It’s been a year since my friend C. died. I still miss her and think of her every day, think of the way that she died, making that final choice to end her life. How lonely she must have felt in those last moments, because dying the way she did, it cannot be but a lonely death. A final act that you must carry out on your own, without any of your loved ones at your side.
I know the feeling. I’ve been there. I’ve made that choice, I’ve made it more than once. But each time the outcome was different to hers. Not only in the obvious way that I am still here today, despite giving it my best shot not to be, but also in what I have taken from each time I’ve survived. Each time I’ve failed to die – because, ultimately that’s what I did; I failed to die, failed my mission – each time it’s brought me closer to some sort of truth about myself and about life. It’s not always been a truth I’ve wanted to hear or acknowledge, especially in those very first moments when I’ve realised that this didn’t work, either. But even so, it’s something that lives in me, this truth, whether I acknowledge it or not.
Last night I lit a candle for C., a yahrzeit, and I said a few prayers for her. Despite being of different faiths, I know that C. would have wanted me to do the things and say the prayers that felt right to me. The ones that help me deal with losing her.
One of the prayers says, towards the end of it; “it is God who is her heritage”. And that really made me think. About her, and where she is now, about who is looking after her, and it made me feel better.
But it also made me think about myself and the difficulties I’ve had recently, trying to cope with the not-knowing surrounding my biological heritage. And it made me think about the concept of remembering one’s divinity; what it really means. How, each and everyone of us was created in God’s image. That all of us, because of this, carry a little piece of divinity within, and how that is at the very core of who we are. And although this thought does not entirely dispel those existential questions of who I am and where I come from, I do find it very comforting to think that I do have a heritage that I know of. And it’s not just any heritage, it’s the Heritage, the one that I share with every other person on this earth.
There have been lots of twists and turns in my life, many many ups and downs, and I expect that I will continue to be presented with challenges to remember my divinity, but in the midst of all that, there are two things that have always been with me: the wish to have children – to pass that heritage on, and my belief in God. Those are the two ultimate constants in my life.
Those are my anchors.
Have a lovely day, make the most of it.