April 2, 2012

Your soul has a body

March 31 076-1
The way time marches on after a loss is stunning at first. It’s jarring—to log into Facebook, to watch the news, to go to the grocery store. Everything else carries on as it was before, except for you.  You are changed. 
The world doesn’t stop and wait for you to get it together though, you know?  Last week was such a blur.  Edd passed away Tuesday, his body was removed from the house shortly after, the visitation was Thursday, and the funeral service Friday. It was all so fast. There were flowers, emails, cards, tears, and wonderful words from wonderful people. It was amazing to hear of the reach Edd has had in his lifetime. But it was all so fast.  And now family has trickled back to their respective homes, and this week we carry on.  Sometimes numb. Sometimes not.
It’s Monday morning of a new week and here I am at my desk, sunlight streaming in through the window beside me and my trusty little laptop before me.  I’ve had coffee and a bagel and half an apple, and now I’m sitting down to do something I’ve done a thousand times before (write a blog post), but it feels different now.  More important.  Because last week was game changing…  Totally and completely game changing.  But how do I make people understand that?  What I saw?  What I felt?  What I’m still feeling?
Maybe it’s too early for this.  Maybe I’m not quite ready yet.  But I feel this need to carry on—this urge to do things that would make Edd proud.  To get moving on this life thing.  Because it’s precious, and it’s fragile, and it ends. 
Last Tuesday I watched a life end.  Or perhaps I should say I saw a body die.  Because what hit me like a ton of bricks that Tuesday at 11:35 AM is that we are not our body.  We are something else.  We are what lives inside our body as long as it’s still breathing, but what makes you YOU is not your body. Your body is the shell of you, and it really is a fragile shell. I didn’t grasp that until last week, and it was a real revelation for me. Seeing someone’s shell, with the person missing from it, is the most surreal experience, but also an important one.  We spend so much time fretting about what’s on the outside, and not nearly enough time worrying about what’s on the (proverbial) “inside.”  The part of you that doesn’t die. 
I have a feeling that last Tuesday and the week that followed will be the single most defining time in my life.  It really put things into perspective for me, and I hope I can hold onto that perspective. 
There’s more I could say, but it can wait. I’ll leave you with a piece my mom read at Edd’s funeral…

When death comes for us,

may our lives be already safely stored away
in the minds and hearts and memories of those we have loved,

and in the happiness and well-being of all we have helped,
and may death find no life to take from us
but shuffle off defeated,
having relieved us only of our dying.

                                                                -- Robert Brault

76 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss Jenni. :-(

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  2. Beautiful, Jenni. Absolutely beautiful.

    ~Tiffany
    http://tiffanyd22.blogspot.com

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  3. I have been thinking of you lots since that day. This is beautiful and gave me chills. I don't have the right words to say, but I think it's pretty amazing that you are coming away from this with such a wonderful perspective, and with an inspiring amount of motivation. I know how that feels, to want to do better beacuse of someone, I only hope I can be as strong as you when I am faced with something like this in the future. <3

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  4. Jenni,
    I've been thinking of you this week and praying peace for your family. I think what you said here is so powerful...we are so much more than our bodies...we are soul and spirit. Everything that makes us who we are doesn't die with our bodies, but lives on..."where oh death is your sting?"

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  5. I completely understand. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Samantha
    http://areyoutheredaditsmesam.blogspot.com/

    (a journey through GREIF and LIFE after the loss of my Dad)

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  6. this is a very touching post, jenni...

    i'm sure you will only grow to be an even MORE awesome (awesomer..?) person...

    xo

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  7. Beautiful post, Jenni! That week during and after is indescribable, and unless you've experienced loss, you can't even begin to relate. I hope you are doing best as you can, and I am proud of you for sharing with us. Lots of love!

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  8. You have been on mind every day since last Tuesday.....and in my prayers.

    I lost a very close friend three years ago and shortly after her passing I read one of her favorite books "Tuesdays with Morrie" and there is a line in the book which has sustained me through every "I miss you" moment from then till now.

    Death does not end a relationship only a life.......but I like what you said even more......"We are what lives inside our body as long as it’s still breathing, but what makes you YOU is not your body. Your body is the shell of you, and it really is a fragile shell."

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  9. You are completely right, we are not our bodies. I know Edd will be so proud of whatever you go on to do in life! You are a beautiful person (inside and out). Also, the piece that your Mom read is so beautiful...and true.

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  10. I really do understand what you are going through. Not only from losing loved ones, but I also remember when I worked in the ER and had my very first experience with losing someone.
    Everyone else was used to the experience and able to continue with the work day, but I just had to stand there and take it all in.
    Our life never ends, but goes on. Death is but a pause in our eternal existence.

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  11. So very sorry for your loss. Death is one of inevitable things that really does change everything. I am praying that you are able to feel peace in the darkness of grief.

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  12. I've thought of you often this past week. I know how hard it is to lose a loved one, especially when it seems too soon for them to leave us. What your mom read at his funeral was such a perfect sentiment. Poignant, true, and beautiful. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers, Jenni.

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  13. Y'all are still in my thoughts. Beautiful post and beautiful poem. <3

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  14. those words are so beautiful, jenni. and it's true. the way life moves on and unsuspecting people continue going to work, filling their cars with gas, making dinner, running errands... and meanwhile you're stuck in this pause because someone so incredibly important to you just died. it's so crazy.

    i am wishing you lots of sun and brighter days ahead. i imagine all that you've written about edd here on this blog has done him proud. seriously.

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  15. Love you Jenni. Thank you for these words. You wrote it so beautifully. It is hard to know what to say when something like this happens, but I just wanted to let you know I have been thinking and praying for you all week.

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  16. My uncle died of cancer in January -- the first "close" relative I've known to pass in our relatively small family. It hurt so terribly and is still hurting. We just had our first big family function this past weekend when he was not present, but I had the overwhelming sensation that he was there -- he was there with us as we spoke about him and laughed about him once again, sharing stories we've shared many times before. You're right: we are not our body. Our uncle is still with us. Not in the way that we would want him to be, but alive and well in our hearts.

    xoxo

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  17. Such a beautiful post. Death really opens up our eyes to a whole different perspective. Edd is so proud of you. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  18. this is such a beautiful post. so sorry for your loss, i hope things begin to get easier for you and your family soon.

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  19. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. Grasping this concept that we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience is helpful in understanding it's just a temporary loss. My thoughts go out to you and your family :)

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  20. Beautiful, and so sad. I hope you are feeling Ok today :) xxx

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  21. I believe that this is one of the most beautiful posts that you have written, Jenni. Such true words.

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  22. This post is really beautiful. I'm so sorry for your loss! I'll be thinking about you (and this post!)

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  23. You have to keep going - whether you want to or not - but you have to allow yourself time to pause when you need to as well.
    I guess that's the key - give yourself what you need. Be kind to yourself. It's ok to be ok - and ok not to.
    Hang in there.
    :)

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  24. A very moving post, Jenni. You and your family are still in my thoughts and prayers.

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  25. I can completely relate to this. We lost a friend & neighbor of ours a few months back and I felt the same way...I was almost angry that the rest of the world was moving on like nothing had happened. How dare they! But, it sounds like you have found the right perspective & balance with your grief (which it took me much longer to do). Keeping your family in my prayers...

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  27. Jenni,
    I understand what you are feeling. When I was about 10, a very close family friend passed away from lung cancer. For the week previous to his passing, it was like watching a shell walking around. His spirit had comepletely left him. It really changed my ideas about mortality from a young age. I think that we are definitely more than just bodies. Many people disagree to what our purpose may be, but there is certainly something very special about life and the soul.
    My thoughts continue to be with you...

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  28. I'm so sorry for your loss. Yesterday made exactly a year since I lost one of my dearest friends to throat cancer. He found out he had it and two months later he was gone. The poetry at the end of your post holds beautiful sentiment. Thank you for your words.

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  29. beautifully written. This post reminded me of when I watched my dearest grandpa pass away. I remember seeing his body and realizing that it wasn't him. That what made him HIM was his soul- and that his body was just the shell for it. His body looked different because it no longer held the beautiful soul that resided in it for all those years. It was such a touching experience for me as well. Once again sorry for your loss.

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  30. i saw the title Edd and i couldn't bring myself to read your previous post...i was so sad for you and your family. my heart definitely goes out to you and yours! may your mom find comfort in the love they shared!

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  31. Very beautifully written, Jenni. I am so sorry for what you & your family are going through right now. I know what you mean when you see life going on all around you, & it's too fast. I've been there before, it's a very strange feeling. Eventually it gets a little better. Sending you & your family lots of hugs!

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  33. Jenni, your amazing heart has a way of spilling out onto the beautiful posts you write. I'm very sorry to hear for your lost. Ed sounded like an amazing and wonderful human being.

    It's interesting how events such as this can change our perpective on life. I haven't experienced anything like this, but have seen close people around me cope with loss and change their outlook on life. I pray God brings you peace and comfort during this time.

    Keeping you and your loved ones in my thoughts and prayers! Sending hugs your way :)

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  34. So so sorry for you loss, Jenni. My thoughts are with you and your family and especially with your Mum!
    xx

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  35. mmmmm amen sister. Keep your chin up through this hard time. still praying for you and your beautiful family.

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  36. Well said and well put, Jenni. When I decide to follow a blog, it's because I feel a connection to the person writing it. That might sound like I'm stating the obvious, but really it's rare to find someone that you connect with. I think part of the reason why your blog is so good is that you are real and people can see their own truth in your life. I wonder how many people sit down everyday to read your blog and learn something about themselves. I know I always do. Thanks for writing. I am so sorry that you lost Edd.

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  37. Very sorry for your loss, Jenni. You are such a strong soul and I know you'll make Edd proud with the things you do in your life. The blogging world is here to support you through everything, even if it's only through the internet with our words.

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  38. You wrote this so beautifully, Jenni.

    I hope you're able to hold onto this perspective as well and anyone else that learned what's really important today, too.

    I hope your mom is doing well.
    xo
    Emily at Amazing Grapes

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  39. Wow Jenni, your words remind of what C.S. Lewis says. We are not a body we are a soul. We have a body.

    God cares about our soul, our body is just temporary. I'm praying for you and your heart.

    Daisy

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  40. I'm so sorry for your loss. A friend of mine died this summer and I remember how strange it was to watch life move on after he was gone.

    I found so much comfort in C.S. Lewis saying "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." This post reminded me of that quote, and I'm so happy that you were able to come to that thought on your own.

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  41. When you tweeted a little something similar to this post last week I immediately thought of the C.S. Lewis quote "You don't have a soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body." So true. Thank you for reminding me to focus on what is real this week. You've been on my heart.

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  42. It's never easy to express how we feel, what goes through us when we experience a loss. Sometimes I think it's impossible. The way you expressed yourself here was very well done though. I like to think that the times we can't find the words, people who can relate already know what we mean. You're in my thoughts.

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  43. What a beautifully written post Jenni, full of such honesty and emotion. These particular words have struck me and will never be forgotten, thanks.

    "Last Tuesday I watched a life end. Or perhaps I should say I saw a body die. Because what hit me like a ton of bricks that Tuesday at 11:35 AM is that we are not our body. We are something else. We are what lives inside our body as long as it’s still breathing, but what makes you YOU is not your body. Your body is the shell of you, and it really is a fragile shell. I didn’t grasp that until last week, and it was a real revelation for me. Seeing someone’s shell, with the person missing from it, is the most surreal experience, but also an important one. We spend so much time fretting about what’s on the outside, and not nearly enough time worrying about what’s on the (proverbial) “inside.” The part of you that doesn’t die. "

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  44. I've been reading this book called Refuge, and the author talks about how she expected that after her lost loved one died, they would be gone. She said what surprised her was that her mother and grandmother were still with her even after their deaths. the relationships continued and and they were still very much a part of her. I'm sorry for your loss and wish you all the best. xxoo

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  45. so many chills. i really liked reading this (you know what i mean).

    xoxoxoxoxo

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  46. What I love about you and about this is that you're finding a renewal and a growth in the midst of loss. I think that would make Edd the happiest - knowing that you are continuing to grow in beauty and in wisdom.

    This post was so vulnerable and good. I often get caught up in the outward and I need this constant reminder of our push towards eternity, soooo far past any exernal reality.

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  47. This gave me chills. So sorry for your loss.

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  48. This was one of your best posts yet. You are absolutely right; life is so fragile, so short. We take it for granted everyday and it’s a shame that it takes such a huge loss for us to snap out of it and appreciate everything and enjoy every moment you have. When my cousin passed away a few years ago, so young, I had a similar response to it. It just made me feel like I had to take advantage of every moment in my life and enjoy it.

    I didn’t want to bombard you last week; I see that you received a lot of love. But I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.

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  49. Ok tears are flowing. This was so beautifully put Jenni! I admire your stregth... Im here for you!

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  50. Something like this definitely puts everything into perspective.
    I bet it's crazy for you and your family, how this has happened in your life, yet you're expected to just 'go on' like normal.
    I hope you're all adjusting as best as you can, although I know maybe 'adjust' is a stupid word to use, because who can adjust to something like this?
    I just hope that you all keep going and to remember all the good moments with Edd, and not to remember the sad.

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  51. been praying a lot for you this week, my dear.
    beautiful words!

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  52. Beautiful words, Jenni. I am so sorry to hear of Edd's passing. I know he was a man you and many respected. I have a feeling though, he's looking down smiling on you and these words. Praying for you and your family during this time of numbness.

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  53. I watched my grandma take her last breath in 1999, it changed me forever but in ways that slowly reveal themselves over time. His spirit is safe with god and I know that the next time you see him he will be happy and healthy and full of life!

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  54. One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis is (and I'm probably paraphrasing), "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." My grandfather passed away in February. I definitely relate to everything you've written here.

    I was going to try and write a more eloquent comment than this, but yeah. I don't have anything else. But I get it.

    <3

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  55. Those are beautiful words. I have seen a man die and I understand exactly what you mean. The body is just like a shell. I'm sorry for your loss<3

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  56. "Because what hit me like a ton of bricks that Tuesday at 11:35 AM is that we are not our body. We are something else. We are what lives inside our body as long as it’s still breathing, but what makes you YOU is not your body. Your body is the shell of you, and it really is a fragile shell. I didn’t grasp that until last week, and it was a real revelation for me."

    probably the most beautiful thing I've read in months.

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  57. You learn life's lessons so well, Jenni. I'm sure Edd is so proud of you. Holding you and your family in my heart. *hugs*

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  58. You put into words so many of the feelings I've had over the past month after losing someone very close to me as well. I'm again so sorry for your loss, I'm learning how to keep moving as well to catchup with the world that never stopped when mine felt like it did. Sending lots of hugs your way <3

    xo Kayla

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  59. This is such a beautiful way to think about it Jenni, our spirits and souls will live forever despite our physical bodies being gone. Lifting you up and thinking about you lots!

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  60. Lady, you know I'm thinking about you. And your mom. And just...well...about life in general. It's so short, and we need to make the most of what we have, right? I'm so sorry you've had to go through this.

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  61. I've thought about death a lot lately, which sounds really weird and creepy. But for some reason I've been thinking a lot about some of the things you're saying. It sounds so cliche to say he's in a better place. But he is. And maybe what we're really mourning when someone dies is not the fact that they had to pass, but that we have to go on living here in this sub-par existence...without them. I'm learning more and more that what Paul says in Philipians 1:21 is true...to live is Christ and to die is gain. So, don't be sad for him...he has done nothing but gained. Gained eternal peace and joy. And while you are still living, you have to make the best of life's every moment. To be there for the ones who are still living alongside you, and doing God's work here on Earth until you can go to that perfect place with the ones you've lost. Like I said, I know it all sounds cliche. But it's kinda crazy to really think about it, but also kind of nice. At least it is to me. I hope you find encouragement in whatever way possible. And I am so sorry for your loss.

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  62. Thinking of you today, sweet friend.

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  63. Dear Jenni,

    What your mum read is so beautiful, deep, meaningful and so true.

    May Ed's sould rest in peace. His shell may be gone but I believe he is still alive to your family. stay strong dear.

    Regards,

    Abby

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  64. Praying for you and your family always, Jenny! Know that he is at peace now.

    Much Love.

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  65. I am so sorry for your loss. Edd sounds like a wonderful man who will be so missed.

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  66. Still thinking about you and your mum and your extended family. I love the poem from the funeral.

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  67. That was really beautiful what you wrote. I too think that our bodies are just a place for our souls to experience life. Edd will always be around you. I truly believe that when someone passes on, they are ALWAYS around us...in the breeze, in the flowers, on a sunny day...they are EVERYWHERE!

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  68. So sorry for your loss.

    Thinking of you.

    This was beautifully written it brought tears to my eyes--but I believe they are still aound us guiding us when we least expect it.

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  69. Sitting here with chills----beautiful Jenni and I get it. Completely. Beautifully written.

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  70. I just saw this. Don't know how I missed it.... beautiful sweetie... love you. So much.

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  71. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. The words you wrote are so beautiful, and so true. I blogged about one of my best friend that passed away in December (http://little-tranquility.blogspot.com/2011/12/for-dana.html) and I can completely relate to everything you said.

    Hope all is well. xo

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  72. that's just so beautiful.
    Finding positivity in everything we face.
    I am glad I followed to this post

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  73. I am so sorry for your loss and I know it's a year later. I read this post today, knowing I had read about this at the time before. However, I went to check the date and the month of April is when my grandpa passed away last year on the 26th of 2012. I never thought it would affect me that much or as you put it be a game changer, because it totally was. This was a beautiful post and thought I should leave a comment. For your May challenge I wrote about my granpda for Day 12 @
    ( http://brightlightsfashion.blogspot.ca/2013/05/i-miss-best-person-ive-ever-known.html )

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Thanks so much for leaving your two cents! I read and appreciate every comment and respond when I can. Thanks for reading. :)

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