They Were Both Happy And Sad

Mirror Lake, Yosemite NP

Mirror Lake, Yosemite NP

OUTSIDE YOSEMITE, CA—My mind argued, but She persisted so I took the route She led me down anyway. The hotel parking lot was completely filled and I had my doubts but just as I pulled in a car backed out directly in front of me and I parked in the spot and headed off in search of a tiny thin line that She had pointed out on a map and insisted that I follow.

They were two brothers who had been three. They said I was the only person they’d seen on the trail today, that most take either the tram to Mirror Lake or the paved walkway further south. They said they had just spread their brother’s ashes in a small cave where they used to play as kids. They pointed out their private hidden grottos and tunnels and mounds of granite boulders which filled their early years with such happiness. Oddly, it was a relief to share these intimate memories with a complete stranger. In a way, it gave their brother new life.

In that moment, their brother was simultaneously here and gone. He was both living and dead.

And the two surviving brothers—their eyes misted with both joy and sorrow—were happy in their recollection… and sad in their loss.

Both happy and sad.

The mind doesn’t work well with And’s. It likes Or’s.

Or is a word of control and separation.

And is a word of freedom and unity.

The mind doesn’t work well with And’s

But the heart does.

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7 thoughts on “They Were Both Happy And Sad

  1. Odd to come upon your blog about three brothers on a day that carries so much meaning for me, too. It’s a sad day for me, yet filled with memories of the most wonderful man I ever knew or will ever know in my life. I sat at his grave for several hours, today, as one memory after another flooded my mind–tears and smiles mixed together – I still spend intimate moments with him, and always will. Thank you for your post.

  2. Especially touching for me today, as well. My canine companion of ten years passed yesterday, and it broke my heart. He had been my deceased husband’s best friend for several years as well. I was both happy for the memories and sad for the loss. Lots of tears and smiles — but honestly, today the tears won out three to one. Thanks for such a poignant post.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss Mikel. I know how you feel. My lab, Jack, was my husband’s best friend, too, and he’s going on 13. He was four when Rich died. I’m trying to live one day at a time and enjoy him while I have him. I don’t know what I’ll do when I lose him. I lost my older lab, Lizzie, four years ago and she left a terribly empty place in my heart. Rich was crazy about her, as well. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I wish I knew what to say to console you, but I don’t think there is anything that would help except to say, again, I’m so very sorry.

  3. Yes! Thank you for this. This And, this Happy And Sad, is an important part of the grief work She has been nudging me to do, part of what needs to be shared and have space held for – and part of what makes it possible for me to accept the nudge. Happy And Sad. The heart *can* hold them both.

  4. Have been thinking about this a lot lately. Tears of Joy. I recently experienced them so strongly (surely not for the first time?) and have been wondering about how we can hold both and how powerful a feeling it is.
    Hello! We met one windy morning in Arizona just outside Quartzsite.
    I’m enjoying your blog.

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