, in and out of my life at home with my parents, I was folded. My parents desired a certain product from me, or so I thought. I stayed folded around them for many years. And I never felt comfortable or acceptable around them in this "folded" state. When I "unfolded" during the year with my father, I found acceptance, love, and strength. I am glad I had the balls to do it.
"In every life, no matter how full or empty one's purse, there is tragedy. It is the one promise life always fulfills. Thus, happiness is a gift, and the trick is not to expect it but to delight in it when it comes; and to add to other people's store of it.
What happens if, too early, we lose a parent, that party on whom we rely for only...everything? What did these people do when their families shrank?
They cried their tears.
But then they did the vital thing: they built a new family person by person. They came to see that family need not be defined merely as those with whom they share blood, but as those for whom they would give their blood."
~Nicholas Nickelby/Charles Dickens
I love this snapshot of Dickens' Nicholas Nickelby. "They built a new family person by person." Inspiring, these words, but hard to do. Many of my friends shrank away when this double tragedy (losing both my parents) happened. Not part of my new family. Friends who were willing to take me as I was; empty, afraid, often crying. These are my new family. I also keep in closer contact with my remaining family: sister, aunt and uncle.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.
As a perfectionist, I gave myself shit for everything--I lived too far away from my father; I wasn't there enough for my father; I didn't advocate for him enough as he was dying; I tried to be the perfect daughter/companion for my father in this process. This Cohen quote says it so beautifully--the crack in something lets the light in. What a beautiful concept. It took a lot of the pressure off, and allowed us to be ourselves as my dad and I got closer.
There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.
I found this quote...I don't remember where, only that it spoke to me at a very deep level. Imagining there could be a beginning after the death of my father. This was very painful, but as I've gone through the grieving process, I understand better the comfort of this beautiful statement.
For here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it leads.
~ Thomas Jefferson
This was our motto, my dad's and mine, when we started on this journey, ultimately, to his death. Neither of us wanted to be placated, or told soft-versions of what was happening. The truth gave us the strength to follow it. We both found there was no use in deluding ourselves or pretending the journey's end was going to be something other than it was.
"Absorbed in this world, you've made it your burden. Rise above this world. There is another vision. All your life you've paid attention to your experiences, but never to your Self. Are you searching for your Soul? Then come out of your prison. Leave the stream and join the river that flows into the Ocean. It will not lead you astray. Let the beauty you seek be what you do." - Rumi
This came to me while my father was still alive, but I've continued to read it after. At a certain point in my father's illness, in hospice at the hospital, he started seeing things we could not. Looking for things we could not know. We knew he was nearing the end, the prison of this malicious disease. At some point, early that morning, he "joined the river that flows into the ocean."
ALLES IST GUT WENN ES AUS SCHOKOLADE IST. Word.
We both loved chocolate.
Being but men, we walked into the trees
Afraid, letting our syllables be soft
For fear of waking the rooks,
For fear of coming
Noiselessly into a world of wings and cries.
If we were children we might climb,
Catch the rooks sleeping, and break no twig,
And, after the soft ascent,
Thrust out our heads above the branches
To wonder at the unfailing stars.
Out of confusion, as the way is,
And the wonder, that man knows,
Out of the chaos would come bliss.
That, then, is loveliness, we said,
Children in wonder watching the stars,
Is the aim in the end.
Being but men, we walked into the trees.
This has very deep significance for me. The cycle of life, our awareness of life, and how, at the end, we become like children "in wonder watching the stars" as we leave this life. This comforted me enormously after my father died.
"Ever'thing there is but lovin' leaves a rust on yo' soul." ~Langston Hughes
There is stunning truth in Mr. Hughes' one line poem. Life is so fucking short. Shit doesn't matter. Love matters. Let the other stuff go. You don't have to storm the world. Love what you do. Have a good life. Discard stuff and people that don't serve you. Find your crew.