Thursday, October 20, 2005

let the mystery be

Singer-songwriter Iris DeMent, now the wife of one of my all time favorite singer-songwriters, Greg Brown, has a wonderful song with the chorus "No one knows for certain, and it's all the same to me, so I choose to let the mystery be."

I've been thinking about The Mystery a lot lately. Not that it's anything I've been drawn to by my own maturity, or my own chains of thought. Face it, I've been forced to confront death now like I've never known before. First with dogs, now with my mom, who may now have just days. She is in the hospice unit of the hospital now. I'm going there tomorrow.

I'm surprising myself with my attitude. It is not one of panic, of fear, of anger, of anything extreme. Actually, my dad, whom I talked with briefly on the phone today, summed it up best: "It is what it is." (I told you he's one of the most intelligent people I've ever known.)

I'm ready to accept this. I'm not praying for any lifesaving miracles, or anything that might prolong her stay here on this earth. I'm ready for her to leave this long-suffering life of hers, for whatever lies beyond there for her. I'm sure it can't be any worse.

I don't know what lies beyond. I can't know for a fact that as long as she has proclaimed Jesus Chrits as her personal Savior, that it will make any difference. I don't know that any personal beliefs will make a difference. I don't need any pretty pictures of Heaven and gospel songs about meeting Jesus and all of the family who's gone before, to assuage my fear of the great unknown. I just know that she's a beautiful woman who has suffered a lot. God have mercy on her.

Maybe it is, after all, just nothingness. I can't comprehend nothingness, so I don't know what to say about it. But maybe, just maybe, all of the miracles I witness here daily in the natural world, all of the miracles that I too often take for granted, are just a glimpse of what lies ahead. Maybe a world full of these miracles, without all of the suffering, is in store. And that is nothing to fear.

This unknowingness is what keeps us alive. We strive to stay alive because we do not know what is ahead. Some take their own lives because, unfortunately, life here on Earth does not seem to be a better alternative than the unknown. I'll side with the here and now. I love my life here with my husband and kids. I love the beauty the world has to offer every day. I think I saw a wolf today, in the road. Maybe it was a coyote, I didn't stop to look at the tracks it left, but for now I'll believe it was a wolf. But I did definitely see a bald eagle soaring over Sand Creek.

I'm afraid what I fear most is the human way of dealing with all of this. I just want everyone to know and accept the great peace, the peace that has somehow made its way into my consciousness.

update: my mom passed away late last night. I got the call from my brother at 5 am Friday. I was not there at the end, but I guess it really doesn't matter. Thank God her suffering is over.


madcapmum said...

I'm glad your mum has finally made the journey. Peace to her, peace to you and your family.

pablo said...

My heart is with you.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

My deepest sympathy to you and your family.
I like your thoughts and considerations about the mystery and death. I hope all of that will make the next few days and months easy on your spirit. Beautiful to have seen an eagle on such a day as this.

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim said...


Your mother is beyond her suffering now, but losing a loved one always hurts, so my heart and sincerest thoughts are there with you today.

On your thoughts about death Deb, none of us can know what lies beyond this life, but all the beauty of nature was here before us and will be here when we're gone.

One thing we all do know is that our bodies go back into the matrix that creates all this beauty.

So if we watch a seed sprout from the soil, from the decomposed lives of another time, and see that the energy of those previous lives continues on through miracle after miracle.

Then it's no too hard to imagine the energy of all life being connected, and radiating from the heart of something we all belong to forever.

the dharma bum said...

deb, my condolensences. i'm glad to read that you feel such peace about this, that is as it should be. i'm not very good at this, but i just want to say that she will live on immortal through the legacy and memory she has left in you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Deb -

Well, you know.

Great post.

What could there be for me to add?

You know.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace.

Deb said...

Thank you. Your kind words really mean a lot to me. I hope you don't mind if I don't thank everyone personally right now; I'll get to it.

By the way, the blog world is winning 7-0 over the "real" world in personal condolences. In other words, my phone hasn't exactly been ringing off the hook. I haven't even heard how the "arrangements" are going. I stayed home and cuddled my family and took a drive to Duluth to see tha harbor in the misty rain. Oh well, time well spent.

Floridacracker said...

So sorry, our thoughts are with you and yours.

Tami said...


I am new to your blog, but I am enjoying your voice and view.

I am sorry to hear about your loss.
Here are my words if they are any surce of comfort, I lost my step Father last year to lung cancer. I was the one by his bedside encouraging him to make the journey. When he did pass I felt and almost overwhelming sense of joy and happiness. The only thing I can come up oith to account for this feeling at such a very sad time was that because I was coaching him I recieved just a trickle of what he was going to. I have spoken to several people to try to understand what happened and it seems that it is not an isolated incident. It took all the fear out of my own passing if that is what I will be going into.

My heart is with you,


Deb said...

Thank you, Floridacracker and Tami.

fc-congrats on your daughter being homecoming queen! you must be very proud of her.

Tami-That mus thave been quite an experience. Unfortunately I was not there at the moment, but I spoke with my dad today and he said it was like suddenly she felt it was going to happen, she wanted the chaplain there, and she slipped away quite peacefully. Thank you for sharing your thoughts; it always means a lot when someone whom I haven't heard from before comes along and takes the time to comment.

TroutGrrrl said...

Hey Deb,
Sorry to hear of your news. I'm thinking of you and your family today.

Lynne said...


You and your family are in my prayers. I am sorry.

shannon said...

My sympathies to you and yours Deb. ((Hugs))