My precious Libby has died.
I can't speak of the details of her passing at this time.
Of course our hearts and our bodies are utterly broken and will never be the same again. I am shocked at the physical nature of my grief, the wordless screaming pain of every cell in my body.
Our family motto has been "Whatever happens, we will get through it together," and this is what we are doing: loving each other through.
We are surrounded by family and friends who gather here with us daily. We are supported by prayers from around the globe. The outpouring of love on social media is beyond my power to comprehend.
I do not know how I came to carry that Divine Light of Libby in my body and deliver it into the world. But I did. She is a miracle.
Yesterday the funeral home received her body from the medical examiner. Libby's dear sister of the heart, Claire, who is Orthodox, suggested that we go to be present with her physical presence one last time and so we did.
Kevin, her precious husband, his parents and brother and sister and grandparents. Andy and me and our sons and two heart-daughters. Libby's darling heart-sisters and two of her heart-aunties who were able to come in time.
I doubt any Orthodox person would recognize the form of service that our time together took. But we bless that tradition for its offering to us in our time of need.
We shared words of comfort and remembrance with one another. We wept. We held each other. We wept some more.
I had spent the day preparing myself physically by breathing and resting so that I would have enough space to hold that farewell experience, and I am so proud of myself Libby's mother and as the mother of all these children, children of my body and children of my heart.
My neice Anna wrote me the first day that I am strong and courageous. I held onto those words all day and at the end I said yes. I am.
I am strong and courageous.
I can make a space for this ocean of grief, I can ride it and welcome it and breathe in the respites as they arrive.
Afterward, the kids came back to our house and gathered in our kitchen as they always have done. They laughed and talked and ate and cried together.
I rested in my room and then did Yoga with Adriene with some of my heart daughters just before bed. Yoga for a Broken Heart, with a thousand heart-openers.
Libby loved yoga and was the living embodiment of Namaste. The Divine Light in her recognized the Divine Light in every person she saw. She was meeting the eyes of every person by the age of 6 months old, so she'd had a lot of practice.
In honor of Libby, we bow and we rise and lift our hearts and know that Love is enough, and we open and open and open and let the breath of Love wash us clean.
Open that heart space, over and over and over again.
Now it is another day, and every day feels like a thousand years.
The public farewell service will be at noon on Saturday July 28 at Tyler Street United Methodist Church in Dallas, her childhood church where she and Kevin were married. She loved everyone there and was loved so well there in return.
If you wish to honor Libby's life and light in some way, here are some suggestions:
- You can donate to the GoFundMe for Kevin and Michelle's comfort and support in their time of need.
- You can get some metal straws, plant an edible garden, compost, clean up the oceans, and otherwise generally care for the environment as Libby did.
- You can buy a bunch of bright flowers and give them away to a stranger in honor of Libby, who never met a stranger in her life.
- You can advocate for universal health care and maternal leave in America, like other civilized countries have.
Please, in honor of Libby, see the Divine Light in another person today. Share it. Shine it.
The best way to support me right now is by your prayers and light and love.
Your words of comfort would mean so much, so please share them with the community here in the comments as you remember our family motto: "Whatever happens, we will get through it together."
In closing, I offer the words of Aaron Freeman which I heard on NPR not too long ago and saved in a document because I wanted them read at my funeral. I read these words at Libby's gathering yesterday.
You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every BTU of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow(er) rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let [him] know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are [his] eyes, that those photons created within [him] constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly.