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Troubadour Creative | the last word is love

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the last word is love

the last word is love

The last word is love.

This has been an extraordinary time of transition for me. New beginnings. Unwanted endings. Long periods of stasis. Profound sadness. Powerful reassurances of friendship. Augmented belly-laughs to warm my hollowed heart; and loss. So much loss.

In the space of a few weeks there have been five deaths in my surrounding circle of friends and family. It’s been a lot. I’m quite sure I’ve never experienced such an emotionally intense couple of months and, I’m not going to lie; it has been challenging to reconcile my shiny new life with the perceived roadblocks and swirling unease that seems to be stuck above my head like Eeyore’s personal rain cloud.

These last few days we had been spending hours at the bedside of my husband’s uncle who was tragically dying from an aggressive cancer. He was in hospice, wasting toward passing as his body slowly began shutting down. It is a humbling thing to bear witness to someone’s death. Once you adjust to the slack mouth, fixed stare, unbearably thin limbs and non-verbal state, you quite rapidly tune in to nuances of this unvarnished humanity – cadences of breath, fluttering movements, fleeting grasps of cognizance. You assign meaning to reactions; knowing that in whatever capacity, he is there with you. With such intense observation, unfiltered by social graces, you see deeply. For example, I KNOW that he was smiling listening to his sisters on a Zoom call serenading him with songs on their ukuleles, I SAW him sway his head in bliss during the sublime peak of a Norah Jones song I played him and I HEARD his hiccuping breath calm as I read my stories aloud to him.

As the world outside the hospital room carried on pulsing with sunshine and life, it also offered up small connections and filters to help me process the enormity of the vigil: saving an exhausted hummingbird from assumed peril; the quiet gaze of a mama deer walking her two fawns to a safer grazing spot; music and poetry that captured the feelings that I couldn’t name. Little moments of grace. Then, I came across an essay on “Knowledge vs. Understanding and the Antidote to Our Existential Helplessness” (yes, this is the kind of stuff I read – you should check it out!) . Anyway, the authour, Aldous Huxley concludes his thesis with the following perfectly articulate sentiment:

“Of all the worn, smudged, dog-eared words in our vocabulary, “love” is surely the grubbiest, smelliest, slimiest. Bawled from a million pulpits, lasciviously crooned through hundreds of millions of loudspeakers, it has become an outrage to good taste and decent feeling, an obscenity which one hesitates to pronounce. And yet it has to be pronounced; for, after all, Love is the last word.”

Aldous Huxley, The Divine Within: Selected Writings on Enlightenment

This stopped me in my tracks. The last word is love. It can’t be said any better than that. And through all the turmoil of these last weeks it has been love that has got me through, just like I know it was love that got Paul through the door to his new home.

Rest in peace Uncle Paul (Stephens). You were a supremely cool cat who chose to live a life of your own creation. Music was your lifeblood and I know it will lead your soul to a wicked jam on the other side.

Road Music

Hidden behind an opiate wall
Floating on a shimmering cloud
You watch us through the veil
Somewhere down the crazy river, said Robbie

Eyes wide open
Not interested in death sneaking up
Do you see us? We are here.
Hello in there, said John

The liquid fidelity of a perfect note
Washed ecstasy across your face
Pushing fresh tears to our eyes
Come away with me, said Norah

All your traces are here, smudged together
Patterns dance on your fingertips
Let’s sing a song together
Do do, do do dah dah, said Jim

Your essence crystallized to eyes, ears, hands
A beating heart
One breath, and another, and
I just had to let it go, said John

The passage awaits
It shines with the love of familiar faces
Let go and dance
Across the universe, said George

Prepare a place for us
Get that sister in tune
We’ll be along shortly to find you
Home at last, said Donald