Living on opposite coasts and the immense fullness of life has made it feel challenging to stay in touch, and in truth it had been a long time since I had even spoken with my grandfather. The other day while speaking with my father I received a very clear message from heart that I needed to talk with Ho-Ho on the phone inside this mysterious transition he is in. And so the next day my father arranged it so this could happen, and called me from Ho-Ho’s bedside.
I had prepared myself for a potential sense of estrangement, due to the changes in my grandfather’s brain and speech, and not even knowing if he would realize with whom he was speaking. To the contrary, from the first words we shared I felt deeply, incredibly, surprisingly connected to him. It was startlingly sweet to recognize there was absolutely no distance between our hearts! Essentially I just told him how much I love him, how loved he is by all of us, and simply how much I appreciated all the time I got to spend with him when I was a little girl. I shared with him some of my most favorite memories of him from my childhood and told him that my children and I hold him close, every day, in our hearts and prayers.
His words in response were muddled, he repeatedly (poignantly, I felt) said the word “Ocean”, and I could feel that somehow what his mind intended to speak could not completely line up with the sounds his mouth was making. And yet undeniably I could feel his heart swell in receiving my words, and somehow I could understand him perfectly, understand this language of the heart he was speaking from. I said tenderly: “Yes, yes. Isn’t it amazing, Ho? How we can feel each other’s love so clearly? How there is no distance at all when it comes to the language of Love? How finally, that is all that matters?”
I have never, in all my years of knowing him, felt so connected to this man who is my grandfather. How mysterious, that sometimes the breaking down of certain functions and abilities, and a long-lived life slowly winding down towards the great transition to the other side, opens up the great capacity of the heart to feel, to speak from love, to hear love, to know love, more truly than ever. I think of the conversations I had with my children, long before they were conceived, and when they were growing inside my body: long, long before I ever had a chance to hear their sweet voices speak. And what a conversation of love we were in, for years, long before their bodies were in my arms and their mouths at my breast, long before they could say the words “I love you.”
Yesterday Ezra (5) rushed up to me proudly beaming with a picture in his hands that he had made, and the words written with his little hand for the first time: “I MAMA LOVE YOU EZRA”, everything lining up for him to let his fingers control the crayon, and with his big sister’s help, write the letters that spell out the truth of LOVE. But oh isn’t it true that Love is the continuous language we speak, before our first word is ever uttered, before breath, and after our last word, our last breath is taken? After the mind is taken, love is what remains. Love is what remains. The language of Love is Life’s consistent, unspeakable bow to itself. I send out love, and more love, to all. <3