Thank you all for your loving sentiments over the past few weeks. There have actually been many positive things that have come out of the experience of my father-in-law’s passing. As my blogger friend k8macdo noticed, “one thing that the experience of the loss of a loved one can do is make us all aware to what extent we are not alone. We are embedded in a matrix of love and support.” Such beautiful words!
In all of my downtime I was able to read a ton of books. Some of my notable readings have come out of the Mundakopanishad. Here is a sloka or verse that has been staying with me:
By means of the Higher Knowledge the wise behold everywhere Brahman, which otherwise cannot be seen or seized, which has no root or attributes, no eyes or ears, no hands or feet; which is eternal and omnipresent, all−pervading and extremely subtle; which is imperishable and the source of all beings.
As k8 mentions, we are never alone as Brahman in which case I can call “love” is everywhere around us. Like the unborn child ready to come into the world does not know who is awaiting, we have many around us ready to support and care for us that we did not even realize. All we have to do is open our eyes to the all pervading love around us.
From my experience I have learned that if one just does his or her daily dharma with love and dispassion from what fruits will be born from work, many treasures will appear. These treasures may not have value for those who are blinded by the ego and constant striving for more and more. These treasures have only value for those who can appreciate the simple.
As my old meditation teacher Tom noted many years ago, kindness is an extremely rare and precious quality in the universe. To show kindness puts you light years ahead in your development. We must remember that the very first Yama is Ahimsa, or non-harming. This is even given higher billing than telling the truth. Kindness is truth. Pure truth.
We must first be kind to ourselves. The quality of kindness you show for yourself will mirror how you treat others. Self kindness can come in many different forms. If this is unfamiliar to you, I would start with simple things. Listen to that inside wisdom telling you to make better choices. The more you listen to that wisdom, the closer you are to realizing the Self.
I am inspired by all the love that has poured my way. I want to radiate it back to you all and beyond.
After a week off to handle family affairs following my father-in-law’s passing, today it was back to work. I was greeted with open arms from concerned coworkers. They presented a nice card for the family. I have signed many cards for other coworkers in the past, but haven’t until now been on the receiving end of such a gift. It felt wonderful. Hawai’i tradition is to give money for those who are bereft, and my coworkers pitched in with small hunk of cash. It was a nice token. The money will help pay for a nice meal when family comes to pay respects.
My wife returned to work too. She also has supportive coworkers who showered her with affection and cards as well. They really felt the brunt of my wife’s absence in a busy ophthalmology office as she often had to take time off to care for both parents. She called me a few times intermittently for support during her down times. A few encouraging words sent her right back to work with more confidence.
I normally teach a yoga class to my coworkers, and left some of my props at the office, not knowing it would be a few weeks before I would retrieve them again as Luke has been in the hospital. While I was gone, my supervisor took my yoga blankets (the one’s featured in this post) and sent me the above photo. It made my day! One of my coworkers said she would borrow one of my straps I left on my desk every day and practice during her lunch break. It reminds me that as a teacher, we never truly know how our influence spreads to students.
When I returned home there was good news. The woman who helps my mother-in-law says she can now come 5 days a week so my wife and I don’t have to scramble to find help on the off day. I showed my mother-in-law the card from my coworkers. She carefully read every entry with her Dorito-stained fingers. She found one written in Japanese from my coworker Mina. This brought her much joy.
Much mahalo (Hawaiian for “thank you”) to all of our wonderful, supportive coworkers!
It has been a tough week of mourning in our household. The quiet is deafening and on the verge of upsetting. We were so used to hearing Luke pacing up and down, using his nebulizer, and then bellowing for a car ride. Now silence. In this silence we all came to a realization: we are now bonded as three people instead of two couples.
Now that my mother-in-law isn’t keeping constant vigil at Luke’s side, it has opened her up to new experiences. We all went for a walk around the block. She talked to neighbors she hasn’t seen for years. All knew Luke and she shared the news of his passing. I can see her brighten up more as she shared more. Then a surprising twist: I asked her if she wanted to come with me to teach my yoga class on Saturday, and she agreed!
So this morning I packed my props in Luke’s old car and put her wheelchair in the back seat. We drove to town were I teach at the base of Diamond Head to Unity Church of Hawaii. She had been here only one other time when my wife and I got married 8 years ago on the grounds.
My wife sat with her while I taught class facing the road leading to the church grounds. My mother-in-law used to run a jewelry shop in Waikiki and was surprised on how much it has changed. The constant stream of tourists, runners, tour buses shaped like Whales, homeless, and the whole other gamut of Waikiki’s humanity passed by.
Some of my students knew about Luke’s passing and word quickly spread in class. After class, my longtime students rushed down stairs to pay their condolences to Toshiko. One of my students, Miho, speaks Japanese which brought great comfort to my mother-in-law.
As my blogger friend Sonia said, every day gets easier. We took Toshiko on our Saturday “routine” and went shopping at Costco after class. I am realizing that we are consuming 1/4 less and not having to buy as much. That is again simultaneously comforting and upsetting. We all wound up eating lunch at a Korean restaurant. Toshiko dug into the spicy house made Kim Chee with relish. After living on Luke’s unhealthy diet for the longest time, Toshiko is now in a position to make better changes in her diet and health. I am starting to see with a little bit of her cooperation with my wife and I, there is nothing we cannot do together.