The Passingday of Margene Clark

I made up a new word: “Passingday” as in the day someone passes away, in honor of my grandmother. She passed away 2 years ago as of July 3rd. I felt awkward to keep saying “the day she died” or “the anniversary of her death”, so I started staying it was her “passingday.” Just like birthday. We have a birthday, we have a passingday. I like it. It feels a little celebratory. I am so grateful that she lived so long. I am so grateful she died in peace. I am so grateful that her life ended well. This was not a traumatic event. I see her passingday as the bookend to a full life.

I miss my grandmother, but I am also happy for her. She has no knowledge about the BP Oil Spill. She is not sitting at home anxious about the boys and I being in Oakland when a verdict comes in. I am in no way saying it is better to be dead. What I am saying is that she had many obstacles and anxieties to face in her lifetime and it is comforting to know that that part comes to an end. We don’t go on forever, we only have so much time to confront the challenges of our day. She did. She’s done. And that makes me feel good.

I don’t have a belief in a specific afterlife. I feel like we have an energy inside of us and that once we die that energy is free to go wherever, so in that way, energetically, we are immortal. Reincarnation is entirely plausible, new planes of physical existence are possible as well. I feel like there is also simply rejoining the pulsing life-force of the universe and I associate that with a joy at the particle level. But I also believe there is some kind of choice at play, some kind of drive. I imagine that my energy would stay close to my children if I were to pass away while they still needed me. That I would coat them in the fine sparkly charge of my soul, clinging to them until they were able to release me.

The last time I saw my grandmother, I released her. I did the same with my great-grandmother when I visited her in the hospital room where she was failing to recover from an invasive surgery. “It’s ok,” I said to them in prayer, “You’ve done so much. We are all so grateful. You can go knowing you did your best and are loved beyond question.” I don’t know where the urge to release them came from. I wasn’t instructed to, it was intuitive.

I’ve spent the past two July 3rd’s at a beach, last year in Hawaii, this year Pacifica, feeling alive and grateful for her. Aware of how much she sacrificed. Aware of all of her hard work. Aware of the choices she made so that I could be where I feel the most at home, the most connected. I don’t take these things for granted.  I am aware that my successes are her successes. I am grateful that I told her that on many occasions.

But I’ve also learned from her mistakes. She held herself up as an example, and that works both ways. I’ve learned a lot of what not to do as well. I will try my best to not duplicate some of her behaviors that caused harm. And I think she would appreciate that. I try to not be as judgmental. I try  not to be as harsh in my criticisms of loved ones. I try not to expect perfection from my children. I will try to persuade with my own smile before utilizing her inherited glare of intimidation.

I hope her passingday will continue to be a day that spurs reflection. Would my grandmother be proud of me today? What would she say to me if she could? What would she think of whatever crisis we are experiencing? This is how I will stay connected to her even though I feel that she has left me. Her birthday and her passingday; much love to one who made me.

The Passingday of Margene Clark
  • Barbara

    “Passingday” I like this too.

  • airial

    Thanks Mz B.