Last weekend at this time I was reluctantly leaving Yosemite. For
the past 13 years my daughter and I visit on the first weekend in June.
The visitations began to find a happy place, a get away to nature and
renew place, a few months after my husband, her father, passed.
Passed. He died. But died is blunt, crash into a wall stopping. We
want to sugar-coat the enormity of the event, not wanting to remind
ourselves of the end. Our end. In particular, my end. We used to say
passed away. Everyone understood that meant died. In a polite way,
with eyes downcast, sadness contained. Away he went. Where, there was
no hint. He wasn't passING any longer. No, here he comes and there he
goes. He passed away. Somewhere. We understood he wouldn't be back.
Recently, however, when people die, we do not note that they passed
away. Now, we say, he passed. She passed. They passed. As if there
is now some understanding of a cross-over from here to there. No longer
is he away, he is over the line, but somehow, in hope, in wishing,
still here. Saying he passed, we understand that he died, he is no
longer living with us, but perhaps living still, in a different way.
The inference is, there is another side to the wall. There is hope.
Passed isn't a period at the end of life's sentence. It is a semicolon,
waiting for the next clause.
I've made my reservations for
Yosemite for 2016 already. I look forward to our return. To cycling
through the Valley, staying at historic Wawona. To letting ideas
percolate and emerge a week later as I process and remember and think and write.