Monarch butterfly on flower

This morning as Luna and I were taking our walk, a funeral procession passed us.  Two motorcycle police officers escorted a hearse and about 20 cars with their lights on.  The officers stopped traffic so that the cars could flow as one unbroken procession through the intersection in front of me.  I felt waves of grief flowing through me.  Was it theirs or mine?

I placed my hand over my heart.  I breathed, and did Tonglen, a Buddhist exercise of acceptance, compassion and connection.  I felt the grief and breathed out love, hoping each person in that procession caught just a little fragment of comfort.

I do not know the circumstances of that death.  I do not know whether the deceased was an elderly person who had lived a long life or a life cut way too short.   I do know that those in the procession will now have to find a new relationship with that person in memories and in spirit.

At 57, I have ridden in many funeral processions: for my grandparents, dad, mom, a niece, a brother-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and family members of friends.   For a few moments today, I was in a swirl of grief, my hand over my heart, sending love for the brokenhearted and remembering my own journeys with grief.  And there was a bittersweet form of magic.

For a few moments, I was connected energetically with strangers experiencing their loss and sadness.

For a few moments, I had the realization that grief can actually crack us open and break through our sense of separateness.

For a few moments, the world stopped so a funeral procession could go by and on this day, everyone seemed alert to what was transpiring. No honking horns no one trying to cut into the procession.  I felt that I wasn’t the only one praying and sending love.

For a few moments, I was reminded of how fragile we all are.  None of get through life without loss and none of us escape the final journey.

For a few moments, I knew grief and embraced it, gently saying to myself and those in that procession, “It is okay to feel, I love you.”

Then the procession was gone.  Traffic returned to normal and we continued our walk. Luna sniffed and a butterfly flew by and I knew then for a few moments, that love is all there is and it is able to transcend all barriers.

I am grateful.

Butterfly photo by Carol Woodliff.

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