As I prepare a funeral ceremony with a 74 year old man, who is in palliative care, he shares a few stories with me. The retelling is slow as his mind wanders, yet I could sit for a long time even in the silence between the words. It is frustrating at times for him as he cannot quite catch the thread of where he was going. And eventually we say goodbye until the next time.
I received a short email from his daughter which included a photograph from the 80’s of her and her dad on one of their many holiday adventures together. In her story she was celebrating her dad’s last birthday with him. He won’t make another birthday in his ailing body. As I read about her admiration, joy and respect for this man who had been by her side for 48 years, tears rolled down my cheeks. For her, for the losses of life, for the tenderness in her story.
It must have been a day for crying as an hour later, after listening to the song, It’s OK, an original piece written and sung by Nightbirde, tears rolled down my cheeks again.
One of the members in our Facebook group, Celebrating this Precious Life – Honest Conversations about Death and Dying, introduced me to this young woman who wrote this song when she was going through a very difficult period in her life with cancer. Nightbirde said, “You can be happy and also going through something really hard at the same time. You don’t have to pick one or the other….You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore, before you decide to be happy.”
That’s all I need to write, as Nightbirde’s wisdom and authenticity speak for themselves. You can read her blog, God is on the bathroom floor here.
“I see mercy in the dusty sunlight that outlines the trees, in my mother’s crooked hands, in the blanket my friend left for me, in the harmony of the wind chimes. It’s not the mercy that I asked for, but it is mercy nonetheless. And I learn a new prayer: thank you. It’s a prayer I don’t mean yet, but will repeat until I do.”
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. A song of gratitude. A call for equilibrium in the uncertainty.