Today is the 49th day since my brother passed. I’ve been wondering how this day would feel as the Buddhists honor this day as the one who has passed makes a choice as to whether to return or move on.
Yesterday I felt my brother on a boat tossing a rope to a dock on which I stood. I woke this morning knowing that’s not it at all.
First, I noticed my breath was/is everywhere. I’m being breathed.
There’s no inhale, pause, exhale, pause. Breath is everywhere, in all the cells, and expanding out. I’m breathing through my whole head, allowing separation between my eyes and throughout my head and heart, and I realize all this with the 49th day isn’t related to him or me. It’s like when I was at the Everest Memorial only in this case rather than feeling impersonal, and grounded in cold, this is a feeling of warmth and knowing. I am the boat, the dock, the water, the earth, the universe. There never was, and is not now any separation between my brother and me, between life and death.
Perhaps that is what people risk at altitude; it’s one reason they keep climbing. They want to touch this knowing, Less air and less oxygen allow one to live knowing an expansiveness that can’t be found at sea level, and then, this morning, it’s here. I’m here. I am.
People are dying wanting to get to the top of Mount Everest. People wonder why. Perhaps I give a taste in my book, Airing Out the Fairy Tale: Trekking through Nepal & Midlife.
In my book, I write about stepping into the circle of stones, the sacred site where those who’ve died on Everest are honored, the Everest Memorial.
“Celeste, Sante, and I separated, each drawn to explore different sections within the circle, each needing to find our own way to honor and grieve. The wind blew icy cold. Something new entered my bones. Not fear or even grief. I stepped out – or was brought out – of humanness, into something more elemental.”
I say more in the book and then come to say: It’s as though those who’ve died “were winging there way through stars, as though the expansiveness of death was impersonal. I could believe we sing the universe into being as we tune into the vibrations between the cells. We are tuning forks.”
We continued to walk outside the circle of stones and continued along and up. and as we did so, I felt my “steps were elemental like candle flames, ignition for prayer”.
In this moment, sitting here in my chair as the day is softly lit I feel my breath elemental and rich. I know all is one and my brother is here.
The word healing is about wholeness, feeling whole. In this moment, I am whole: tree, seed, root, air, water, soil.