A year ago I burried my father. It has been a challenging year.
I cannot recognize the cold made up body in the coffin. Touching its nearly frozen flesh, I almost recoil. I stroke the blue jacket he chose to be buried in. But even his chest has changed shape.
My heart speaks to his spirit, the energy, that I will to still be there.
My heart asks his love to watch over me, to help me make his wishes come to be.
My heart begs once more not to be abandoned.
I watch the casket close.
A simple white pine box, smooth, lustrous, is his remains’ home for a short while.
I walk around it touching, stroking, feeling, loving the wood that I understand, that is real.
The wood that enshrined my dead ancestors long before there were caskets.
It is neither cold nor feverish. It is there, perfect, soothing my grief.
Touching, feeling that wood is touching the man I adored, one last time.
I keep mindful of the men who are screwing then sealing in the bolts. We move out of each other’s way in a strange arhythmic dance until the lid is firmly sealed and it is time to leave.
Flowers are everywhere for the man who loved their colors, who recognized daisies and roses but not much else. And never cared to learn. Yet enjoyed their presence every day.
I smooth an inexistent wrinkle on the casket, kiss it with finger tips, then turn to console a shattered brother.
The long ride to Vidauban, to the crematorium, is an hour long ride through the Valley of Light and Joy.
This warrior is going home.
Wild flowers and grasses wave in the hearse’s wake, the sky sparkles his blueness.
Oaks shelter the road in sunny spots until it reaches the red plateau of parasol pines. There they stand, tall trees at attention amid rusty stones.
Silent and unmovable sentinels, they guard the way to endless vineyards and gentle, laughing, skipping creeks in the valley below.
Clapton sings Tears in Heaven through my windblown thoughts.
Loving impermanent things then losing them shatters us each time.
And yet, in spite of pain, grief, hurt, troubles and even death, life in colour, abundance, exuberance, but especially joy, in all its many sounds and expressions, wins, the cicadas clamour in the heat of the midday sun.
Life, all around us, bigger than we are, better than we are, triumphs.