Monday, May 30, 2011
Gratitude and Respect
Word came today that Dr. B has entered hospice.
Years ago, I tried to express my gratitude to Dr. B for all that he had done for me. He conjured up the image of a long line of people, with me standing in the front, and he in the number two spot. He said that what he had done for me, number three had done for him, and number four had done for number three, and so on, stretching back to time immemorial. He told me that the way to express my gratitude to him was to turn around and give my gift to the next person in front of me. I will be dwelling on this challenge in the coming days.
Dr. B initiated me into life. He was my Virgil that accompanied me on my descent into grief. When I was afraid, he was my Buddha signaling the Abhaya Mudrā. When I discovered that joy hurt as much as grief, he was my patient Bodhisattva, smiling knowingly.
I've been preparing myself for years for this inevitability. There will be grief, of course. I love Dr. B. I am terribly attached. But the coming experience is much bigger than grief, bigger than Dr. B and me. The coming tsunami is grief and joy and awe of our tragic, comic human condition and gratitude and respect to Dr. B for opening my heart to the experience of life.