Today, I learned that my adult stepson died. He died today. It was a call that we had feared for years would arrive, and it was sudden and shocking. Horrifying and shattering. We still don’t know much—his father left on the last plane to Vancouver tonight to be there. To do what? We don’t yet know.
As I sit with the shock and numbness and prepare to join my partner tomorrow, my mind races. I feel emotion deeply, and I’m trying to remember my soul. It’s here: it’s also wounded and self-protective, frazzled at the ends and seeking grounding. My mind races, and so I make notes. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but it’s calling.
I’m reminded of my mentor and his training of the past many months. Mostly, it has been to sit with unknowing. To be with what is unknown, and to allow for not knowing. It’s almost a riddle: as soon as I think I know, it becomes clear that I don’t. And when I seek knowing, the chase leads me to more unknown.
And so here I am, with the true, absolute unknown. The dead have died: this is nothing new. With a large extended family and having moved through several tight communities, I have attended many funerals. But there is nothing to prepare you for death’s happening. Nothing. Even when, for many years, you have feared a call. Even when you wonder about living in a big city and fighting addictions and their treatment.
My soul is aching. It throbs like a hammer-hit thumb, while I feel empty and useless. I will get on a plane tomorrow and comfort my loved ones. My own comfort is fleeting, at the same time as I feel deeply that we are all supported, in a very other-worldly kind of way.
I’m writing from the house of friends. They understand that tea and company is all that I need. It is everything I need. I am reminded that this is what we practice for. This is the very moment that training for not-knowing has led to. It is the moment for which still-mind has studied. And I recognize how very much a student I am of everything.
Tomorrow, I trust that I will have hunger and feed this body that houses my soul. I will find proper socks and pack them and get on a plane with them. My soul will be cheered by a seemingly-random moment, and will constrict again at a memory. I met him when he was fourteen. He had long hair and wore tie-dyed shirts. He declared himself a vegetarian, but we all knew that he mostly liked processed carbohydrates. His socks never matched, and his favourite thing was a pair of patched-and-frayed corduroy pants that he special-ordered and bought that way. I hadn’t been to his most recent place. Tomorrow, I will go.
I will arrive at unknown and unknowing, and somehow, my soul will be my guide.
Lori Claerhout wants to know where whims come from and how they work. What do they mean for our soulful directions? Could it be that they arrive from outside of us in order to direct our creation of elegant beauties in the world? Hmmm. When she’s not writing, questioning, or chasing whims at loriclaerhout.com, you can find Lori swimming, cross-country skiing, cooking up delicious meals with Mike, and walking the trails with her dog Bruno.