Here’s the story of why I named this blog “That’s the Way Life Lives.”
When Maya was five years old we moved to California. In Swimming with Maya, I recount the joys and difficulties of adjusting to life in the Sierra foothills outside of Nevada City. Just six weeks after we moved to a tiny cabin on Banner Mountain, I celebrated my 30th birthday. Entering the third decade of my life – and the emotional ups and downs provoked by our move – made me tearful.
“Mommy, what’s the matter?” Maya stood gazing at me in the cabin’s sleeping loft.
My blonde sprite of a daughter was so innocent. How could I explain my inner turmoil?
“I feel so sad,” I said. “I miss our old house and all of our friends.” What I couldn’t say was that I was having second thoughts about the move.
Maya cocked her head and studied my face.
Then she said something I will never forget. “That’s the way life lives,” my little girl told me. I laughed at this quirky saying that held a deep nugget of truth.
“You’re right,” I said, gathering her into my arms. The feel of her little bird chest against my heart and her arms around my neck were so comforting.
A child’s wisdom – that life just lives and we have to live along with it – stays with me. All of my adult attempts to pat life into place, to manage or control, are ultimately futile. After Maya’s sudden death at the age of 19, that saying was like a beacon, guiding me in my halting attempts to let her go.
Anyone who lives by the mantra “That’s the way life lives” understands that death and loss are part of life. If we deny death, or try to rush or hide grief, we are not living along with life. Living in harmony and acceptance of what is – even if what is includes unbearable sorrow – is the mark of a spiritually mature person.
I can’t always live up to Maya’s maxim, but when I stumble, those words return to me. “That’s the way life lives.” So, to honor Maya, and to celebrate the resilience she demonstrated even as a small child, I’m renaming my blog.
I’ll focus on stories that illuminate and inspire, as well as plumb the realities of recovering from deep loss. In the 20 years since Maya died, I’ve learned lessons I’d like to share. We all have the chance to experience life more fully and death reminds us that we don’t have a moment to lose.
Welcome to my new blog!