My editorial for the December issue of The Echo World. About losing your loved ones in the time of Holidays. And honoring their memories. May their’s and all of our inner lights shine bright!
Death and the Holidays of Winter
Lenard Cohen just died as I write this. He sang all my life of deep love and feelings. I recently lost my brother Dan, one of my two older brothers. Four years ago, one of my three sisters, Patricia, died at 65. As we bring this issue together my older sister, Nancy has died. She was in hospice for five weeks and it was a difficult death. This is the season of the birth of the new year, and new energies. It is the time when the snow and cold come to much of the norther hemisphere. And still a time to be merry and let old offenses be forgiven.
I am sad as I write this. I have loved and laughed often with those who have passed. Those who knew me and my life’s ins and outs, ups and downs, have left the material world. I have the memories. I visit them on the astral and we talk. But it is not the same as the talking on the phone, texting or emailing, or the same as the possibility ofgetting together again.
The leaves have been falling and we have been lighting fires in our “tree house,” as we call our cabin, to stay warm at night. It feels that many ancestor’s ghosts are lining up to visit us and share the lost wisdom of their lives.
I think back to my childhood, my father was a funeral director, just as my grandfather was a funeral director. My father bought and sold horses and ponies on the side. Each of us six kids had our own horse. On a sunny weekend, we would all ride together in the winters snow.
When my siblings became too overwhelming I would take my pony and my dog and strike out on my own, through the woods and snow. I think of my second-grade teacher, Lottie, who taught me how to talk after an injury to my jaw, and then became a lifelong mentor. When she died I felt the loss was difficult to manage. I think back to my college friend Gene. He had returned from the Vietnam war with bad post-traumatic stress. We would go winter camping together with my great lifelong friend David. I think of how the camping cured Gene. How Gene taught me of Tai Chi, healthy eating and Asian magic. I remember how my phone rang while I was in Puerto Rico even though the cell phone never worked at any other point I was there, and David told me to call Gene because he was in the hospital and dying. Gene and I had a perfect good bye talk. He was dead the next morning.
Then thirteen and twelve years ago respectively my father and my mother died. After each of their deaths, I sat on my couch for a week and drank brandy and cried and spoke to ghosts.
Now they are all gone, as are many other close friends and relatives. Now it is winter in Central Virginia and I am sad. I live with my wonderful wife, Sofia, and we have two fun businesses. The Echo World touches thousands of lives each month. I have an older brother and a younger sister still alive. I have two great, adult children who are doing well on their own. I love them all dearly and they all love me. I have many loyal and special friends scattered all over the globe, and now especially in Virginia. I have so much to celebrate and be thankful for even as the cold winds blow.
I think of winter, about the holidays and of being merry … and I will be. Even now I am, in a melancholy depressed way. But winter is winter. The deer all have darker this year. Will it be a colder, stormier winter than we have had for a while? What matters in our lives? I think it is how much we love and are loved? How much we laugh and have laughed? What we make important. I plan to be get through these sadness and loss. I plan to be better for the enriching heart felt losses, and I urge us all to have the happiest holidays and most love filled winter we can. Let us give thanks – for everything.
Michael Peter Langevin, December issue of The Echo World.