Death of a loved one turns the world upside down. Time gets distorted; it’s hard to remember what day it is, how anyone can be going to work as usual, or how to get from now to tomorrow. That’s how it’s been since my brother, Richard, died so tragically on June 13th. This morning, just over two weeks later, I felt a small shift.
It was before 6:30 when I went to my outdoor soaking tub. Dew had left drops of water on the leaves, and the gravel showed dark, wet patches.
I eased my way into the tub and took a deep breath. Not a leaf was stirring, not even a fern. Stillness is good company for a mourning heart. The only movement was steam from the hot water.
I sunk into the warmth. My breath parted a trail through the rising vapor. It reminded me of the trails my brother Richard had carved through the forests on our family islands. He loved building trails. His passion for this started with a door we constructed together on Buckle Island when we were 13 and 16. For me, that door in the woods symbolizes the central gift of Richard’s life. I devoted a whole chapter to this experience with him in my book.
What I appreciate most about the door was its surprise. No sign said, “door this way,” or “door trail.” It stood for over 30 years, framed between two trees in a forest so dense you couldn’t walk around it. By stepping through in the dark you were invited to find the light beyond. Richard created many symbolic doors in the woods of his passions, for others to walk through. The most recent example was his work to support new medical treatments for victims of PTSD.
I yearn for my brother, more deeply than the darkest forest. Yet somehow, in the stillness of morning, I know he’s there, just beyond the door.
May you find light in whatever darkness you still have to walk through.
Be in your own stillness.
What arises in you?