essay: a letter from the passed – for my sister

in memory of mila, who passed away yesterday very suddenly. she is very loved and missed.

“To those who have been left behind: I feel the sadness that you feel, but I understand it better now.  You see, we are simply two beings experiencing different freedoms.  It is the nature of all things that these freedoms must exist on the opposing sides of one veil.  That veil is a body.  Have you ever taken time to consider your body?  It is like a complex machine that you power around.  It is commanded by a terrific brain, the base into which all the connecting lines are fed.  I do not like to think of the body as a computer.  It is more like an intricately woven and embroidered fabric that we use for dressing.  Through our life it will tear and unravel, the threads of decoration will come loose, and we may either fix them, to help it last longer, or not.  Sometimes the dressing whips off suddenly in the wind and blows away.  Other times we leave it places, forgetting it is ours.  In some instances, it is then destroyed.  And as we cannot get another straight away, we must, as naked souls, shrug our ethereal shoulders, cross the veil out of physical life, and stand in line to be refitted.

If, reading this, you find the poetry contrived and no consolation, then rest your thoughts on waking pain, emotional and physical, which it may happen that you now have in abundance.  I say you, because I no longer do.  We tend to see death- which is only the end of waking life, despite the pomp and fervor that surrounds it- as a horrible and sad thing.  We pity those who die- how terrible for them!  We feel our own guilt, sadness, anger, and, left alone in them, can transfer them to the deceased or dying.  But the comparison of death to sleep is apt, because like clocks we will wind down and at our stop feel sincere rest.  When we meet death, whether suddenly or after a long, slow courtship, it is a termination of those pains that come with living- and anyone who has felt pain can understand what relief comes with its alleviation.

Be sad that we who die are disconnected from the love, joy, excitement and beauty of life.  But feel that sadness as one side of a coin, whose other face is gratitude.  In loss we are clearly shown our inventory.  Use this period of grief to examine your blessings- you who are still living.  And when the memory of we who have passed suffocates you, cry freely and lament.  But when the tears slow and you take the shuddering breath that indicates their retreat, take care that with that breath and all the ones between the tears that you are breathing in life- love- gratitude.  With examination nothing is downright ugly.  And just because we don’t know what happens after doesn’t mean we can’t love death like we love life.”

Rest in peace, beautiful Mila.  We’ll see you next time around in your new outfit.

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