If age is inevitable, then loss is likewise inescapable. No one gets off this train at their final stop without loss. And for many of us, that loss is compounded over and over again throughout our wanderings in our personal deserts. It usually begins with a pet – a dog, a cat, a hamster; then next often a grandparent. And then friends and parents……and so on…..ultimately culminating with ourselves. (The discussion of whether we are indeed truly lost at that time is saved for another time, another writing.) However this missive is not about age and death; directly anyway. It is more about life – wait for it…..
And of course, there is that horrific forceful separation induced upon all of us by the final departure. Bear with me here for a seemingly odd analogy; hopefully I can express in such a manner that it makes sense to you. That separation, that loss, is simultaneously unique yet identical for all of us. Picture a freshly fallen field of snow after a storm on a moonlit night: it rolls and flows across and over everything creating a smooth flowing seamless landscape. It appears as a monocellular organism. Of course, we know better; it is composed of millions upon millions of individual crystals, each different and unique from the other.
Loss, that final (?) separation is much the same. Looking at it objectively, scientifically from afar, it is the same for all of us. Certainly not how we react to it, but overall architecture of the event. But examine it more closely and every loss is, like the snowflake, unique and different; personalized to us.
For some, we get to say goodbye – to exchange farewells. For others, it is as cold and random as blinking an eye to find them gone. And others are a mix. I spent 5 days sitting next to my motionless father until he left the train. The only time he opened his eyes was the exact moment I walked into the hospital room. His eyes opened and his hand reached out to mine, and for the next 5 days there was nothing more than his slowing breathing until the last breath passed, and so did he. One can argue that was a goodbye, but if so, it was feeble and one-sided. But I was able to be there for it, for what it was.
Others come packaged in their own diverse wrappings; a phone call, a text, or just a chance reading in the obits. No goodbye, no exchange of farewells. It does neither deepen nor ease our grief; that event remains what it is.
Through my life I’ve suffered sudden loss where I burdened for days with the anger that I never got to say “goodbye”. Yet other times I was able to say my goodbyes along with a myriad of other things. And I was still burdened with anger at the loss. Because of course, it is not the mechanism of the loss – the means and moment – it is the loss unto itself; that sorrowful separation. That is the thorn of the anger….
Throughout every day, we all interact. We talk, we laugh, and we wave hello and goodbye; we text, we call, and we chat on social media. There are thousands of touchpoints daily. And the closer and more tuned are the frequencies and harmony of each other’s vibrations, the deeper the relationship and therefore are the frequencies of the touchpoints. We touch an arm or a shoulder; we hold a hand; we kiss.
And we embrace.
Consider the word: embrace. To hug, to clasp in the arms. But also to absorb or fold in a part or element as part of the greater whole; to adapt, adopt, to encircle, encompass; to include or contain. It is a lovely word and a delightful concept.
We embrace, some far less than others, for so many reasons. We all know a “hugger”; they embrace for joy and for sorrow; for greeting and farewell; for celebration and commiseration. We embrace to support, to comfort, and to calm. We embrace to love; especially in passion. There are even tree huggers!!
The folding of another, who we value and treasure, into one’s arms is warming and lifting. It is so to both the body and the soul. The physical warmth and envelopment of the body in the act of the embrace is not found elsewhere often in life. Internet fads notwithstanding, we rarely do about hugging strangers; we hug those who matter to us. The more they matter, the more we love them, the more frequent the hugs, the embraces.
But consider this: our embraces, our hugs, go so far deeper into the well of our souls than just that brief physical colocation of our bodies. The act of the embrace is an echo, a reflection, of our internal vibrations, our personal harmony in as it blends with the other person. To care for someone deeply enough to embrace them means you also embrace their thoughts, their ideas, and……..well, we embrace them. As in who they are. It is an affirmation of all that they are. And the beauty of an embrace is that, unlike the physical component of the embrace, the spiritual and emotional memory will warm and caress your soul for your lifetime.
Every embrace holds a promise; a promise to the other that they matter; that they matter so much that we, symbolically, want to hold them close to ourselves and never want to let them go.
So dear reader, go share a promise – go embrace a loved one.