Grief is a very strange process, as I am learning now. My Dad was/is the most important and influential person in my life, and losing him has been my greatest fear since I was a little girl. And with all my yoga and my studying and reflecting and teaching and so on... somehow his departure always seemed like something that could only happen in a futuristic world. I just didn't want it to happen. EVER. Such is the human mind: not very good at accepting the obvious.
Seeing the coffin enter the church, and then being laid down under in the cemetery was violent and painful. In fact it felt unreal. Even though I was there, I was disconnected and unable to accept that my Dad’s body was in this box. It was my worse nightmare, so obviously it couldn't be real. Looking back I suppose it was a defence mechanism, because reality sometimes is just too harsh to cope with. And also I had to hold it together and support mom in what was probably one of the most difficult days of her life as well. During her entire life she managed to never set foot in a cemetery, but she honoured her husband's departure and was incredibly brave. She was the first one to throw a rose on the coffin. To help her do that, I had to keep it together. And when you have to, somehow the body gets it and does what it needs to do.
On my last visit a few weeks ago, dad and I had said our Goodbyes, so yes, everything was in order. After my visit he declined quickly. Not so quick that we didn’t have time to realise what was happening, and not so slow that it would be painful for everyone. Dad transitioned at a pace that spared us a lot of pain. He slept a lot, until the day he didn't wake up again. Indeed he had left everything in order, and the organising of the funeral was not overly complicated. Lee and I stayed a few more days to support mom and help her transition into her new life, the life where her companion of sixty years is no longer there to hold her hand. And then we flew back home. That was brutal too: leaving France felt like saying goodbye one more time, as if France was all I had left from Dad. Leaving mom on her own also was, is difficult.
And now what? Now the grieving starts. Only now do I realise that I will no longer admire the beautiful trees with Dad outside, or through his window when he could no longer go out; only now do I realise we won’t be watching the doves fly and listen to the discreet chirping of the sparrows, or spend an afternoon playing John Mayer’s Paradise Valley on repeat, sipping “Mort Subite”, his favorite beer. I will no longer rest my head on his chest, smell his cologne, or lovingly be held like the little girl I never ceased to be in his eyes. I'm having a difficult time making sense of it all. But I have to get out of the way and let time do its work.
As I stare at the stars and wonder, grieve and reminisce, it dawns on me that infinity and love have very much in common. They have no beginning and no end . The unconditional love I could see in Dad's eyes every time he looked at me will stay with me until my last breath; it is the same love I am transferring on to my daughters. It'll radiate through us, generation after generation. And as Dad shines his bright light high above now, as I go to sleep I can’t help but notice that one star I hadn’t seen before is far brighter than the others.