Horus tries to teach me the subject of death, reminding me I’m not so good at it…

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Today I met her guardian. The falcon stood in wait over her sleeping form, holding the liminal space. Waiting. Watching. Guarding. When I asked to see more, I was brought to the sands of time. Golden specks slipping through the hours, reminding me that I can get stuck inside the glass. Made up of the same elemental substrate that holds that ephemeral symbol of life, it is also an illusion of the mind. “You have seen the expanse,” he reminded me as the sand became that golden light forming a bridge to the stars, expanding out of the false container to spiral into infinity. Yes, I have seen it, but still I resist.

I am not good at Death. It is not a subject I have come close to mastering. I’ve got a history of stumbling through its lessons. When experienced the loss of my first grandparent to death (aside from the one that died before I was old enough to remember), I didn’t cry. Instead I felt the torment of our troubled past. Rocked into my armor, I listened to my mother announce the news through the corded phone like it was an annoying aside she had to pass on before she could talk about better things. Beside me, my college roommate looked worried, and later shocked when I told her it wasn’t a big deal. I would be fine.

Well I wasn’t.

A year before, my husband’s (at that time boyfriend’s) own grandmother had passed away and when I told my mother the news, she gave me a funny look. “You really cared about her, didn’t you?” Surprised by the tears stealing into my eyes. I couldn’t explain it if I had wanted to. We experienced only a handful of brief encounters together before her passing, yet in that brief time my husband’s grandmother had seen a truth inside of me that some who knew me since birth would never see.

Years later, death found me sitting in my office chair at work. Once again, the news was passed on by my mother, who was sitting beside death at her father’s bedside. Weeks before I let her convinced me I didn’t need to go with her. I wouldn’t recommend saying good-bye to a beloved grandfather from an office chair at work inside a cubicle that offers no escape into sorrow. That day there was no avoiding tears or pain. Or regret.

Years later, my grandfather tried to show me the impermanence of death’s form. Coming to me in spectral form, just once, to part the veil of dreams. It was enough, but it wasn’t.

When my beloved Daisy died on the 11th of February six years ago, I knew it was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier. Six months before, while walking together in the woods she told me she would soon be moving on. Wrapped in aura of violet light, my canine guide’s spirit shined strong and true. It still does. Two days ago, during a tough night, I saw her curled at the end of my son’s bed. Rarely now do I feel into her presence, yet she is still there for us when we need her. I have gradually loosened my hold over the years since her passing, but I resisted her leaving the corporeal world with a hold so tight I knew she lingered longer than she should have.

No, I am not good at the subject of death. I have fought with its teachings. I have failed its tests, and I have struggled to embrace its release. Now I find myself counting, once again, those false hours. Wondering if time will allow me a real goodbye. Horus turns his head to stare at me with eyes the color of night. His wings ruffle annoyance. “Why,” he asks, “after all we have shown you?”

For a moment time slips away and we fly back to that sacred chamber that holds a bridge to Earth. Wrapped in a copse of guardian trees, the light filters from the beyond. Once again, I see the white horse, waiting. Memory weaves light into my cells. “Was this not enough?” he asks me.

It should be. But I’m having a hard to accepting it. There are things I’d still like to say. Arms that still want to hold a temporary form. So many adventures that won’t be shared.

“Ridiculous human sentiment,” he scoffs at me and turns back to his guard. “Your perception is clouded by those human eyes.”

So I allow the salted waters to bathe them in their warmth. Cleanse, I urge. Clear my clouded sight.

Taking the lead

Recall the Bird of Spring who appeared to me on the the 24th of January. I have not forgotten her, nor have I forgotten how she appeared in the days before the 11th. She often watched in silent vigil from the bush filled with winter berries in the neighbor’s front yard, while I waited for Alex to get off the bus. You were usually inside.

There was the flock of robins, Dad said there must have been 20, if not more, outside his office. Did you send them after you came to him in a dream, telling him you were leaving? Of course, I already knew. How could I not? I felt you release the tug on the orange nylon that bound us together months before you finally let go. I knew last summer you were patiently urging me to take the lead, knowing well before I did, that I was ready. That you had, in the heart-beat of 5 and 1/2 years, shown me how to walk the path of love, and to take the lead. The last 6 months were a gradual letting go, your final gift to me in your physical form.

Oh, but you knew I would weep and rage. You knew I would cling fiercely to the memory of  the brown silk of your fur pressed against my lips, and feel of home when I wrapped my arms around your body. You knew, even, that I would miss the tug-of- war, the constant test of who was in charge.

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You knew I would hold on, even after I let you go. So you sent me robins and hearts. I saw the love that you wore on your face everywhere, in the days before you left, and even more now that you have crossed the rainbow bridge without me. One thought, and you are back. I see the symbol of your love burned into snow, etched in ice on windows and carved into the life-lines of wood. I saw your love two nights ago, when you sent me the barn owl (with face of a heart) in the cypress tree. I see it each time I remember your face.

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Your rebirth into pure spirit, was my letting go. To become my own spring and bloom new. Even though I still shed the waters of sorrow, my garden is ready to birth strength. How many nights, as I was preparing to let you go, did I dream of a home, my home, surrounded by the rebirth of life? I woke happy, filled with hope. Filled with promise.

Even the 3 crows that caught my eye, circling the invisible wheel, made me think of the magic of birth and not death. You were the 3rd, though, in a close trinity of passings. My days and nights were filled with the numbers 3 and 7, even when they appeared with the numbers 10 and 11. The 10th was the day I knew for sure you were leaving, the 11th, when I opened the door to let you go.

On the 8th, two days before I decided it was time, I saw two robins. That evening I fell into dreams of rebirth. I played through the game of life, recording scores, which reduced to the number 9 – the complete cycle for birth. I searched tables of food and ate. I took the driver’s seat and drove, with the top open, over a bridge, where above me a green wheel turned. I watched my child (who looks so much like me) let go and felt only peace as he released his hold. I turned back time and became a young woman again. It was summer, 74 degrees (reduces to 11), and I was among a crowd of peers heading down a hill to swim. At the intersection of paths, I decided to walk alone. I went to the rocky shore, instead of the sandy, sun-filled beach, and stripped bare of my white shorts and flowered blouse, before I lay my body on the pebbles and let the water wash me clean. Here, I felt freedom. I felt release. I shouted back, fearless, to the girls who taunted me, calling them out on who they really were. I swam away from the boys who followed my naked form through the water, and pulled my clothes over my wet body before I walked back up the hill, alone. Later, in another dream, a messenger hugged me and told me it was time to surrender. To let [you] go. So I did.