It's been kind of a tough week. Erik's grandmother Ann passed away rather unexpectedly last Saturday. However, it was a painless, relatively quick death and she was surrounded by all of her kids and a few grandkids. Erik was there for her last breath and got to say goodbye. As far as deaths go, hers was the way to go. She will be sorely missed by all of us. In the roughly 12 years that I've known her, she has made me feel like a member of the family. She was also so happy when we visited. I remember making her laugh so hard when I described some person's bagpipe playing on the Campanile during one of my calculus tests as sounding like a bird being torn apart. She just thought that was so funny! I will also miss her gifts at Christmas, not because they were gifts, but because they were so thoughtful. Every single one, whether bought or homemade (usually homemade though) were so personal and thought out. She loved music and eating out when she could, her geneaology work, and most of all, her family. Grandma Ann was a truly wonderful lady and it will be difficult to go on without her. However, she was 85 and led a truly blessed life. It makes me smile when I think about how happy she probably was when she saw her husband, the twin girls that she lost, and her parents (if you believe in that stuff, of course, which I do). We love you, Grandma Ann! Godspeed.
I found this really beautiful Buddhist description of life that really touched me this week. It brought me a lot of peace. Here it is...
"When you come to visit my monastery in France in January or February you do
not see the fields of sunflowers surrounding our village. When you come to visit
Plum Village in April or May you may notice many new fields but you may not
discern that they are full of sunflower plants. When you arrive in late August you
will see all of the sunflowers blooming even though we have many types of sunflowers there.
Looking closely you will see that they are not always the same even in the
same grouping of one type of sunflowers. Each sunflower is unique if you look
closely. The energy of the sun comes from 93 million miles away and arrives to warm the planet, germinate the seeds, and help to grow our sunflowers.
Some of them are taller than others, some have deeper roots, some are broader
or more lean, while other plants may have more flower blossoms and less stems
or leaves. They are each unique.
Sometimes on a corner or on a path through the field a sunflower will be
damaged by foot traffic, high winds, or machinery, or animals. Sometimes
one of them will have their roots exposed by erosion and dry out and die.
These are all the conditions of their manifestation.
The divine or dharma (our teachings) have brought these sunflowers to be manifested at this point in time & space (or into our awareness via the dharma teachings) - in our fields for us to observe and to live with as friends.
Sometimes a perfectly beautiful sunflower dies because of an intruder, accident,
or is bent, broken, or damaged in a storm. Sometimes something may happen at night or when we are not nearby and cannot ascertain what happened to them. They die and we say that the conditions of their manifestation were not correct for their continuation. We are all co-responsible for some of these conditions but for
other factors only the divine and the dharma of that individual sunflower knows
why the conditions did not support their continuation.
This was their path that the correct conditions for their continuation were not available."
-------------Thich Nhat Nanh