Is life simply learning to walk gracefully the path of grief?
We are not gifted immortality this side of heaven. Lord knows the fallible beings we are do not deserve such a thing. Death, in the end, becomes the gift, the ultimate homecoming. And yet, even as we are born to die, the hardest thing to grapple with is the loss we encounter in our lifetime. If we are brave, or maybe just lucky, we learn to love with reckless abandon. Sometimes, though, the loss becomes too much, and loving less and less over time becomes the thing that hurts the least. Or so, in our numbness we allow ourselves to believe.
Grief isn’t supposed to bring about numbness, or fear for that matter. It is our opportunity for a reckoning in our selves, to our selves. It is a cry for us to embrace life amidst our tears, even if the only way we can comprehend living gracefully and wildly is in tribute to those people and places no longer with us.
But, what if we are prone to forget?
Each individual and place that moves us has shaped our understanding of wholeness, of groundedness. And as these people and places fade into and out of our lives, we must not forget; the understanding of our own being is at stake if we do. In losing, and in living, we are tasked with remembering the moments we shared – the extraordinary moments and the seemingly mundane moments we never imagined would shape us, that would become home to us.
Is it possible to make that which is now intangible, tangible again?
Perhaps, if we choose to live within a set of walls, the places they create and the spaces they define will speak to the memories of family and friends, known and unknown, living and dead, who shaped our story, continue to shape our story.
Perhaps, if we choose to erect this memorial of sorts we sanctify that which becomes our home place, our memory palace. As we invite the great cloud of witnesses in, we are shielded from the cacophony of the things that distract, and, in the silence, we might be gifted the hearing of the mystics, in tune with the ineffable murmur of the saints, reminding us we are not alone.
This, then, is what I believe to be a home place in the land of the living. It is at once offers a space of communion and reverence, memories and memory-making, loving and losing, laughter and tears, choosing life amidst death, risk. It invites the pilgrims of today and the pilgrims of yesterday to collectively join a greater narrative. A narrative not defined by the fear of losing or of loving. We can only hope to live well and courageously this life freely given, for those who have gone before and for those who dare to follow. How else will the world know we were ever loved?
The pattern behind the wall installation...
The mural pictured above is painted in B Montesi's "dreamspace" room. The lines are a Geocommunetrics pattern based on her home zip code in 38119 in Memphis, Tennessee, where she grew up with the four members of her family, hence the 4-factored repetition. The center of the line design is at the height of B Montesi's forehead - the place of memory - and the line widths are determined by her index finger, the diameter of her eye pupil in the sunlight, and the average of those two numbers. The overall diameter of the design is the length of her leg, as 38119 is where she learned to stand and where she has her foundations.
B Montesi currently calls 60660 home, with a beloved past home-space in 38119.