I'm back home after completing a simple buddhist ritual with Nancy, the Jones family, and our friends Tina and Karla and Sandra. Lama Palden, of Sukhasiddhi, was kind enough to come and bless Nancy's body in preparation for cremation.
Om tare tuttare, ture soha
This morning, I was able to find the beautiful orange and red sari Nancy and I used on many altars, took it to the mortuary, and Nancy has been bathed and wrapped in it. We added roses and incense to her and her wrapping, and had our final moments with her body. Palden-la feels that her spirit is still here (as opposed to traveling the realms and the bardo), and that Nancy seems to finally be able to take in the outpouring of love around her. I, and perhaps all of us, can take some comfort in the fact that our love is felt and received.
For me, the Tara invocation is now the core of my daily practice. It is an unfamiliar prayer, so I am learning about the Taras and their capacities by doing, not by study. There is a whole visualization that moves through my mind as I meditate, I imagine the realms and the Taras depicted on Tibetan thangka images, open to the nature of the heart-rainbow of Tara, feel how her radiant blessing can move through space and time. I'm also working with the new concept of "dedicating the merit my practice" to Nancy. There is much here that is new, and I feel awkward and compassionate with myself at the same time. It is what it is. I trust that my learning her is unfolding just as it should.
Mourning is easier with these images and the structure of a daily practice. My feelings and sadness seem to move through me gently and continuously, rather than the throat-lump that has been grabbing me for weeks.
I had a couple of hours of altar construction this morning, which is how I found the sari (it was stored inside the wooden box that was the base of her prior altar :) I now have a larger altar space set up in the great room in our house, with photos, offerings and most of the objects that visitors brought and contributed to her altar in the hospital. Our wedding rings are there, too.
Another ritual has been assembling all the photos I have of Nancy, and building an album of the best. If we are linked on Facebook, you can see it at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150435564201752.351557.713761751&type=1&l=98a2cb7541 I've loved doing this, as the pictures remind me of many happy times we have had, adventures we shared.
It's quiet in our home tonight, as I work on a crab bisque for dinner, feel all kinds of feelings, and admire the slender slice of moon out the window at sunset.