Our dear Grandma Aggie died.
Grandma Aggie Pilgrim, revered local elder of her Takelma Tribe and of Natives in general, also loved, and was loved by, people in general. Humanity was her family. Life on Earth was her larger home.
How often we assume we’ll have more chances to be with our dear ones, only to find those chances have ended.
I’ve seen Grandma Aggie many times over the years. I always liked her and felt she liked me too. She had good vibes. Just weeks ago I sat very near her at a SOU gathering of tribes. As always, she was patient and generous to all who came to be near her. I didn’t go up to speak, assuming she could grow tired of being gracious. We knowingly nodded. That was it.
Her death comes the week of preparation for Gordon O’Hara’s memorial. He and I went to the UU General Assembly last June in Spokane, Washington, then drove across country together. I knew he was sick, but he didn’t seem so, running his business from his phone as we pushed along over the plains. Now, his wife, family, friends, fellowship, and I all grieve our loss of him.
Who can believe there’ll be an end, even when we know? Things seem eternal till we lose them, never to return regain. We live on with how we did, however much or little that was. Best I can figure is to fulfill each and every encounter with as much generosity and authenticity as we can.
And dedication. We also have recently lost John Lewis, and before him, Elija Cummings. Both were brave, intelligent Representatives of the People. John McCain comes to mind in many admirable ways too. Our leaders are passing. Who will replace them? In our habitual cynicism, will we keep electing those who flippantly sneer, “government is the problem,” who then go on to make it so? Or will we praise and pick dedicated, heart-awakened, intelligent politicians and leaders to better represent our better natures? Will we renew our inner dedication of being kind to ourselves and in our circle?
We don’t get endless chances to live up to ourselves. But we get new ones. Knowing things end, give what you can as you go. As Swami advised, you only have what you give. Grandma Aggie had a lot. So could we.