Every year at the school I work at they have a Thanksgiving prayer service. Everyone writes letters to people thanking them for something and some of the students and teachers read their letters at the prayer service. This year one of the seniors read a letter to her mom, who is dying of cancer right now. It was very difficult for me to listen to.
In fact, I didn’t want to go to the service at all, because I knew she would be reading it and I knew it would be hard. Will told me that it might be good for me, but that it would also be pretty rough to listen to. I responded that I wish the things that were good for me didn’t always involve roughing me around. He said that if I didn’t need to be roughed around, then it wouldn’t rough me around. I hadn’t thought of it in that light before.
Grieving is awful. Even the word “grieve” is a horrible sounding word. It sounds like the name of a damage-over-time spell that a warlock would cast on you. But I suppose the sound of the word is the most accurate means of describing what it even feels like. There are times when I feel like the lining of my throat, the inside of my chest, and the coating of my nerves will be grated away to nothing before the end of it. I know, though, because people have told me, that it doesn’t ever really end, it just changes into something different. I know because they’ve told me, but I don’t really know yet.
When all my weird physical pain stuff showed no signs of going away, and when I decided that it’s just going to be something I’ll learn to deal with, my Soke told me that one of the easiest ways to cultivate happiness is to start giving open thanks for the things I have. The tiniest things, here or there, or the big things, just on the spot when I happen to notice them be thankful for them. It helps to actively do this, rather than fret and worry because I know I’m taking so much for granted, which is what I tend to do. My boss at work is one of those people of the mindset that time is a human constraint, and that God is timeless, so it doesn’t matter what you pray for and when, even if it’s after the fact, because there is no time in the end. I suppose in that line of thinking it is not “too late” to say thank you to somebody after they’ve already died.