Memory and Memorial.

My best friend’s mother passed away last week after a very intense and painful illness. The family is large and strong and will get through this terrible loss with love and mutual support. Of course, with every death grows the immediate appreciation of life and what it holds, and to live well and live hard while we may.

At a dinner party the other night, his wife raised a powerful and evocative thought, which I had never considered before, and am appreciative of being exposed to. She simply adduced that it is the physical body of a person that we become conditioned to see and know and love, but when that tangible form is gone, it is clear that the spirit and personality of the deceased is the thing that we had truly become familiar with – and had truly loved the entire time. The physical body is then just a discarded shell, and it makes no difference what corporeal form it took. This seems obvious, but I had not considered it in these words or in this manner.

I scanned the room during dinner after this was accorded, from eye to nose to hairstyle of some of my dearest friends. It is these forms that I have come to be reliant upon, and from which I gain great joy – Evan’s sharp fashion and constant contact; Chris’s scratchy beard and firm hugs; Jenn’s fabulous prints and witty blether – just a few of this particular group that I expect to see and interact with on a regular basis.

But none of it matters, and none of these traits nor idiosyncrasies last. What remains is the personality, manner, soul, energy, or however it needs to be identified. That is what we miss most, and that is where the real loss is felt. The body is just a vehicle from which to cast the interminable parts of love.

12 Responses to “Memory and Memorial.”

  1. _phobia Says:
    March 21st, 2005 at 10:48 am

    A wonderful and inspiring post. Thank you.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    March 21st, 2005 at 8:38 pm

    It was all her; I just expounded a bit. I'm glad you enjoyed it, regardless.

  3. thistlelurid Says:
    March 21st, 2005 at 11:22 am

    My grandmother's hands in mine…the way my grandfather would run his finger across my
    brow to brush the hair out of my eyes..its difficult to think of the body as just a shell,
    regardless if thats what it ultimately is in the end. So much of a persons spirit and energy
    is transfered through the physical…back and forth between you…..a vessel, yes….
    but there is always an undeniable longing for that one last touch.

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    March 21st, 2005 at 8:42 pm

    This fits in so well with what I know of you and how you operate. Also, it shares quite a bit of my own patterns and routine. We're so rooted in the physical, but there's so much more to be explored; so many other methods of being. Perhaps to look beyond the edges of physicality might be good for us in the way we live our lives. "Unplugging" from material input for just a moment.

  5. dichroicynosure Says:
    March 21st, 2005 at 2:37 pm

    Something about the ephemeral but tangible presence people have via the internet resonates with that noncorporeal thought. When people disappear here it feels real and for some, there has never been a real fixity about their physical form to anchor my feelings to.
    Thank you SO MUCH for your b-day letter.

  6. FunkyPlaid Says:
    March 21st, 2005 at 8:48 pm

    This is totally accurate, and I never thought about it this way before. It IS very similar, because the noncorporeal is all we have to go by here. When some of my various friended Internet personalities disappear for a time, it leaves me with a strong longing that I wouldn't think I'd miss so much.
    And then there's the absolute absence of the physical, which carries elements of teasing and torture all in one, as we struggle to create a physical persona for our invisible friends. Anticipation, expectation, fantasy. Hell, I've already created a majority of your mannerisms and head movements and furtive glances. 🙂
    I'm glad you received the letter, and I hope that your b-day was splendid.

  7. no_mans_land Says:
    March 21st, 2005 at 5:53 pm

    <small>this philosophy has always rung true to me. our soul/spirit is made up of energy, like everything else. it is constantly morphing and changing. the bottom line is that energy never dies. it makes sense that our essence would remain palpable, even after we have left our physical bodies.
    i love to see other people expressing thoughts such as these.. gives me comfort.</small>

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    March 21st, 2005 at 8:57 pm

    You know, whether or not I jive with the extension of energy/soul beyond death issue (which I often do), I think what I was trying to advance here was more that it is the spirit of a person that we miss once they're gone. The physical shell that we get so used to seeing and touching and smelling – the Sarah/Darren/Bertha creature that we come to nominate as who WE are – stops being the identifier of personality and persona. Once the body dies, we long for a loved one's spirit. It's a fascinating notion. We stop identifying with our eyes and weep for the lack of spiritual presence alone.
    I'm glad you're comforted, and I understand why. It's like a legacy that we always create, to be remembered by our loved ones forever. This is what made me choose a long time ago to be good to others, and to live a high-standard existence. To use my mutant powers for good rather than evil. It's worth the work.

  9. hermiston Says:
    March 21st, 2005 at 7:05 pm

    Ah'm saddened by reading such a sincere post, and I know you can apply my feeling for me the best. Strange that I'm here feeling my mood change on account of this loss. We wish it wouldn't happen but it must.
    Incidentally I found myself thinking about my own Gran today, and I remembered her clearly on some endeavour of hers, and two years after we lost her she was alive to me again, and it was as if I hadn't seen her face in so long. we can't ever lose those we love.

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    March 21st, 2005 at 9:29 pm

    There's my boy. So glad to have your eyes here, and your words with me again.
    Your memory is indeed powerful, and your link to family and loved ones is perhaps one of the more determined things I've witnessed. I love this about you. We keep speaking about you with great fondness and eagerly wish to catch up over whisky and wine when we can once again meet.

  11. spiffington Says:
    March 22nd, 2005 at 3:52 am

    Please pass on my thoughts to Ev won't you?
    Be thinking of you all 🙂

  12. FunkyPlaid Says:
    March 22nd, 2005 at 11:46 am

    Of course I will, and thank you. You should be receiving a little something in the post not too far from now. Stop by AIM when you have some time and say Hi, would you? I'd like to hear how things are with you and yours.

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