On May 30th of this year. Ruby Smith, 17 left her body after fighting cancer for 9 months. She has been gone from her body for 40 days. I cann’t bring myself to say that she has died. Her body is dead but she is so alive in so many ways for some many people.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaFApfOw0GY She left some great photo's for us to remember her journey.
We spent some time with her mom this last week-end. During her visit I moved a small number of leftover beer in a container and dropped all the bottles. They shattered on the concrete. Her Katie said she seemed to be surrounded by shattered things. Bottles, glasses, mirrors. It was a bit disconcerting for her.
I said that Ruby was trying to get her attention. I was not joking. When my Dad died, I did some reading and was struck with the importance of the 40th day. My sister was reporting lots of weird events that made me think he was not really gone.
The 40th day seems to cross cultures. It is steeped in so many cultures. It is believed by the Buddhist that Siddhartha died and 40 days later finally transformed. Jesus ascended into heaven on the 40th day. 40 days and 40 nights, lent, the flood, Moses on the mountain. It is everywhere. Some think that in the ancient world time was calculated on nine 40 day cycles to make a perfect solar year. It would make sense that after 40 days we would be more ready for our loved ones to move on to their next stage, or place or what ever we believe.
I think this is Ruby's 40th day. I know from talking with other’s that when a teenager is coming to grips with their death they are very worried about their moms and their dads. They understand their death is going to forever shatter the life they have had with their family. I cann’t understand how Ruby’s parents feel rifht now. I don't really have a clue. I have only looked into that abyss but never entered. I know they are changed, deeply and profoundly.
There is no way to keep that from happening. The life with a child can never be put back exactly as it was before. It will go back together but not as it had. Maybe the "shattered" bits and pieces Kate has been seeing are a reminder of how fragile life can be. A reminder of what happens when we lose the person we love the most to something as awful as cancer. I know this is not politically correct but mom’s have a different relationship with our children. We grew them. We felt them move, we felt them kick. We have a connection with them that is unlike any other connection we ever experience. Their loss is life transforming.
I have to believe that even though there are shattered pieces around us, we can, with time, see that the pieces can be put back together. No doubt they won't be the same, it won't look the same, but it will be functional and have a different kind of reflection.
Ruby has been breaking things to let her mom know that she is ready to go but to help her mom find a new direction, a new reflection. A new way to see the world.