by Cheri Jamison
During my visit with my stepmom in Tennessee over my dad's birthday weekend in July (the first birthday after his passing), she sent me home with my dad's violin and his wedding ring. These personal items of his inspired deep contemplation for me on my drive back to the airport. I wasn't sad, per se, but rather felt a weighty poignancy of witnessing something from beginning to end.
I certainly remember when my dad met Janet and when they got married in 2004. I witnessed their love over the course of their 16-year marriage. Just about a year ago, I flew out to Los Angeles for what turned out to be an end-of-life caregiving experience as my dad left his physical form. Now, I know that Janet has her own special ongoing inner relationship to my dad and she still loves him deeply, but the physical expression of their marriage is complete. I got to witness the fullness of that.
The only other thing I have to compare that to is witnessing the full life of my cat Rue, from the time she was a kitten to when she passed on at just six years old. I witnessed all of her life in that sweet fur body.
I mentioned this to a dear friend and she also understood that feeling. She gave the example of knowing couples who she witnessed fall in love, she was at their wedding, and now they are getting divorced. Whether it's the end of a job, living in an apartment or house, school, or completing a project, the completion marks the end of a chapter, or maybe even a "book" in your life.
This feeling is not something that we talk about a lot in normal conversations, but I figure many people experience this-- maybe all of us. It's perhaps part of the grief process, maybe not, but it brings out in me an awareness of the importance of being witnessed, being seen by another.
One of my wedding agreements with Ben is, "I am a loving witness to your life." Because so much of day-to-day life is private, quiet, and undocumented, it can disappear into the flowing river of time. It's comforting to know there's at least someone acting as that witness for me.
Maybe we has humans need that to feel we matter. It can be as simple as, "I see you. You've touched my life just by being here. Thank you."
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