Birth, Death, & Renewal
by Barb Klein
Birth, death, and renewal -
it’s nature’s way
But what is “dead” is never truly gone.
It lives on inside what’s new
It informs and transforms what remains
What is born anew
What was is the foundation
for what will be
Things change, fall apart, evolve, devolve
All touched, shaped by what was
We are never separate from our past -
it’s part of the web we weave for today, tomorrow
Skins are shed,
energy lives on
Hearts moved and shaped
by love that has been
and love that lives on
What will be
rises from the ashes of what was
Hearts, homes, families
shift, change, fall away, become
as people move and people die
Who I was, who we were
Forever changed by your birth, your death,
You cannot be lost to us
You are woven into the fabric of our beings -
part of what makes us who we are
We love differently
We live differently
We speak and act and move and are moved differently
because of you
Our very cells are changed
because you were here,
because you are here
We can never unknow you,
You make us us…
Your light fills our hearts,
Your life fuels our souls -
guides our way, our mission, our purpose
We are forever changed
for having shared this life with you
Thank you for the gift of your being
Thank you for being
Thank you for being part of us,
forever and always
This poem woke me up the other day and needed to be captured right away. It brought with it an awareness of the truth about nature’s cycle of birth, death, and renewal - not only of a person, but of people who live on after a death. Families, friends, communities, are affected by one another. Once touched by someone, we are forever informed by those who have landed in our hearts and souls.
Yes, we are shaken, broken apart by loss - death, moves, endings and beginnings - but, what rises from these losses is built upon the past. What was, who was, lessons learned, hearts opened, insights gained are all beacons to what will become. To who we will become.
Perhaps grief is grist for the mill. It works on us, within us, reshaping who and what comes next. It’s part of the process - an integral, vital, and powerful force for growth and birth and transformation. This insight is feeling very alive within me, and I am grateful for that.
We are forever peeling away layers, touched by what was, who was, what’s happened. We are fueled by it one way or the other as we step into this next chapter, this next episode of the journey called life.
Our family is in the midst of so much change. Nate’s death has shaken us, rocked us to the core. His life and our experiences with him have shown us so much, too much, and yet not enough. We can never be who we were before - before he was here, before we lived through it all, before he died. There is no “going back” to normal, to how things used to be for any of us, ever. Each moment informs the next. Opens us to what’s to come.
For me it inspired and fills me with purpose. Ignites my passion to create change - change in a world, in ways I never would have imagined had Nate not been a part of my experience. Yesterday I put his photo boards up all around our sunroom. Everywhere I look, I see Nate’s face, his expression, moments of experiences with him and others. Every memory, every smile, every tear has etched a place in my heart, planted a seed from which I grow. Building the foundation upon which I live - the platform from which I launch myself into this new day. My words, thoughts, actions, imagination all touched by what was.
There’s a metaphor here that I’m not quite catching yet. Maybe compost. The past dissolves, morphs not into something that’s gone, but as fertilizer, nutrient for what’s to come. This is all very powerful and allows for creation, birth, evolution rather than simply slipping into feeling a victim.
It empowers me to feel the knowing of this. Of course there is still sadness and loss - how would there not be? These emotions also churn and stir things up, breaking apart what was to build anew. Just as forests are reborn after devastating fires, so too are hearts and people. (John Roedel has written a beautiful poem about this called “Super bloom” A poem we used in Nate’s memorial service).
Let us be touched by the love, by the loss so that we remember to live.
Change - letting go, accepting moves us forward. As people move on, our dynamics will change. The nature of our days will be different. What we need to do. What we get to do different than before. How we spend our energy, our money, our time, different, but affected deeply by their presence. Forever changed by our time together, by our love, by our growth as a group of beings interconnected always.
I smile as I feel Nate’s presence all around. The presence of loved ones alive and gone - moments that have woven this tapestry of my life. The beauty that makes me me.