Saturday, November 22, 2008
"To die, to sleep - no more - and by a sleep to say we end the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep - to sleep - perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.
"Hamlet Prince of Denmark", Act III Sc. i
Must give us pause.
Pause I have done often of late as a confluence of events have brought to mind and heart memories of dear ones who have shuffled off their mortal coil. First, the celebration of Dia de los Muertes when, among other observances, I set a place for them at my table. So many meals I shared with them: delicious food and drink and wit whose taste is a loving feast for my mind and heart. Thanksgiving Day is nearly upon us and I cannot help but think of them with a bit of sorrow, but moreso with a great feeling of gratitude that they lived, that they chose to be and that we were blessed to be together. I have also been unpacking belongings in my new home, discovering anew the gifts and memories they bestowed.
Some passed on after long lives with all the attendant achievements and respect 'of so long life', yet it was still a natural shock to have them go. Many of these dear ones were taken so suddenly, so unexpectedly about ten or eleven years ago that I still reel, especially at times like these. In the early days after their passings I found it hard to 'bear the whips and scorns of time' taking them before any of us felt they should go.
Slowly, slowly, in bits and pieces Prince Hamlet's existential soliloquy seeped into my thoughts: 'To die, to sleep - to sleep - perchance to dream'. "They did not have to die to dream," I began to argue in my mind. "Nobody has to die - to sleep - to dream!" I don't know whether it was my inherent insistence upon using my own mind or the heartfelt encouragement of all those dear ones who have gone before me, but that argument took root in my heart and sent up its shoots. I listened.
I listen still. I follow that assertion: ""Nobody has to die - to sleep - to dream." That hidden root has blossomed into a surety that following one's dreams is the route to take To Be.
"Be yourself, it's all that you can do." (Chris Cornell)