Saturday, July 30, 2011

A New Day

My cousin Michael wrote to me and reminded me of my last posting on this blog.  He thought it was a preparation.  The blog was dated January 1st of this year 2011.  In it, I welcomed the new year and wrote:

"We are alive, now. Next year at this time we may or may not be.  Right now, we have all the conditions we need to welcome this day and be grateful for it.  To look at the people in our lives, really see them, and say, "I am here for you."  I am here.  I am.  What a wondrous awareness to accept this blessing of life.  Yes, it is 2011 already!  Welcome to the new day, the new year."

In the months between then and now, that has been my practice. Waking up, I have directed my attention to be thankful each day for the gift of 24 brand new hours and for the gift of my loving husband Tom. How fortunate I have been to live with this awareness.

Exactly three weeks ago tonight, on July 9th, 2011, we were in Chicago to attend the wedding of his brother's son.  On a beautiful balmy night, in an atmosphere of joy and celebration, surrounded by family and dancing with Tom, I had the thought "I am perfectly happy."  Moments later, Tom collapsed on the floor.  In less than two hours, he died in an emergency room of a massive heart attack.

The past three weeks have been filled with one intense experience after another: the grief reaction of the body, the outpouring of support and compassion, the stories recounting small acts of kindness and the realization of what a huge impact even a small act of kindness can have, the opportunity to learn from the past, the ever present choice to move forward on the path of regret or of gratitude.  Above all, the love.

Everything I've spent years learning is now being put to the test.  Once again, I am turning to this blog as a way of sorting through my own experience and sharing with anyone who chooses to benefit.  I continue to believe that we are all connected, that we are more similar than different, that what I have taken from my experience may speak not only for me, but perhaps for you too.  Please feel free to share your comments so that others may benefit.


  1. Thank you Laya. This provides welcome inspiration for heightening my awareness of all that is wonderful every single day.

  2. Hello Laya. I found your blog for the first time from your Facebook post. Thank you for sharing your amazing thoughts and process at this special if less than easy time.

    I found your words both beautiful and inspirational, especially as I lost Dad relatively recently and only yesterday evening I experienced more love and grief surfacing. (They have a way of doing that, dont they!). So I related to what you said, though I'm sure to the same magnitude as you.

    Your New Year post really seems to have been like a premonition, an inner subconscious preparation for what was to come. But if this was indeed a preparation for this impactful event, I think it wasnt just to prepare you for your own forthcoming experience, but also to be with your husband as the event was coming onto the horizon. I see this on the exact lines as you yourself expressed, of being with loved ones and saying "I am here for you". So maybe your words were not just a lovely insight, but on a level beyond the conscious you were already engaged in sharing Tom's impending passage with him. After all, a person's death is probably the most important moment of their life, equalled only by their birth. In two people who have a long and strong bond of love and one of them is called to leave, its not hard to imagine that the other can find themselves involved in that process from before it happens physically, albeit not on a conscious level.

    So Laya, in that heartfelt expression in January maybe you were already preparing to walk Tom to the door so to speak, just as one might accompany a loved one to the airport and walk them right up to the gate. Hope that makes some sense :-)

    Once again, thank you for sharing. It was a privilege to read and contemplate your words. With love and respect.
    Kris Attard.

  3. This time, again, you show your grace in difficult time, by reaching out to family and friends and providing us with a platform to share memories and cherished moments that we all carry of you and Tom. "Sharing" is reliving a fond memory, and knowing that others, out there, are reading it too, and they understand. The healing process has begun.

  4. Thank you for your comments, Deb, Kris & Zila.

    While my New Year's blog may seem to have been a premonition, I also give weight to the age-old advice: "Live every day as if it were your last."

    Others (offline) have disagreed with my point of view - interpreting it as morbid and focused on death. For me, on the contrary, awareness of the inevitability of having to separate from those we love is a way to bring joy and appreciation into this very moment.

  5. Dear Laya,
    Your lesson to live in gratitude and appreciation is so powerful. And because you appreciated and cherished, you know you didn't waste anything. You savored your time together with Tom and, in that, and in your writing, you are extending it to all of us. And for that, more gratitude and tremendous respect.

  6. I think ignoring death and acting as if we are going to live forever is one of the causes of the problems in our society. We can live blindly only if we forget that we are here for a short time. Awareness of the inevitability of our death keeps us awake, alive.