Sunday, September 16, 2012


Beddis Beach, Salt Spring Island
c 2011

A month has passed since the death of my brother and I have been walking the path of grief with as much personal truth as I have. On this day, I reflect on time and draw on work from last year and another loss:

   "What do our lives owe to the spirits of those who have passed? What do the living owe to the dead? Does memory, fading memory, suffice? Time delivered at a graveside? Conversations into the beyond?
   What is it that could possibly be enough to tell a loved one that we care, that we notice the absence of their physical being, that we feel a hollow place where they once rested within us?
   You cannot be replaced with something else, not with actions nor words nor tributes. All I can do is to open myself more, to let that universal energy flow through me and know, in this one act, we are united eternally."

-Gillian Cornwall, written on June 24, 2011.


Boo said...

Beautifully said. Chris hears.
Sending love xo

Lauren CS. said...

Beautiful and true. The question of how to honour someone when they are gone ultimately speaks (for me) to the larger question of what a life, once it is lived, means. I think, for me, to honour someone you have lost is to try and let those qualities you so admired in them live on through you... for me, this is one of the most "active" ways we can pay tribute. ...

Gillian said...

Thank you Lauren.
I love what you have said here and concur wholeheartedly. The greatest inheritance we receive is the lesson of the lives of those who have gone before us.

Renée said...

There's nothing I can add that says more than you've said here already—as well as your other very eloquent commenters—but I will say that I believe that somehow, we carry their life in us and continue an aspect their life through our living. What comes to mind is e.e. cummings' words:

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Gillian said...

Renee - Thank you for your comment. I, too, believe we are the vessels for those who have passed, through sharing their characters, traits and stories with others. My brother's life, and the courage and beauty with which he lived it, is the greatest inheritance, the greatest gift he could have given me upon his physical departure. I love your Cummings quote. Wonderful. Thank you for this.