Monday, March 16, 2009

Whales, Death & Dragons

When our cable 'bundle' crashed yesterday (no phone/TV/internet) we took our evening chairs to the Pacific Ocean-facing window. A dozen or more northbound gray whales swam through the sunset-tinged waters. The cows and calves were close enough for us to see their backs and an occasional fluke. The twitch in my get-a-long relaxed with each new sighting of an incoming spout.

I can't explain how these marine mammals affect me, but they do. It's a feeling that is lost on words. My head clears and life's pages clarify.

This brings me to death and the death of a mother.

While engaged with our whale watch, my oldest daughter called in(my cell phone)her Caribbean vacation report. She shared the beach tales and our grandson's adventures. She then mentioned that she just heard that her friend's mother had died. Her friend I know, but her mother I don't. I was, however, aware that her friend's mother had been battling cancer for some time. It was a fierce mêlée that seemed to have made some positive changes until recently.

Specialists told her to go home and find her peace, there was nothing more that they could do. I imagine that she took her last deep breath, departed from her malignant body, and then swam into a sunset-tinged sea.

Leaving her beloved daughter behind could not have been easy, except that her fatal battle wounds forced her to accept, and maybe wish for a quick exodus.

Meanwhile, e-mails arrived from women who have survived cancer, or are still in combat with it, about the purchase of a dragon boat for us to paddle for both personal growth and competition. We intend to take this fight to the level of mastering the dragon while mindful of those who lost this battle because it can be bigger than our medicine.

The migrating mother whales and calves, the woman who died, the women who form an unlikely team of "surviveoars" and knowing that I'm blessed to still be near my daughters in this strange journey through life's seas, brings me to that place I found yesterday: A wordless sensation.

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