Passing with the Seasons
“I am but one of all the billions of lives which pass through the universe… I have nothing to be afraid of.” – Todd Turner, McCauley Apartments resident, October 2016
We can never forget the little things which make a person special and unique. Our memories are not as selective as we think they might be. And so, when we learn of someone passing, we are most often subject to a whirlwind of memories and instances which only we keep. They flutter around in our heads like falling leaves which, as they settle in our consciousness, force us to collect them together into a little or large pile.
So, what next? What do we do with this collection of invaluable treasures and all that is really left of an individual who became a part of who we are? Do we store the memories in a bag and put them into a place where they won’t interfere with our passage through daily living? Or, do we leave the pile there and wait for the winds and the snows to have their way with them, so as not to lose the natural passage of awareness and time? Most of us would like to have the memories to replace the emptiness we feel knowing the people are no longer present, I think, but I guess there really is no true answer. I suppose some psychologists and therapists might have the answer, but then it is I who has the privilege of drawing up the forthcoming analogy. Forgive me for this.
At one point, I had likened all of this to a giant and intricate wooden block puzzle in the shape of our body. We are this puzzle, and the person who has passed occupied the space of some of those blocks. We now have some blocks which are no longer solid pieces of our construct, but rather translucent fragments of the whole. We can see through those parts, because we no longer have that person to fill the space and keep it filled. Only the memory and knowledge of their character and personality, layered with the memories of why we know this about them, slightly colour the emptiness. And when we feel there was still something to learn, or know about the space they occupied, we are disappointed in that those spaces are and will never quite be filled. Eventually, we realize that it all still works together, and we can see into those spaces more and more clearly as we continue on with our lives.
As when, in the winter, the waters turn to ice and crystallize, we can feel the solidness of what was once liquid and shapeless. We need the cold to harden it to a solid state, where we can peer into it and see the way the light and refractions of images affect our vision of what lies on the other side or around it. Notice that, generally, when we look upon an unfrozen body of water at an angle, the reflection of light and the environment creates the surface upon which we cannot walk and study in total stillness, but in it’s frozen state, we can brush away the snow and gaze. What we see is the perfect instance of all that it is, and we can ponder on the thoughts and questions which might come to our minds. During this time, time stands still, and we have this opportunity. Hopefully, by spring and the melt, we will have all our thoughts arranged, and questions answered enough to ready ourselves for the new life and activity which inevitably sweep us into another season and another cycle of life.
I want to dedicate this article to two amazing individuals who passed recently at McCauley Apartments: Reginald Sims (October 24) and Todd Turner (November 6). They were equally intriguing and loved by many, but were two quite different beings of light, and their personalities were a contrast. Like an orchid and a rose, they each had qualities unique and genuinely beautiful. What was common between them, however, was an enormous spirit of generosity, numerous acts of tremendous caring, and a brave sense of adventure. All the many, many people from various programs and organizations and their stories and sense of loss and shock at Reggie’s memorial service at the McCauley Apartments truly reflected a person who quietly touched the world around him. A different, and yet equally moving, memorial for the confident and strong-willed Todd took place on November 21, for someone who would do anything to help another out if he knew they needed it.
It is fitting that the weather is holding out against the cold and snow, as I have not yet gathered up all the memories and instances of either of their lives. I must say, I still don’t know if I will wait for the winds and the snow to have their way with them, or if I will try to store them away someplace. Perhaps, when the winter ice is hit with light at just the right angle, and I can muster the will to brush away the snow, I will be able to take in the stillness of each of their lives before the changing of the season arrives, and hopefully it brings new life and energy to this existence of mine.
On behalf of the McCauley Apartments, and its amazing community members and supporters, I thank you for following my words to this point. I am sorry that I could not share more intimate details of Reggie or Todd. Please take care, and enjoy all the moments with your loved ones.
Taro is the Community Development Officer – McCauley Apartments.