My ex-husband, the father of all my children, passed away in his sleep the other night. I had been to visit my aging parents in another state, to check on them because their house is getting to be too much for them. We returned home very late, and then I found out the next morning that he had passed probably that same time when I got home. He was only 57 years old.
Most of his children hadn't spoken to him recently. One hadn't seen him in over 5 years. And yet, when we went through his room, he had photos of everyone, including me, nearby. How do we reconcile the distance he fostered with his apparent lingering affections and unresolved relationships?
Everyone has so many conflicting layers of grief and emotion. The instant sainthood conferred by his death does not change the fact that he was an angry person who kept people at bay and was slow to forgive, although it's hard to keep all that in mind when all you wanted was one more chance to say "I loved you still".
I keep returning to the teachings of traditional healing medicine to remind myself that his spirit is now finally free to go home and rest. And I also know that he and I were beginning to approach some kind of Peace between us, although it would never be the same as it was when we met, the spark of soul mates meeting. We had a lot to teach each other, a lot to learn from each other, and it was a relationship with many heavy burdens as well as the lovely times.
I think the only reason I am functioning through this crisis was that I have learned the value of neutrality, grounding, and balance. The diplomacy needed to navigate through a family in shock, especially a family from whom I was divorced, took me on a journey of faith in the process. Recognizing that everyone must mourn in their own way, and that what is meaningful for us isn't the only thing that is important. So because he was Catholic, he will have a rosary said and a Mass held… and then later, we will go to the Temazcal and give him a sweat ceremony so we can commune with his memory in a different way. We will be able to take his ashes and share our memories of what we loved best and release him to the earth and sky and water.
God bless you, Mark. I hope you are at peace now, and free.