As I trouble over following my mother’s health directive to administer more pain medications to relieve her of the ongoing suffering bone cancer inflicts, I worry about whether or not she has said goodbye. Not so much to each of us, as we have all been saying goodbye for some time now. I wonder if she will have another chance to really take in the trees outside her window, and the blue sky. Will she ever hear bird-song again and does she need a spin in the wheelchair to enjoy that. I don’t need to ask myself if it matters to her. She is the one who first tutored me in its treasures. Perhaps she has been saying good bye for some time and we are just unaware of that. After all, she is already traveling in both worlds, here and beyond.
I realize some of this is a projection of my own needs and what I want. There is a post going around on Facebook of a forest ranger who was in hospice care and wanted to be in her beloved Nature again. It never fails to move me. I know that deep call of nature and its healing resonance. If I were ill and could not go outside, I would want the sounds in my room, birdsong, ocean waves, breeze in the trees, whale calls.
Today, Earth Day, I am also thinking of another mother and, in both cases, what it means to say goodbye and how goodbye lives in relationship with hello.
Our earth, Pachamama, Gaia, is our mother and we are her children.
Thinking how important it is to me to say goodbye, to her, I ask myself, “Have I said hello to Pachamama today? Have I honored her and thanked her, offered my respect?”
As I walked the woods pondering this, offering my gratitude to the trees in particular, I was greeted by more birdsong than I have heard since the approach of winter. I soaked it up, let it re-organize my cells. I regularly say “hello” out loud to the flowers, mushrooms, trees and many creatures I see on my walks and hikes. I wonder, having said hello so often, will it be easier or harder to, someday, say goodbye?
When I consider my own passing, I imagine having said hello more often, having received, really received the beauty and gift of this Earth, will make my goodbye more rich, and sad, yes, but very sweet. I wonder too, how often do I protect myself from a painful goodbye by withholding my hello? Do I imagine keeping my love and appreciation contained will somehow save me from deeper heartache?
If I have not said hello enough will I care enough to preserve the Earth and her creatures. Will I really know what it means to recycle, to conserve, to celebrate the biodiversity, to appreciate the bounty?
One of my teachers, Don Oscar Miro-Quesada, encourages us to honor Pachamama with song, ritual, dance, drumming. Yes, this is a profound and sacred way of saying hello.
And, please know, that if you are not inclined to perform ceremony or join a beach cleanup, your simple hello by way of true observation, connection and reception is more powerful and more healing than you might imagine.
You matter and you may be the only person to ever see that particular blossom, that dandelion seed in flight.
I invite you to join me, to celebrate our beautiful Earth mother, by taking a moment to say “hello” to her. Commune with a tree, take in the beauty of a wildflower, sit by a body of water in reflection. Listen to the birds singing. Stop, pause, if only for a minute, and say “Hello.”
Like beginnings and endings, hello and goodbye exist in the same moment, in a unity. We need to be aware of what we are unconsciously throwing away (and the many more painful goodbyes it may create) when we forget to say hello.
Pachamama, our beloved mother Earth, gives and gives. Your hello says “I see you and I appreciate you.” Say hello, not just today, but every day.
Copyright © April 22, 2015 Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved