Monday, March 19, 2012

birth and death

Birth and death—the bookends of life. Each experience has such opposite connotations and emotions attached to it, yet somehow they seem intertwined. The utter beginning and utter end, the circle of life, both so surreal in nature. 

I buried my Uncle last week (which is why I haven't been posting), and have found my mind riddled with complicated thoughts ever since. Somehow experiencing this loss while 8 1/2 months pregnant made everything feel so much more intense, profound and symbolic. During such a great period of joy for me, at the very brink of bringing a brand new life into the world, my Uncle was lying in a bed at the very end of his life. He took his last breath and my child is about to take her first. I couldn't make sense of it…not that anyone can when it comes to death. It was simply bizarre to be standing at a funeral, worried I was about to go into labor.

My due date also happens to be two days before my deceased mother's birthday—another contradiction of emotions. In a way, I feel like all this commingling of birth and death is a testament to life in general. With the brightness comes darkness, one cannot exist without the other, just as death cannot exist without birth. As much as we may resist or dislike one end of the spectrum, the existence of these opposites enriches life and cultivates gratitude. I know that the beautiful life inside of me feels all the more sacred and blessed having just experienced the loss of another beautiful life. And I completely believe that my mother had a hand in bringing this baby to me on (or near) a day that in the past brought me sorrow—she was always one to remind me of life's joy in the face of pain, she would want to transform mourning into celebration.

"Man's feelings are always purest and most glowing in the hour of meeting and of farewell." ~Jean Paul Richter

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