A few days after my uncle chose to end his life, he visited me in a dream.
The two of us sat together on a hillside. The surroundings were colored in a drab blend of tan, brown and grey. He wore the thick knit beanie that always adorned his head in the cooler months of the year. My memory of the dream picks up in the middle of a conversation, and as my focus sharpens to remember, he looks at me with the familiar mischievous sparkle in his eyes and says, “…but look what I can do now…”
With that, he shot up into the air; arms at his sides like a cartoon figure, and erupted into a million bright and beautiful colors that blanketed the entire landscape of my dream. I was now standing in the middle of one of his vibrant oil on canvas paintings—one of the magical pieces that he created during the very best part of his manic-depressive cycle.
When I awoke, the joyful feelings of the dream began to intertwine and mix with the reality of my loss; the still-raw, empty sadness that would rise and fall, like the ebb and flow of an angry ocean. The sadness attempted to crush the joy I had felt in the dream….yet joy is stronger than sorrow.
Fear began to mingle with hope;
Sadness danced with joy;
And confusion turned to clarity.
Over time, I started to recognize that the tragic end had opened into a new and beautiful beginning. He had been set free; free from the mood swings; the suffering, and the crazed, manic episodes that plagued his entire adult life.
And now the choice was mine to be set free, also. Free from the sorrow; free from the confusion, and free from wondering why.
And so this is how I choose to remember the end of his life—a celebration of creative expression; joy; abundance; and a reminder of the freedom that he has finally discovered now that he is outside the confines of a physical body that was never strong enough to contain or express the magic he was meant to share.
A celebration of the end, which leads to a celebration of another beginning.
Celebrate the ebb and celebrate the flow;
The dark and the light.
The joy and the sorrow.
The fear and the love.
The mystery and its answer.
Because there is joy in the end, just as there is joy in the beginning.
Truly, it is cause for celebration.
Oil painting by Da