The article I am about to write is very personal. It might be too much of my private life going down the roads of the Internet, but when it is about death, it is always very personal.
The past week has been very tough. I learned how a friend of mine got diagnosed with a 4th stage pancreatic cancer two weeks before and that he would die in the next few days. To be fair, my friend is the brother of my ex-partner. This man has always been very nice to me, and had even told my ex-partner he considered me like a sister.
I went to the hospital as soon as I heard the news. I hate hospitals. Tough memories. On my way to the room, I panicked a bit: “What am I going to say?”. You cannot ask a dying man how he feels. The moment I entered the room, I overcame the shock of his appearance and it all became very instinctive. The truth is: There are no words, there is only love.
When I was 16, I lost my aunt in similar circumstances. It was not so sudden though and she fought cancer for a few years. I loved her so much. Life was difficult at home and she never knew any of what was happening. For some reasons, she was the only person I wanted to call everytime something great would happen to me, like winning a competition or getting an award. She is the one who introduced me to opera: She offered me my first recordings of Carmen and Traviata. She would always ask me to sing for her and I never did: I was beyond shy. We were living far away from her and would visit her once a year in summertime. It was August when she left us. My cousin took me to the hospital. My aunt was a ghost of herself, and she did not recognize people anymore. I wanted to tell her how much I loved her. I wanted to go kiss her. But I never could. I sit on a chair. Looking at her. Holding all my sorrow in my throat. I was afraid if I would open my mouth, I would burst into tears and I did not want her to see that. I was frozen. She died the day after. Since then, I have been dedicating most of my singing to her.
I could never forgive myself for not being able to give her the love she needed at this time. Until now. Seeing the mask of death again, I understood that there was nothing to forgive. It took me 18 years. I was just a kid, and I was alone in the midst of chaos. No one was there to hold me through the storm.
I spent a lot of time time last week with my friend. I gave him what I could never give to my aunt: my smiles, my singing, my reading, my strength… Family, friends, prayers, he has been very supported. He is still alive against all medical expectations.
When you are about to lose a beloved one, you pray for a miracle, you pray hard. I had prayed for my aunt. It did not save her. One week ago though, something stroke me: the miracle. The miracle is already here: An independent being, breathing, heart-beating, able to choose to go left or right, to have ideas, to have a conversation, a being able to feel, to love… The miracle is here every second of life. You cannot ask for a miracle because it has already happened. When life stops, it is not because God gave up on us. The miracle has been here all along. You are the miracle and you are surrounded by the miracle.
The day of my aunt’s funerals, the weather was so beautiful, the sun was shining so bright that it added to my grief. Not only was she taken from me, but the whole universe was mocking my torment. Have you noticed how everything keeps going well around you when everything goes wrong in your life? The truth is, this is not life giving up on you, this is life telling you that the miracle is still here, no matter what.
So many people die young from unexpected circumstances. So many people lose a dear one at a young age. In matter of love, and in matter of death, time proves himself vertical sometimes. It is not easy to open one’s heart after feeling defeated. It is possible though, because the miracle is here every second of life, remember?
On Saturday, life brought me a gift. I met my idol Tori Amos. Her music helped me so much go through teenage years, it was like a treasure I would long for after school and work. Here she was, in front of me, and I could thank her for her music and hug her close to my heart. It was a truly beautiful moment. A miracle offered by life in the midst of chaos.
I have known for a long time that each and everyone of us is like a waterdrop of the same ocean: If you move, I move. Last week anchored that feeling a little more. We are One. If you open your heart, you will feel it. There is so much love available for you. Close your eyes for a moment and feel it.