Art below by Elia Considine, my 5-year-old granddaughter
"I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place."-- Rufus Jones
Art below by Elia Considine, my 5-year-old granddaughter
by Susanne Becker
to know that you are free
you are happy
finally climbing your mountains
walking your woods
smiling into a camera
that I only dreamed
I do believe in a netherworld
the other side a different form
continuing who we were
on this side
I know it was you
waving at me telling me
how much alright life really is
despite all the worries
we drive forward
shaping our paths and
in the end all this does not matter
but the waving
happiness is a very simple fact.
© Susanne Becker
"The sob is the aria of our time," says Stephen Jenkensen. He is referring to grief in general, grief specifically, and grief for the condition of the planet. To be awake is to grieve over what we have done to the planet, he said. If you are awake, you are in grief....
My journey is this: every moment and every day I labor long and hard to focus on my love for Corey rather than how much I miss her. It's that simple and it's that impossible.
One of her friends sends me another photograph of her--and I need these photographs, and I need to know that her friends are thinking of her as I do--and there she is, her sunburnt skin and perfect body poised on the tip of a boat in a bay, utterly content. She loved water, she loved air and stone and fire. She loved art. She loved to move her body. She loved her friends, female and male. She understood goddess energy from the time she was a little girl and wanted to be the first female president of the United States.
Her body is no longer walking around on this earth, but that does not mean that our love for her stopped. The love always has to have somewhere to go. And some of us have chosen to let the love grow firey and passionate amidst our tears, to encourage our love for her be strong, growing stronger amidst our grief.
Because love is stronger than death.
I am wearing your black Reeboks, which fit my feet perfectly. I walk through the valley neighborhoods and mountain trails and feel your bright steps, your spark. You are sparkling now, as you always did. I know that my beating heart will never understand why yours stopped, why you didn't live to marry that beautiful soul you were engaged to and loved so dearly, why I didn't get to hold your baby and share mothering alongside you, as we had planned. All those plans broke into pieces and disintegrated June 6, 2013. Lately I have been singing "Ode to Billie Joe," all day long because it is a beautiful, painful love lament that mirrors my waking hours.
"It's the quality of last night's experience – not what it proves but what it was – that makes it worth putting down. It was quite incredibly unemotional: just the impression of her mind momentarily facing my own. Mind, not soul as we tend to think of soul. Certainly the reverse of what is called soulful. Not at all like a rapturous re-union of lovers. More like getting a telephone call or a wire from her about some practical arrangement. Not that there was any message – just intelligence and attention. No sense of joy or sorrow. No love, in our ordinary sense. No unlove. I had never in any mood imagined the dead is being so – well, so business-like. Yet there was an extreme and cheerful intimacy. An intimacy that had not passed through the senses or the emotions at all.
If this was a throw-up from my unconscious, then my unconscious must be a far more interesting the region region then the depth psychologists have led me to expect. For one thing, it is apparently much less primitive than my consciousness." --C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
I am listening to a set of "Honoring the Dead" talks given by Dennis Klocek (whose work uses Rudolf Steiner's teaching). He says:
"Some people have made a sacrifice to come in and die as a young person. We say: 'Oh, its terrible!' but they are offering, to the people who are following, the gift of the forces that they would have used as a teaching of how to open your soul to higher realms.
"That’s actually what they’re doing: they’re sacrificing. Usually they’re an old soul, and to have a body is like: 'Okay, been there, done that, now what?’
"So, for them, going in and out is not a big deal…. They have a different kind of destiny. They want to come in as teachers. They come in and build bonds with people, emotional bonds with people because they understand that’s where the teaching is, in the feelings, and then they go away and leave the bond there and use the bond as a kind of funnel to bring forces to the people who were left behind to help them move their wheel.
"Rodulf Steiner talks about the young people who were lost in the war, that there was a huge influx of new forces to create a new culture after the war. That the young people who passed way in the war were actually sacrificing their life forces to make stronger vehicles to incarnate the astral stream that needed to come to make a new culture."
Source: Dennis Klocek - Honoring the Dead
(Thanks to my friend Erica Rainhart for her awesome art.)
Corey's friend Kate D. called me tonight and spoke of the sacred fire...that we all are connected through a sacred fire...and we can feel each other, find each other, around the sacred fire. Just go there imaginatively, in your heart, and you can find every living thing and every dead ancestor: we all gather around the sacred fire, whether we realize it or not.
I got tingles as she spoke because I had just started a fire in the Jotul and was watching the flames as Kate was talking: what we call A Corey Moment.
Since Corey flew out of her body in June, she has come to many of us with the message to relax, to stay calm, to breathe, to remain unstressed. And yes, she dares to tell us in no uncertain terms that we should not grieve so hard. In December especially, she sent messages to friends and family through dreamtime, through meditation, through the wind and the rain and winged beings that we should take it easy. (See Videos for more on this).
A couple of weeks ago, Corey came to her sister and said: Stop making this so hard. It does not have to be hard. Remember how we relaxed in our bikinis on our floaties on the pond? Relaxing, floating on the cool water, in the sun. Just float. Be in your bikini on the floatie.
As 2013 falls away and 2014 rises towards us, I take Corey's advice to heart. I promise, I pledge, to try to be on my floatie in the pond as I go through each day and each night trying to reconfigure my life as the mother of a wonderful daughter who has…passed out of the physical form.
Suzanne wound up at my house through a series of choices made by her, by me, and by others along the way, and so you could say it was... random.
In the same way that I have always loved being a mom, I love hosting visitors: cooking for them, advising them, showing them around, seeing what intriguing conversations we fall into. Yesterday, I invited Suzanne to come along for my Saturday walk in the woods with my trusty husky, Sequoia.
Suzanne emerges from the guest bedroom wearing a big smile and a Corey shirt. Who even has a Corey Feldman shirt these days? It's a joke, the Corey Feldman Center of the Arts, but that only adds to the fun--and poignancy--of this moment, standing in my kitchen with a bright young woman who is about the age of my Corey, and we are headed out for a walk in the woods together.
In the crisp early November air, with the autumn sun warming our backs, we talk, navigate leaves and roots, stop to enjoy a mountain waterfall. I walked part of this trail with Corey five or six years ago. No matter. I feel her walking with us today, and I give thanks for random/not random events in the world of change and life and death.
"If you steep yourself in thoughts of one who has died, you will in time be surprised by a feeling that the dead person is actually listening. This feeling will be absent only when [you are] inattentive and fail to notice the peculiar warmth that often arises...." -- Rudolf Steiner, "Staying Connected: How to Continue Your Relationships With Those Who Have Died"
Love Is Stronger Than Death
These entries are part of an upcoming book about love and grief, in honor of Corey Considine, my beautiful younger daughter. She was with us in physical form from August 12,1983 to June 6, 2013. It was a vehicle accident, at the end of a beautiful sunset she had just watched from her favorite hill. She was engaged to a wonderful young man, dabbling in art, planting gardens, planning her wedding, offering love, care, and healing to everyone she knew.