Creativity Magazine

For Stefanie: Looking Back…

Posted on the 12 March 2019 by Berijoy @berijoy
(And those who have gone before, and those who have yet to go) Your spirit soars free And you are at once and always in the clouds, the trees, and the songs of birds. I turn my face toward the heavens and smile comforted, knowing you will always be the light of life, love and creation, and forever, a part of me. Egyirba , (From her obituary, 1986)

This morning when I opened my eyes and looked outside I thought about death and dying. Feeling rather reflective and contemplative, I decided to sit down at my computer and put down my feelings. I suppose it is a way to work through the loss of the earth plane presence of my sister, Stefanie, because I know she is alive in Spirit. So, today, I think of where I'm at in relation to her bodily death.

There are days that I think of the profound simplicity of life, that we have come into this world only to learn how to exit gracefully, and nothing more. I think of the pain in living, the feelings of purposelessness we often feel when we do not know this life is for the purpose of living, feeling and experiencing, (for that must be what called Stefanie to her grave). I think of the inability (and really, impossibility of) for some of us to put life and death in a proper context, or keep it all together when we don't know what it is we're doing here anyway. So that failing to find answers, or relief, becomes grasping the only reins of power we may have by taking our release through a means of our own choosing and timing, however inappropriate to us left behind, as the only solution.

I was thinking, too, about my cousin. She found her freedom through death by hanging. I think of how the different ways of suicide may be more or less painful to the people left behind. Is snapping one's neck any less painful then ingesting pills? When the life breath is leaving the body is there a last desperate measure to cling to what is familiar? I think of the two young boys she left who are now young men but who were then about eight and five. These are the things I am thinking about this morning.

"Life goes on. And so does death."

― Michael L. Martin Jr.,

I think of how some of us learn the lesson about the impermanence of life. How is it that I was better able to accept my sister's death than anyone else in my family? What is it about me that was capable? Death is always painful, even if one is capable, but suicide says to those left behind-you must do your best, suffer if you must, I am finished. What was it about me that learned to accept the finality of it all?

What the most difficult aspect of it all, (because I am not really shocked that my sister would take her own life-she was so unhappy here) is my parents handling of it. What Stefanie's dying did was to cause me to grow up; it caused me to recognize, for the first time, that my parents were only human, fragile, and vulnerable. Until that moment, the first half of my life, I had believed that they were perfect. Consequently, in that moment, I was not able to accept their imperfection very easily. The way they continued to grieve for their middle-born daughter, the long drawn out-ness of it all left an uneasy feeling that forever shifted my own peace. It disturbed me because my grief was cut short and I had to learn to adapt to that new behavior and be like an anchor for them.

Maybe that was a blessing in disguise.

Perhaps, it was because I had taken time to journey to myself. I had been able to perceive outside of traditional ideas, values and structures that I had been taught, through my process of spiritual growth, which has always been the most rewarding part of life. It has not been the joy of making "big" money such as I did working for the telephone company for years, or having been raised middle-class (though it was nice, it was not the end of anything for me), or going to college, or even having a famous uncle.

Somewhere lurking within me, deep within me, there was a question being asked which only I could answer. Who are you and what do you really want? Somehow, all that I had been encouraged to believe about what was really important in life, never was to me. It generally seemed like a big joke, although I tried earnestly at times to believe it. But I never saw the great importance of any of it in relation to the greater need to find self-fulfillment and inner peace.

Stefanie's greatest desire was to have inner peace and she never found it here. Perhaps it was her mission not to find it here-a lesson she needed to learn. I miss her greatly, but I know she has found a respite for now, at least a measure of one, and that knowingness soothes me, comforts me.

© 1986, 2019. Egyirba High. All Rights Reserved.

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