Death has a way of reminding you…..about loving and living

I am boarding my bus to New York to join my mother and then fly to Shreveport, Louisiana to attend the funeral of her brother James Waller’s funeral.  As I look out the window I see a woman who looks like my uncle Joes’ wife, Jessie, who passed away some years ago.  Death make you see this in places and people that perhaps at another time I might have missed.

IMG_0185Death is an usual experience for me, not fear not grief.   I am moved by death but not externally – it’s a deep internal thing.  It’s the living in me that I grieve for.   As an imam, I visit the dying and the dead with equal ease as I visit the living.  I wash the bodies of those who have passed with compassion, like bathing a child who has fallen into a deep sleep with dirt and chocolate on their faces.

Yet below the surface the memories and dreams, the mistakes that will not be undone, the great things that they achieved but never really noticed and that I live only to die any day to this sleep that others might bath me for last time.

I have received so much from this life yet this life offers so little compared to eternity.  The sweetness here is a morsel, the love in this life so fallow.

I only wish for what I think everybody wishes for, what song writers pen in their collective lonely hours after facing the struggles of this life….to be truly loved in this life before I die….

“….not an earthy love but a love from above….a love that flows from from a very pure and perfect stream (Al-Kauthar).  I’m talking about a love supreme”  (Doug Carn).  The love of self -The of God and love reflected back from others….

I am on my way to the funeral of my uncle.  He LIVED life.  He achieved things in this life that others only dreamed of…coming from Growing Valley, Louisiana.  He raised his children, he had wives and women, music and song, HE was always the life of every gathering.  He taught me and the other younger men his secrets to MANHOOD.

He told us never marry a women if she lets you stay at her house overnight and leave in the morning while other people go to work.  If she will let you do it, then others have done too.   You want a women with pride and decency.

He called us all “Sarg” and he had a big belly laugh and his mouth would be wide open.  We knew that sometimes he did things that weren’t right in our minds.  But he always spoke in brutally uncompromising terms. – First class, drive the best, look the best, don’t settle for less.  I don’t think he ever didn’t get his way.  He was in all meanings of the word a BIG BLACK MAN, in size, in speech, in respect, in life and in death.  He drank.  But I never saw him drunk.  He always had authority even to a fault.

He was a leader in my eyes.  I hope he really was happy and felt loved in this life.  He always made me feel happy and loved.  I loved him for being my uncle.  Death has a way of reminding you…..about loving and living

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