Gabrielle Giffords Continues to Inspireby Jacquelyn Jackson on Jun. 12, 2012, under Uncategorized
I finally saw her yesterday, 17 months after that day. Her smile unchanged, the generosity of her spirit in full bloom, the intellect, compassion and her love of life and people still palpable. In the picture hanging behind our heads, Gabe smiles down.
We were all together for a farewell to the office. Team Giffords: an assortment of individuals all extraordinary. They locked the office after we left and it sat empty all night, awaiting what happens today at the polls. The phones silent, the desks cleared. Her office stripped of photos and so many awards. An empty monument to her extraordinary years of service. I know she has much more to give, but in this caesura between what was and what will be, I feel compelled to hold a deep space for just this moment. A pause, and in the quiet, my heart grieves; I struggle at how the world can, in a split second of time, turn on its head.
In all my pondering about what truly is “learning to be female,” I am realizing that Death can be our wisest teacher. My first encounter with death was when I lost my mother when I was just 28. A loss that profoundly changed the course of my life. Hers was sudden, unexpected – the type of death that can be most difficult to reconcile. When my father died in 1993, I had six full months between his lung cancer diagnosis and his death to come to terms, be with him, have those conversations that can heal our souls. And then came 2011. The speed of the bullets, the finality with which they did their business, followed by the sudden death of my beloved brother in December. These are the deaths that either bury us, or wake our own souls more fully alive.
With help from so many, my soul remains alive and full. Yoga, breathing, prayer, wise words and love have enabled me to chase big pockets of the stress and fear out of my body, so that I might fully inhabit instead. Realizing just how quickly life can change has led me deeper inside of myself, listening, tending and bringing to life my own tiny dreams and visions. Fighting more completely for my own soul, vision and voice has been a gift that was given, and that I chose to accept from all that went down last year.
Allowing for the full flow of grief through me has strengthened my mighty little heart. And in this tiny interval, the transition from what was to what will be, I say a deep prayer for Gabe, for Christina for all we lost and another deep prayer for how we all might try and live better, truer lives as we move forward.