Let The Story Carry You

868. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I’m at 37,000 feet in a plane (of course) returning from my father’s 80th birthday party. He is the patriarch of the clan since his brothers are now all passed away. And isn’t that an odd phrase, passed away? They didn’t just go away. They passed away. I love how delicate and inexact language can be when we have no real grasp of what we’re describing. Passed away: an inexact reference of time and place. Perhaps it is a phrase of transcending time and place. They existed but are now away. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that they passed this way.

Many cultures believe that in death we return to the elements and the elements are forces. They are energy in motion. So, when they say, “My grandfather’s breath is in the wind,” they mean it. He was this. He is now that. He is vital and living and present. Energy can take many forms. After my grandfather died I sat in the mountains listening to the wind through the pines and I wanted to have the consciousness that saw death as transformational and generative. I imagined I could hear him in the wind and in the rustling of the grasses. He was this. He is now that. He was present. Of this I was certain: I carried forward his story.

It is rare for my immediate family to gather – my siblings have children who have children. We are spread out across the country so we often have a quorum but it is unusual for us to find a crossroads accessible to all. We all made it to this celebration. There was no question. We needed to see my father. He needed to see us. We needed to celebrate him and reaffirm our identity through sharing stories. We needed the young members to hear certain ancestor stories and through the story plug into the vitality, depth and breadth of their roots. In telling our story we revitalized and made visible the potency of our vast web of support always present in this world. We needed to know where we belonged in both linear and vertical time. I think I needed it most of all.

The event was made even more special with cousins that I have not seen in decades. My web is much larger than I understood. The entire space-time layer cake of my family was immediate visible. My niece brought her infant son, there was a tribe of two and three year old children playing, teenagers dreaming, college students aspiring, twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings achieving, mid-lifers taking stock, many nearing retirement and yearning to be free of achieving, elders appreciating and playing, and a very few tissue paper hands who whispered to me as we said good bye, “This will probably be the last time we see each other.” And I could not deny it although I said, “Don’t be silly! I will see you soon.”

As I said good-bye to my father this afternoon, I knew as I have never known that story is a force. It is elemental. It is both constant and constantly transforming. I can feel my ancestors present in our story just as my grandfather was present in the wind. I am a carrier of this story and grateful beyond words at how this story carries me.

One Response

  1. Beautiful Words…the word ‘dead’ as descriptive of someone I love has never worked for me…’in the wind’ I like…Thank-you.

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