Marica's meanderings

Monday, January 09, 2006

The day it all changes

I am not sure where to start. I am still in shock from the phone call I received this morning at work. Bad news always takes you unawares and this morning was no exception.

My youngest sister could barely talk as she told me that our cousin and his wife, who live in the South Island, were involved in a jet ski accident yesterday while on holiday. My cousin's wife, Leslie, died at the scene. Even as I write this I can't believe it. I have tried to hold myself together all day and yet the pain I feel inside is consuming me.

Death is a vast mystery, but there are two things we can say about it: It is absolutely certain that we shall die, and it is uncertain when or how we will die. The only surety we have, then, is this uncertainty about the hour of our death.

Sogyal Rinpoche in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

It appears that my cousin and his wife were travelling side-by-side on their respective jet skis when Leslie went off course and veered in front of him. They collided and the result is that now she is no longer with us. This is a horrific tragedy.

You read about events like this in the paper on a daily basis, yet how many of us connect with the fact that this is happening to 'real' people. They have families and lives we know nothing about. We can only imagine the impact of what has happened by putting ourselves in their shoes. We feel, but can we ever really understand what it is like if we haven't experienced it for ourselves. Who would want to experience any of these things anyway - certainly not by choice? Life really throws curve balls to keep us on our toes. It makes us pinch ourselves and say "aren't I lucky to be alive". Today's little snippet in the paper, and on the evening television news, was not about someone else. It was about someone close to me and my family. It was about someone with whom we have shared many special moments and memories. We are all grieving and we feel a need to be together.

My heart goes out to the many people Leslie left behind who had the priviledge to know her and love her, especially her husband and her two beautiful children who are so incredibly young. I cannot imagine growing up without my mother. I feel so blessed that my parents are still alive and well.

I know only too well that all encompassing pain when life changes forever. My experience was different. Everyone's experience is different. Yet there is an understanding, an empathy that is unique amongst everyone that shares the common bond of life changing events that are completely beyond their control. I would never wish this experience on another human being. Unfortunately, I can't do anything to change any of this and today others that I love are going through this agony.

I ask myself often: 'Why is it that everything changes?'
And only one answer comes back to me: That is how life is.
Nothing, nothing at all, has any lasting character...

This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds.
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.

Sogyal Rinpoche in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

The sun has set for Leslie. I wish her peace as she travels on this new journey. Goodbye.

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