“The opposite of death is birth. Life has no opposite.” – Eckard Tolle

In a few days I will be flying out to Belgium to be with my brother and his children as they mourn the passing of my sister-in-law. 2012 opened with a death –my husband’s beloved mom- and now closes with another one. Like most of you, I’ve learned to navigate the grieving process as the passing years have forced me to say goodbye to both my parents and my in-laws, a couple of friends, my niece, and now my brother’s life partner. Every single death throws me off balance and brings in a new wave of past sorrows. Quite a downer on this upcoming New Year’s Eve. But does it have to be? In the same few years our family has welcomed nine new little ones, bundles of discoveries and giggles. My daughter has grown into a college freshman eager to learn and taste campus life. My son is counting the days to his learner’s permit as my husband and I laugh (mostly) while adding up our wrinkles. We’ve all made new friends. We’ve all grown and blossomed in our own way. Life has been good to us. And it’s been really tough too. It’s simply been Life, birth and death side by side in a never ending succession of smiles and tears.

The Holiday Season brings the fragility of life to the forefront, from the innocence of the baby in the manger to the absence of our departed loved ones. Surrounded by twinkling lights and presents most of us also unwrap our broken hearts. I am writing today, dear friends, to remind you –and myself- that the champagne flute or beer mug you will raise at midnight tomorrow never stops bubbling with the potential for joy, and to invite you to drink up the possibilities that lie in the mere fact that you’re breathing. I believe that death turns into the opposite of life when we rebel against it and let grief engulf us. When we lose track amidst the darkness of what drives us in the light. On this New Year’s Eve, let’s accept that while death may be the opposite of human life but it does not signal the end of Life. Because Life is our love shining through tears and shared memories. It’s our decision to savor every day and our desire to make a difference. It’s our ultimate choice to embrace birth and death as perfect partners of an imperfect journey.

We’ve all been challenged by Life. All of us. The how doesn’t much matter. What counts is the depth of the wound and, in time, of the healing. I propose a toast, my friends, to our resilience and our willingness to let love touch us, hurt us, and above all, make us whole again. May 2013 bring us the strength to face Life as it is and the blessing of loving it no matter what. From my heart to yours: our combined spirits know no opposites.

 Happy New Year!

Maryse G. Copans © 2012


8 thoughts on “A LIFE WISH

  1. Jane Collen

    Wow Maryse– I am in awe of your writing. This piece is so well written and so perfectly paced, bringing me along through every tear and every joy and leading me to join you in the hope that we can embrace the challenge of life and live focused on the wonder of its balance and joy. Happy New Year my dear friend. Love jane


  2. Hi Maryse,
    So nice to see you posting again! And I agree with you, each loss puts me a little off balance too. It’s only natural. And as you process it, things will always pop up to remind you of your loved one, so you will feel a little pang of grief or love, or both. Grief is a process, we can’t hurry it along. But it’s great to have a good perspective for when those thoughts engulf us with sadness. It sounds like you do. I wish you well in the new year. And I hope to hear from you again!

  3. Your words of wisdom are beautifully wrought in this post, Maryse. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of what it takes to live life fully – all of it: birth, death, joy and grief, health and illness – and also, for the example of your life and how you live it. You teach us well, dear friend.

  4. Sorry to hear of the losses you experienced during 2012 but thanks for presenting a positive light on how we can deal with the challenging times life presents us. It’s not easy for sure, but like you say, it is part of life and one we should try to accept and learn from.
    Happy New Year!

  5. Maryse! How very grateful I am to read your words… as I always am! Thank you for the great gift you share with us all. And my most heartfelt condolences for the passing of your sister-in-law. My heart aches for you, for your bother and for his children… Yet, you always find the positive and the love. You are, and always will be, an inspiration.

    Wishing you and all your loved ones a happy, healthy, abundant and loving New Year!

    Let’s get together for some frites in 2013 😉

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