“Love is touching souls.
Surely you touched mine.
‘Cause part of you pours out of me.
In these lines from time to time.
Oh, you’re in my blood like holy wine…”
-Joni Mitchell (A Case of You)
I just returned from a memorial service for a woman I didn’t know well. I met Zea likely 10 years ago at some gathering or another. I can’t recall the circumstances, but one memory remains with me….I felt that I was in the presence of a magical being. A wisp of a woman; yet I was to learn today, how incredibly strong and resilient she was. When I ran into her over the years, she always had a bright smile and warm hug and we would catch up on goings on in between meetings and greetings. The last two times I saw her were this summer with her partner Alex at a music festival and at the house-warming for our friends Karen and Bill. Both times, I would never have known she was battling challenges that eventually led her to leave this life. Her passing sent shock waves through our community and brought people together from all of those overlapping soul circles that I love to talk about, to honor her. She was part of so many groups that focused on music, dance, yoga, service, spirituality, and the deaf community (since her 19 year old son who shared a laughter, tear and love filled tribute to his mother who wouldn’t be there to celebrate his college graduation or marriage or her grandchildren, was born deaf). People came from far and wide to pay tribute too with their presence. The common question was “How did you know Zea?” From there, stories would be shared and our own tears would turn to smiles and then to laughter. You know how some dancers are danced by the music they hear? From what I heard, she was dance itself…graceful, light and lovely~
Since pink was her favorite color, we were asked to don that hue to celebrate her fashion sense. I enjoyed seeing the various shades in the form of t-shirts, hats, scarves, socks, shawls, ties, dresses and shoes. I thought of us as a pond filled with lotus blossoms, floating on top of the muddy, watery depths.
Exquisite images taken by Alex who is a professional photographer, were displayed. They portrayed her tenacity and tenderness, her playfulness and poignancy; the poetic and the profound. Musical comfort offered up by other friends was the Irish Blessing called May The Longtime Sun, that was adopted by the Kundalini Yoga community.
May the longtime sun
Shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on
Mishkan Shalom, the Reconstructionist synagogue of which Zea was a member was the location for the love fest that offered a container for her family of origin and family of choice to pour out both grief and gratitude. Dis-believing head shakes and tears spiced the service. Rabbi Shawn Zevit spoke of the compassion with which she was embraced for the suffering she endured and her untimely exit. As I sat a few rows back, I mused about the unbreakable thread that entwined those gathered. Many I have known for the past 15 years and of course, we all said that we would rather have seen each other during happier circumstances. The cool thing is, we actually do see each other on celebratory occasions. Although we are an affectionate bunch in general, hugs lasted longer, as if we were more deeply appreciative of each other. My wise father used to say “You never know what tomorrow will bring,” so I acknowledge my connection with those in my life.
The other thought that walked out of the building with me; actually, entered with me as well, is that we never know what goes on behind closed doors in someone’s life and what struggles are raging within them. Even those closest to us may not want to show that face. Sometimes all we can do is love them through the journey on this side of the veil and the other.
I am grateful for my overlapping circle of soul friends who touch my heart. ~
May The Longtime Sun by Snatam Kaur http://youtu.be/i5dRRhASY7c
Photo credit: everystockphoto/ Lotus/flickrPrince