What's the question?

It’s been a while since my last blog. And for good reason.а Life lessons have been coming like a tsunami with no regard for whether they’re good, horrible or just “oh well!”а Such is the nature of life.

The bookends of this have been the cycles of life -- birth and death.а Birth, with the arrival of my amazing and precious new grandson, Blake. (I promise not to get all gooey and sentimental here.) Death, not quite a month later, with the passing of a very dear friend, Brian Samo Ross.а

Only 64 years old (with today’s life expectancy, this is considered young), and just three months previously in the best of health, Samo’s quick decline and death took us by surprise. Somehow, it still doesn’t seem real.

He was the fourth member of our writing group, which meets monthly.а At his memorial, we talked about his “last supper” with us, just nine days before he took his leave.а Mindful of his then sensitive palate, AJ made a masterful shepherd’s pie (what, no spices?).а To our astonishment and delight, our now frail friend had seconds, and even took leftovers home.а We saw that as a good sign.а And then, he was gone.

We have finally set a date for the next meeting. How will it be?а Sad. And weird. Perhaps we’ll leave a setting in his usual place at the table when we have our meal – one of AJ’s signature Sri Lankan curry feasts. We will celebrate his life. Samo, if you can hear me, “This one’s for you!” No need to RSVP. We know you’ll be here.

So life goes on. But the juxtaposition of the extremes of joy and sorrow in such a short time really heightens your awareness of the precarious nature of life.а It reminds you that spending time getting pissed off about something that happened in the past or worrying about something that may not even happen in the future is crazy making. Not to mention, a waste of time. This moment is truly all we have, even when it’s horrible. But how to really live in it fully and with grace?

I’m still working on that. аAlthough, I get glimpses of it when I spent time with Blake. Not just because he’s so adorable, but also because he is so completely in the moment. In his world, that’s all there is. As each thing comes up in his little body that needs his (and our) attention -- pooping, peeing, eating, playing, being cranky, sleeping -- he gives it his all right then and there, and lets you know about it. аThen when it’s done, he moves on to the next thing.а He is still in that purest state of being, where past and future don’t exist, and are therefore irrelevant.а Alas, all too soon, he will be angsting just like the rest of us.а

So how to deal with the painful vagaries of life?а Samo, who suffered the same self-doubts and deep-seated fears that come with being human, was also a very spiritual man. Whatever your spiritual persuasion, or lack of one, it would be hard to argue the point he made in the last haiku he wrote for our Small Things: Words and Pictures project. In the end, he seems to be saying, this is all that really counts.

Samo's Buddha[1]


Love is the answer.

Is there really a question?

He doesn’t think so.

(Brian Samo Ross)

ай Maya Leland 2014