Remembering the Gifts of the Dead

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Death is a part of all our lives. Whether we like it or not it is bound to happen. Instead of avoiding thinking about it, it is better to understand its meaning. We all have the same body, the same human flesh, and therefore we will all die. There is a big difference, of course, between natural death and accidental death, but basically death will come sooner or later. If from the beginning your attitude is ‘Yes, death is part of our lives,’ then it may be easier to face…. HH The Dalai Lama

A friend of my family, Mrs. P, died last week. She was two years younger than my parents. Her three sons were what I call my “Huck Finn friends.” The family lived a few doors down from me on Circle Drive when I was growing up. In that eternal time of childhood’s summer swamps and winter snowdrifts, we played the living daylights out of life. We were so “in the Now,” its a trip just to remember.

Mrs. P was in the background, of course, when I went to play at the home of my Huck Finn friends. She was friendly, smiley and highly creative. Her oldest son, ST, was my age and he had some of her creative talent when it came to music. He could play the piano in a manner that amazed my little six year old soul. He was the first boy I ever kissed. It was at the swimming pool, under water, and just for fun.

Mr. P was the best all-time baseball pitcher in our endless summers. And he played kick-the-can with our neighborhood gang. God bless him.

ST died before his mother, about 7 years ago, of leukemia. He died in the middle of Sun Ceremony.┬áHe was one of the nicest people I’ve ever known and memories of him are like the sunlight, sparkling and pure. We kissed once when we were in our early twenties, during an interlude when neither of us had any other love interests. But it felt like I was kissing my brother. The words, “only the good die young” come to mind when I think of ST.

Tomorrow, I’ll take my parents to Mrs. P’s memorial service. I’ll see the two brothers and their families and Mr. P. It will be a bittersweet affair. Memories will come back to me. And I’ll think about the passage of time and reincarnation, life after death, the promise of eternal life, the meaning of life.

Imagine the idea of forever…what will you change?” Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha has posited that question. And I know that Mrs. P. the mother of my Huck Finn Friends, as she joins ST in the sunlight, will be able to look back and say, among many other things, “I mothered a fine brood!” And I’ll say, “Thank you.”

Remembering,

Elizabeth Richie/Du’Tsu

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