Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Momento mori

Ash Wednesday, February 8, 1989

The fact that Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine's Day creates an interesting tension between love and mortality. Momento mori set against vanitas, ashes falling on roses.

This newsworthy collision of love and death is an oddity of the calendar caused by the moveable feast that is Easter.

It is the first time this has happened in my lifetime, and it occurs two months and three days after his death. It's not too strong to say it feels like an assault, a literal shoving of reminders of death into my face.

I don't feel the need for any ashy reminders of my mortality smeared on my forehead. I don't need to be urged to slow down, to reflect on the swiftness of life and the inevitability of death. I have been sitting with ashes for weeks now.

Instead I am struggling to focus on the gifts his love gave me, on the strengths he nurtured in me, on the many times he nudged this introvert into new places amid new people, on the grace with which he handled grief, on the way children responded joyfully to him, I suspect because their open child-like hearts always recognized their twin in his.

He was a bright spirit. His light was a lantern to my feet, and without it, the way forward is harder to see.

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