Essays, Articles and Posts on Topics of Serious Importance for this Monstrous World

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What does the sudden passing of a child teach us about life and death?

   What does the sudden passing of a child teach us about life and death? I was the last person to see my daughter’s face when she was awake and alive. It has been nearly 19 months since that day but I clearly remember it and want to recall it for you here as it was a remarkable final encounter of two conscious sentient beings. She was glowing. So help me, she was glowing. Her face was radiant and there was a halo of translucent light surrounding her.  Mind you, I am not a religious person. Well that’s not true. I am deeply religious in a profound way that from time to time can see the connection of all things and the great cloudless necessity to see the world and universe for what it precisely is without further credence toward illusion or myth. In that vein, I exist as a deeply religious person.  Watching her that night in the movie theatre of my mind, she was content, completely at ease, she was kind, she was at peace, and she was gentle and resting very comfortably.  The look in her eyes was one that defies description.  The entire scene as I recall it and review it in my mind defies description. You realize that I am trying to use words and our assumptions as to what those words mean to describe something that was holy and that transcends our abilities to understand in terms of facts, data and evidence what actually was taking place. She was glowing. I have to say it again because I am sure there are those who do not believe my initial account.  She was full of light and connected not just to her daddy and mommy but connected to the entire universe. When someone says connected to the universe, you may think those words point to images of galaxies and starry desolate images indicating something intensely expansive but this was not like that. When I say connected to the universe, it was small and cozy and comfortable but at the same time contained the entirety of the universe nonetheless in her eyes.  She was transfigured right before my eyes and in that moment the contentment and joy that she was wrapped me up in its arms like a cozy warm blanket enveloping me with an intensely present calm.  It was so deeply profound an experience that even simply recounting it takes my breath away these nineteen months later.  Ava lived a gentle happy life. She began smiling at just over a month old and not just the gassy smiles but conscious loving happy smiles by three months old it was clear that her entire existence was truly a happy one. As she grew older, she woke up singing and often her last act before falling asleep would be singing again.  Here is a poem that recounts this part of her life.

What child sings in the morning?

What child sings in the evening?

What child sings as the first act on waking?

What child sings as the last act of the evening, before sleeping?

Aye, but Ava, Aye, but She

The singing girl who lived across the street

 From the yellow flowers to which she would daily speak

 Like a cozy little bird in her nest

She sang the song of beauty

For which the universe wept.

    Now, the point of this essay is to look at the holy thing that is our death without fear or assumptions but to actually see it for what it is. Very few are fortunate to see the holiness of such a moment and still be around to discuss it. Ava was not apologetic or worried or anxious. She was calm and relaxed completely full of joy and light.  You realize, I didn’t know she was leaving us that night. I thought she was just really tired from a long busy day. When I went to wake her the next morning all that was there was the suit, the precious little body that she had been wearing and growing in for 3 and a half years that we lovingly attended to while she was here. The Ava that her mother and father knew as the little singing princess had disappeared completely into thin air without even a trace of her remaining. Our sweet, gentle, inquisitive Ava had completed the cycle of birth and death and returned to the nothing that is the everything from which we all emerge and to which we all return.  Below, I have placed a song I wrote a few months after her passing that illustrates in words the very phenomenon of our return and reunification with the nothing that is the everything.


You flew away on a Thursday

You were free

And daddy is with you baby girl

This I know of a Certainty

Cause you took so much of me when you left

And, You are Flying Free

Like a Butterfly in the Breeze

You are Flying Free

Li De Di Di De, Li De De

I can see you in the moon

You are smiling down on me

It warms my heart

I can feel you in the breeze

Your sweet wind of love

Sings a song to me.

And, You are Flying Free

Like a Butterfly in the Breeze

You are Flying Free

Li De Di Di De, Li De De

 Losing a child very suddenly interferes with the brain in such a way that presumptions and ideas are often re-examined for validity and sometimes discarded entirely.  I use the phrase in this essay to explain where we come from and disappear back to as the nothing that is the everything and I realize that it may seem paradoxical to those who have yet to penetrate that far.  Perhaps I will discuss that topic at greater length in a future essay for now let me assure the reader that from the perspective of this typist the nothing that is the everything is the only way to describe it. Paradoxes be damned, it is the reality of our world and universe and is constantly apparent to those who are cloudlessly aware. I refuse to be anything but kind in describing what is real. Kindness is the real message of this entire essay.  My little girl, perfect as she was, had came to us from nowhere gently and quietly. She then returned just as gently and quietly back to nowhere. I remember a moment the week before she passed when she was looking in the mirror on the door in our bathroom and was so enamored with her little body looking ever so pleased with herself. She was kind to herself in that moment enjoying all of who she was. How often do I look with disgust in the mirror at the person and shape I am? But not Ava, she looked gently and kindly at herself in the mirror that evening as I recall. That truly deep and holy kindness is what I experienced in our very last encounter together. Kindness is the operation of the universe that gently brings us into existence and when it is done, it gently removes us completely leaving nothing of a trace of us ever being here. Kindness, by my estimation, is all that actually exists.  

 The gentlest thing in the world
overcomes the hardest thing in the world.
That which has no substance
enters where there is no space.
This shows the value of non-action.

Teaching without words,
performing without actions:
that is the Master's way
…. Tao Te Ching Chapter 43 S Mitchell Translation