Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

Season of Life, Season of Death

in Death & Dying, Family, Spring

Once again it’s April . . . once again the earth is greening and is filled with flowers, and once again I’m thinking about death.   After a week of daily visits to town, taking my dad to various doctors and being immersed in emotional turmoil and drama, I came home to the island yesterday evening to see that the island had greened. The spindly alders have leafed out, and so have the salmonberry and thimbleberry bushes that line the island roadways. Tulips are following the daffodils. Red-flowering currant offers its shades of pale pink to bright magenta.  Dying and being born, it’s all part of the same circle.

My dad is getting close to passing, although we don’t know if it’s days, weeks or possibly even months.  But he is weak and confused.  I have cancelled my trip to New York and my son has made plans to fly out here from Maine.  Yesterday we worked on his obituary;  he dictated and I typed.  And cried.

Working in the garden centers me and gives me peace.  Walking the beaches and the woods does too.  I just need to let this sacred island center me and give me strength for the next phase of “midwifing death.”

There’s a place for humor in all this, too.  Craig forgot that we had a dinner date at home last night and went out to eat with friends.  When he remembered, he thought bringing home flowers might be a good way to apologize.  (Flowers from a repentant husband — always a wise choice!) So he walked in with a lovely pot of  . . . Easter lilies.  I started laughing, to his confusion.  When I pointed out to him that he had brought me a symbol of death and resurrection (not love and romance), he got a befuddled look on his face and said, “I just thought they were pretty!”

But to me, it was another sign.  April, Easter lilies, death, rebirth.  Blessed be.

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • JLB Thu - Apr 06th 2006 10:17 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Joanna. I think the term “midwifing death” is keenly appropriate.
    Sending good thoughts to you, your father, and the rest of your family as well.

  • Inanna Thu - Apr 06th 2006 10:46 am

    Blessings to you, Joanna. This is a beautiful post. Your awareness with your father as he dies is inspiring to witness.
    And I just love Craig! (But then, since I don’t know you, I always see him in his guise as The Builder.)

  • Jaspenelle Fri - Apr 07th 2006 7:56 am

    Your post was inspiring, of the people I know many more seem to shy away and avoid those who are dieing and not spend that time with the one travelling towards rebirth.
    It must have been so hard writing his obituary with him but still it was time for you to share with him, which is beautiful. Even though I have never met you, nor read your blog for long it brings tears to my eyes (and I am not the crying sort) and yet it makes me smile.
    Craig’s flower choice reminds me of some my husband has made… *chuckles*

  • Karen Fri - Apr 07th 2006 4:22 pm

    Ah, Joanna you are so blessed to be going through this experience with your father fully conscious and participating in the process. And your father is blessed too, to have you as a companion on this great adventure.
    I attended the memorial service for a co-worker yesterday, another friend at work is at the side of her dear friend as she passes from cancer. Two other co-workers are pregnant and will have spring babies. Death and birth, the two Great Passages.
    Blessings and Peace to you.

  • Sage Fri - Apr 07th 2006 4:31 pm

    Joanna, you are in my thoughts and in my heart, today. I remember….

  • Sharon Sat - Apr 08th 2006 5:25 pm

    I was very close to my father and as I read your words it all comes back to me. I feel your sadness deep in my heart but I know that despite the pain, there is a bond that you are strengthening with your father right now that will withstand life and death. Take heart ~ Sharon

  • Andy Mon - Apr 10th 2006 9:32 am

    Joanna, reading this filled with me a great sadness and my thoughts are with you. In your earlier post about your father, you referenced his syncopy – which is a condition my mother has to deal with, and often requires medics being called out to her, too. Your father has done well to get to where he is and to have a loving gentle daughter to assist him in his later days.
    My own father is 85 in June and I count every minute spent in his company now to be a blessing I must hold onto. It is clear that while you are acting as midwife to a passing over, you are not alone and neither is your father. Many, many, many blessings to you and may you feel love wrapped around you like a comforting blanket as and when you feel the need to call upon it. x

  • Trish Mon - Apr 10th 2006 9:50 am

    Dear Joanna,
    I just saw your latest post about your father…your honesty and openess about your life give so much to those of us who check your journal…I remember you writing about running into your dad during walks on the island and hope that your home will offer up many more comforting memories…sending you warm thoughts as you help your father through this last part of his earthly journey…

  • Joanna Mon - Apr 10th 2006 10:05 am

    The blogosphere is a wonderful thing. I’m part of a lot of different communities, but I have to say this is one of the loveliest. Thank you Andy for the warm blanket of love; I feel it here as I sit typing on my laptop while my dad naps in his recliner. Thank you Jade and Inanna and Jaspenelle. Karen, there are new babies here on the island too, just born or just getting ready to be born. I see you walking there with the Companions, Birth and Death. Sharon and Trish, thank you for your kindness and the depth of your words. Sage, I thought of you this week too. Peace and blessings in this season of your memories.

  • Leslene della-Madre Mon - May 08th 2006 10:56 pm

    Would love to share with you about my new book, Midwifing Death: Returning to the Arms of the Ancient Mother. Many stories, including my own midwifing both my parents.
    Blessed Be, Leslene della-Madre