The Last Post?

This may be the final post that I get chance to write for the Silent Eye… that decision has been taken out of my hands. I spent much of last week in hospital, having, as many of you know, been diagnosed with incurable small cell lung cancer last September. It has been an interesting and informative journey on so many levels as familiar things have been stripped away and a gift of love left in its place… rather like the tooth fairy leaving something of real value in place of a discarded incisor.

First to go was the illusion of near-immortality that gets us through life, one way or another. We know there is a certain inevitability about life leading to death, but we tend not to apply it to ourselves until we are forced to pay attention. Dealing with the situation that made me sit up and listen meant that the body came under attack. As its fitness levels diminished, my job went… and so did my face and figure. All core things with which I have identified myself over the years.

Well, you would, wouldn’t you? Even language conditions you to that… ‘my face’, ‘my body’… ‘my life’, forgetting that we borrow the raw materials of our physical existence from Mother Nature and that they will, one day, have to be returned.

Bit by bit, the human version of one’s identity is stripped away. You are too weak now to dance, couldn’t climb a slope, let alone a hill, if you tried and are going to have to be pushed in a wheelchair… the way you have done for your son all these years, in a complete role reversal. Except that he is still stuck in the wheelchair and you can’t even trade places to make it a good deal. Because there are no ‘deals’ at the end of life.

So, eventually you accept that you won’t make it to retirement. Your voice changes, disappearing every so often. Then, an eye goes… and not in some fixable way. So you can no longer drive the thousands of miles that have been your joy. Or see to paint or write with ease, or even watch the birds on the feeder. And while you are given lots of hope about the outcome while they wait for test results, it is not a surprise when you are told that the cancer that had started in your lungs has now set up multiple homes in your brain.

Or that the ‘months’ you had been given have now been reduced to ‘days to weeks… if you are lucky’.

If you haven’t started to let go of the identification of yourself by what you have done, the definitions of ‘self’ imposed by language, role and label, then having them forcibly torn away is really going to hurt. The human personality is programmed for survival, and the possibility of extinction… like a candle flame forever snuffed out… is anathema to the ego.

The ego… the personality we wear like a protective shell as we walk through the world…  wants to have mattered, to be remembered, to have made a difference. Sometimes it has… and may learn before life ends that it did. And that is a joy, although it comes with a certain regret. How would life have been different had you always known that you were so loved and made a difference? Yet each one of us, every one of us, does so…simply by being present in the world, we change it indelibly. By reaching out to a friend, by comforting a child, by simply being human, sharing life and love and laughter… and tears… we each make the world a different place, moment by moment. We may never see the ripples of what we do or say, or know how far we can shape a day or a person by our actions. We each have that power… and responsibility.

But if we had known how much we mattered in the world, or how much love might be out there waiting for us to let it in, would we have tried to become better at being human? A better vessel for the spirit that animates Mother Nature’s gift of form? Who can say? But I suspect that complacency could be a real danger.

And then you reach the real goodbyes, realising that letting go of the illusions of identity which have, inevitably, helped get you through life, was just a step towards learning how to look at someone you love and say goodbye for the last time. We say goodbyes all the time… it shouldn’t be so hard. But that ‘last time’ seems awfully final. You look at the spring flowers and know you will not see the heather bloom again, or look up at a full moon and know, with a fair amount of certainty, that it will be your last. That ‘tomorrow’ is now an uncertainty.

There is grief at leaving behind the human loves, the beauty and all the things that make our experience on earth so rich and varied. There is, for many, a clear roadmap of where we go next. For those who hold such beliefs close to their heart, there is no ego-fear of annihilation. Nor is there an ending…

Spring is the time of rebirth and the daffodils are in bloom here. I hold to an inner certainty of an existence beyond this one. It is more than belief, but if there are those who choose to call it an expression of that very ego-fear it erases, that is their privilege. I have experienced enough ‘otherness’ to know the difference.

I believe that we are all expressions of the One, by whatever name, story or symbol we seek to understand It. Talking with my son today, he compared us to a microbe on our skin trying to understand the workings of our universe. So much we may be able to deduce, sometimes we are granted a glimpse beyond the Veil… but for the most part, we are far too small to see the Design or know its reasoning in its entirety.

From its essence we are brought into manifestation, still part of the One… and when we depart this world, we are still part of the One. As the components of our bodies are returned to earth, so is the animating spirit returned to its source, carrying with it the fruits of our learning and adding to the store of Creation’s understanding. If the One is All, then it can be no other way and the separation we feel through loss or death is an illusion, painful to the human side of us, but perhaps with a purpose too. If we are here as ‘crystallised spirit’ as some have called it, then we are here to learn things that spirit alone cannot learn and we cannot do so without seeing both sides of life, bright and dark, joyous or sad. How would we know how deep love goes without the grief of loss?

Like many others these days, I have been given the privilege of being able to say goodbye. To leave those I love with memories of smiles and laughter, fierce hugs and gentle tears… for, when you know in advance, the grief of letting go works both ways.

I watch as those I love and am leaving find their own place within themselves and within the circle of love that surrounds them unseen, knowing that they will grow through the grieving, and that anything I could have done to help is done. In the end, as friends, teachers, partners or parents… we can only ever guide faltering footsteps and hold a hand along the way. Choosing the way forward and having the courage to take that chosen path is always down to the individual and when they realise that, they also begin to realise how strong they can be.

And now, for me, comes a time of gratitude, where I look back at what an amazing life I have been granted… for they all are, even when they seem small and pale against the big screen of fame or notoriety. And I can wonder at how much I have learned from the living of it. And how much love it has held… and then find that there was even more than I could possibly have believed.

This may be the last post I write for the Silent Eye, a school with which I have worked for years and which has given me so very much more in return than I could have dared to dream. I would not have missed this adventure for the world. And any time now, I will embark upon the next… and all I will take with me is love. And that is always enough.

466 thoughts on “The Last Post?

  1. A heart wrenching post. Last words here or not, I am sure I will continue to read your words for the time i still have remaining.No real words, except that I am glad you know how many people you have touched 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It had been lovely to know you, Trent, and be a small part of your inspiration over the years. There are thousands of posts out here now as well as the books… hopefully they’ll hang around to be read for a while. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It has been great knowing you 🙂 I am now about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through Swords of Destiny and really enjoying it! And I know there is plenty more out there.

        Like

  2. Dear Sue, I hope it will be of some small comfort for you to know that your words and humour and the very essence of you, gleaned ‘virtually…’ will long be remembered. Sweet dreams. Love Joy xx

    Like

  3. Oh Sue….so sorry to read this. ( I tried to reply and I wasn’t sure it appeared…?! ). I really hoped we could all meet up again on a Silent Eye “do”….I was standing by Drumin castle looking across to the Doune of Dalmore, wondering how you were doing? Thank you for your honest and candid account, it wasn’t easy to read🥲….and it is difficult to find the words, but I do feel much Love and Light and send and surround you with this…I have a strong sense you, I, we are part of an extended “ spiritual family” and have travelled together many times, in many ways. Until the next time, whenever, wherever….much love Sue . Dean xxx

    Like

    1. Thank you, Dean, I think that ‘family feeling’, a sense of kindred spirits for want of a better word, has been threre since we first met… and wraps around many who have come together at this time. We will meet again when such fits the need and purpose. Think of me when the heather blooms. Much love xxx

      Like

        1. That would be lovely, Wayne… although I always look at your blog, even if I don’t leave a footprint. We have no eagles left in England now, though there are somein Scotland. But I have the red kites outside my window every day.

          Like

  4. You may no longer be present in body at this time that j read your blog and write this but I feel I know your spirit at a time when it has already possibly flown…..how amazing is that. Words have so much resilience…resounding through the depth of time. Explore the light!

    Like

  5. My heart is breaking for you. But you are in my thoughts, prayers and manifestations. You are so brave. I wish I knew what to say. 🫂

    Like

          1. Hey…I just started reading ‘Pass the turkey’. I love that story, and it’s even in prose! I hope you don’t mind but I’ve been posting snippets on Twitter as I read. -grin- the funniest bits. My boy Kushie understood English too and we had to spell things out in front of him. 😀

            Like

              1. Thank you. I really like sharing snippets from you and Ani. As for how do they know? I think they read minds. Not all of them, but the ones who look at you with those questioning eyes, trying to work out what you’re doing. Cats too, but don’t tell Ani or she might disown me. 🙂

                Like

  6. I wanted to leave a comment when I first read this but felt it was somehow brash of me as I’m not a regular reader. I’ve been aware of your writing for a number of years and know you are held in the highest of esteem by those who do read and follow your blogs. Many people that I do follow, read your blog and that’s how I came by here. Beth and Jennie both posted on you. You have said here what I want the courage to say when that time comes and not just drift off into the unknown. I’m at the end of a 2 – 5 year life expectancy from Pulmonary Fibrosis. Watching the changes each day in my capacity to see well enough to read and move about due to a system that slowly, quietly ceases to function properly is not something you share with most people. They don’t want to know. I hear you and understand how difficult this can be. I’m thankful you have chosen to share. It gives me strength when it’s just so easy to quietly vanish. Every morning that I wake up, I’m amazed, delighted and grateful. Your strength helps touch those you don’t even know. Thank you. You are in my prayers now too.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hello, Marlene, I am glad you decided to get in touch. I know how strange that can feel, in any circumstances, let alone when it is almost a ‘last chance’ sort of moment.
      I cannot imagine living through several years of chronic illness without hope of a cure at the end of it. My eldest son, left severely disabled after a random attack, has always said the same. Words like ‘courage’ and ‘inspiration’ are used because we don’t have better, more appropriate ones… but in the end, it is simply about not standing still and getting on with living.
      I too am now watching the systems slow ready for stopping. The body is a wonderful piece of machinery that we don’t fully appreciate till it starts wearing out! At this stage, I’d love the ‘3-5’ you mention, even as weeks. But I am grateful every day to see the sun rise 🙂 Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Your grace and courage are an inspiration for us all. I wish you a pain-free passing to your next adventure. Here’s hoping that if fate allows, this won’t be your last post. All my most heartfelt wishes.

    Like

  8. Thank you Sue for sharing these words of courage. We don’t know each other but I know that I’ll remember you by these words. I’m already wishing for a miracle and I wish I’ll be able to read more posts from you. What ever may happen your beautiful soul will certainly find peace!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This is the first post of yours I have read and I sincerely wish, I had done it sooner. Sue, your post kindled something in me. The depth that it had and the absolute love it showered and the gratitude that you have towards life…is astounding. Well, you are destined for something bigger and you are not leaving but you are blessed to become one with the light, the ultimate and the one to guide all of us. You are never gone but you will always be amongst all of us forever shining light when we tread the dark. You have shown true courage and your words at such times is the truth by itself. I will forever remember you as that brightest star in the sky and the beautiful moon every night. Sending my prayers and love along..

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Good. My email is abehrhardt at gmail dot com – if you would prefer a short daily email on a more private channel. No reply necessary to it – just a way to send a funny picture or something thoughtful you might enjoy.

        Here is fine if that’s your preference.

        Like

Please leave a comment - we would love to hear from you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.