Meditation on seeing the real inside the disappearance, 08.08.22
Who you are in the fleetingness of time will eternally be subsisting in the love of God forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and we sit in silence that we might realize this deathless beauty in the fleetingness of things and then grounded in it, live by it, and living by it, share it with others day by day.
— James Finley, contemplative, mystic, and teacher
After his mother’s death, my husband confessed
that in her final weeks, he had taken to planting ideas
in her utterly mixed-up mind.
For nine years, both cancer and cure corroded
what (we thought) was her —
slowed and slurred her words,
left her muddled and fearful,
short-circuited the synapses for a life of walking, gardening,
birdwatching, reading, silly card games, crossword puzzles.
Dark hallucinations filled the corners of mind
where memory and reality had lived — monsters, assassins,
shadowy voices hissing rejection and hopelessness —
the tiny nursing home room that had become her whole world
and my husband could provide no reassurance
that convinced or comforted.
As it is for all of us,
the story is often more real than the real.
One way or another, then, it seems cancer
sweeps every room of the body with poison,
a slow-motion dissolver of identities,
and towards the end, there was not much left of her,
skin draped over the long bones of arms and legs,
a tent fluttering around an empty space —
such a strange tabernacle
where everything that was her was gone,
but where, undoubtedly, God still lived.
It was here that my husband came to meet her
week after week, through years of incremental…