Sunday, April 25, 2010

Death and Life

I’ve been thinking about my sister Deanne who was born on February 22, 1959 and died on April 15, 1984. I see her quite a bit in the young Indian women that I notice throughout Delhi, as Deanne’s skin was dark, something like my Uncle Alan. I remember her through my son Daniel, named after Deanne, and who, like her, is a very kind person. (In the Jewish religion we only name people after those who are deceased).

I guess that we all go through this thinking or feeling about those that we’ve known and who are no longer here, at least physically. Still 26 years later, I can still feel the pain, and a sense of loss, when I let myself feel it, when I delve deeply into my inner life. It’s not something that is with me all of the time which is fine and would tend to make me unable to live my life, but it lies there. A choice on my part? Maybe, but a part of my life.

Daniel, my dear son, will be turning 25 on May 15 and will be entering the postulate at Self-Realization Fellowship in July. This means that he will be on the road to becoming a monk. This is an amazing thing to me. Recently my parents visited Daniel at the Hidden Valley Ashram and they planted a tree for Deanne, a very touching action.

What does it mean that Daniel will become a spiritual figure in my family? Well, of course in my family, one thinks of rabbi’s, but no that’s not what is happening here. SRF is more about the larger world, i.e. the spiritual world and takes its teachings from a number of religions. I’m reading a book about the founder, Yogananda, perspectives from his brother, in order to try to understand further. I try not to be overly dogmatic in my spiritual practices, see the rationale in most religious practices, realistically view the contradictions when one tries to practice what is in religious books.

Daniel’s training will require that he is cut off from the outside world for a period of time. A two year training, with the first six months consisting of no outside contact. My sister Robyn was recently trying her best to explain this to me-one must go deep to really get in touch with one’s inner life and great artists all do this kind of thing. Yes, I can understand this on some level. Daniel is happy and hopefully will only become happier in life. What more can a parent ask for?

With feelings though there are always so many levels. As a parent with a really good relationship with Daniel, I want to maintain our contact, even though it may only be once/week, which is about what is happening now due to Daniel having limited e-mail access at the Hidden Valley Ashram. I’m told that this is not possible.

Yes, I suppose that a large part of this is about letting go. I’ve thought quite a bit about saying “my” when it comes to one’s children, because there is no “my”. I don’t want to possess another human being and I do want “my” children to be independent and find their own paths and both seemingly have at a very young age. (It’s funny for me to contrast this with the conversations that I’ve had with young adults in India and how involved parents tend to be). (I think that part of this is also letting go of how I was treated as a young adult and the inability, on some level, for my parents to let go resulting in me forcing the issue, but ultimately changing the way that I interacted with my parents, which has been positive). But, yet it is still difficult and I feel this deeply.

Ultimately, this will all work out, I have no doubts about that, because there is no other way. I feel as if I have given both Daniel and Sarah a good value base, that I’ve shown by example what it means to live in the world. I think in large part due to my divorce, both Dan and Sarah have been able to find themselves. I think that on some level they were forced to take paths that they wouldn’t have chosen otherwise, this being self-explanatory.

In the moment then, I can continue to have e-mail conversations with Daniel through July when he starts his “work”. In six months, in January, we will again hopefully be able to resume some contact, and we will both be different, certainly Daniel will be. But, maybe that’s part of the issue as well. It is indeed something to look forward to.


len y. manikan said...

you're coming full circle i think. now it's your time to let go of your children. i will get there soon too and hope to be prepared when the time comes.

Lori Escalera said...

Yep...I think by "letting go" you mean that you have to set them free to meet their destiny. I thought that my son was going to be me...only better. Boy, was I surprised when the outcome wasn't anything like what I may have been anticipating. Although, you know what Mike? This is just the first act of adulthood kicking in. Wait until after their neo cortex is entirely developed and they mature a bit more. I think they will come around to identifying a bit more with some of our ideals. I've been thinking about my brother too. xo