When great trees fall…

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When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of
dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

~ Maya Angelou

The Emptiness of Death

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When someone leaves your life forever, never to be seen, heard, experienced or felt on no level, never to walk the Earth again or breathe the air or see the sky, it feels empty to the one left behind.

Empty to a degree that nothing seem to fill that particular emptiness. It is a feeling of despair and disbelief and hopelessness about anything that can be done about it. We can’t change death, we can’t rewind the clock to stop things from happening, we are powerless at the hands of the force merciless and sudden.

It is one of the human experiences that is beyond comprehension. We can’t make sense of it with our minds and when turning to our hearts the pain is too much and unbearable when we tune into that hole, that emptiness, that nothingness that suddenly entered our lives.

Cruel – yes

Unfair – yes

Gaping emptiness – yes

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No amount of reasoning, pleading, conditioning yourself to it is going to stop it in its tracks. When it is time, it is time. How does one say goodbye to that, in the emptiness, in the hole with no sunlight, just emptiness. How to be, what to do, what to feel – all and nothing at the same time. Overwhelm of ripping claws of devastation created by an empty space or frozen in that moment when nothing else exists, no longer exists and you are suspended between living and joining that emptiness.

The pain is sharp. If it was to be described in tastes it is like it suddenly goes very bitter or extremely sweet when overwhelmed with memories, e.g. it is all about extremes of either unpleasant sensations to the max or the pleasure of remembering to a degree it is also unbearable when feeling a hand of a loved one in yours like it was five minutes ago.

Emptiness, what to do? All we can do is stay in it, stay still and wear whatever masks are thrown at you whether it is sobbing creature rolling on the floor whaling and howling like it wants no longer exist or flooding in the ocean of tears till you can’t breathe or see and all sense abandon you in that moment. A road to realisation that nothing will ever fill that emptiness is a long one and it might take for the rest of your life to even begin to feel ok with the knowledge there is emptiness.

Does it transform into something remotely comforting? I think we do need to aim to transform it into something even if it is something we create with our imagination. It is powerful to feel and know that something or someone gone is gone forever. The truth is they are gone, what we are left with is a feeling, a knowing, a memory of it once existing with life and passion and blood in their veins and laughter in their belly. We hold that image where the emptiness is, we make peace with it, we carry it within us carefully hidden in a sacred space of the heart. We can always access it and eventually we will feel more love than pain, more warmth and chilled sensation of an initial emptiness. It is not impossible, but it is a long process of first and foremost of honouring all the feelings that dance around that emptiness in unison with your soul crying. The rhythm of your heart beats as one with the Earth and the lulling comfort of the Earth gives us a reassurance that within the emptiness there is a hope for growth.

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