My mother died a year ago. This last week, on July 2nd my brother and I made the sojourn to her grave. This was the anniversary of her burial. It also happens to be the day she was born into this world in Philadelphia, on July 2, 1929. While at the cemetery, after talking to our mother, we also visited with her mother and my father, as well as my father’s parents and grandparents.
Honoring ancestors is part of the Jewish tradition—the tradition I was born into in this life-time. As my mom began to decline in health, and ultimately release herself from this world, I witnessed ancestral patterns play out; confirming what I have known since childhood: like rivers flowing to the sea, every relationship finds its own level. Some may be strong and deep. Some may be white water rapids. Or shallow streams. Stagnant pools. Or fresh artesian springs that quench our thirst.
Being related by blood does not automatically award a sense of ‘belonging’, friendship or camaraderie. These qualities come from within one’s heart; and we recognize the truth of our bonds with another as we experience a resonant bond of love that is shared (or not).
Ultimately all bonds, including the limits we experience in relationships, are expressions of love; and sometimes the best way to express love is to allow for distance. That being said, I accept the limits of my relationships with each member in my blood-line, both in our immediate family—my siblings, my parents’ siblings (my aunts and uncles)—and all their offspring, and beyond into the ever expanding circle of cousins, kith and kin.
My family has been the family of humanity for some time, and the four winds and trees my sisters and brothers. When we expand our relationships to all our relations, to all of Life, we discover that there is a place for each of us—wherever we are, and however we are, just as we are—each growing and evolving into whatever it is that Life has in mind for us . . . which often means letting go of what and how we believe Life should be.
On the other side of mourning—as we continue letting go into the experience of death—all that remains is the love; love that was, is, and continues to be shared, into eternity.