My second youngest sister Brenda (aka Bird, Birdo, Barda) Blackwood (nee Watson) is no longer with us.
Over the past more than 10 years, Bird has tried to keep a smiling face and be her usual creative self, but she has had to deal with worsening depression and other behaviours that doctors diagnosed as Bi-Polar disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.
Much of the public are skeptical or unaware of how serious mental illness is.
I hope the following video helps bring home the message. No amount of food, or pills, or extravaganza, or doctors' words, or textbook pages could stop her from being crushed by the dark cloud of depression.
The above two songs describe some of your torment, your pain. Maybe none of us can appreciate the magnitude of that pain. Do the songs help alleviate the pain? Do they help you in your new place and space?
Birdo, we miss you. Even with your frailties and weaknesses, we loved you and still love you.
Hope the demons that haunted you are gone forever.
Here's another song for you:
Bird, you are missed by so many people. I wish there was a more effective solution to your problem -- which so many others share.
I will say prayers for you. RIP, Bird.
The next two songs are a call for those alive to wake up to each other, the light of each soul, and to put other before self.
The first song is Jiv Jago and is sung by Jalebi over at ethnocloud.com The title is the name of a Hindu chant (full text here) with some added lyrics about wanting to be free. It's about waking up spiritually. I hope Bird accepts the importance of this factor in her new world. I think the only connection Bird has was with steam yoga (if I'm not mistaken).
I can't paste it into a player here, so I hope you will follow the Jalebi link above and have a listen.
The next song is Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder. Bird liked Stevie Wonder.
One wonders what the phrase It won't be too long refers to. A big event? A breakthrough in higher consciousness? The realization of the underlying fundamental unity of us humans? Maybe all of these?
[one month later]
Bird, it's been a month since you've gone. The sadness is lessening, giving way to a hope that you are settling in well in the weightless world.
This next song features Cyndi Lauper (on dulcimer) and Sarah McLaughlin singing and acoustic version of Time after time.The human timeframe is something we cannot escape. From birth to death we all have our allotted time in the skinny confines of our physical bodies.
As Joni Mitchell says, We're captive on the carousel of time, We can't return, we can only look behind from where we came, and go round and round in the circle game.
As Jesse Dylan explains the triad spirit, mind, body briefly at the start of his book The Good Life,
The mind is such a wondrous and fragile thing, our media relay center for the world, our factory of endlessly churned out thoughts, home of our third eye in the witness box of all the moral and spiritual repercussions of our activities and actions.
But, as Shakespeare wrote, what a tangled web we weave. Economic, environmental, familial, ill-health, emotional, geopolitical restraints and pressures play out to their fullest, crippling and crumpling those of us who have not the strength to stand up to such tests.
American poet sallysense questions our notions and perils of progress (or headway) gives the word headway a literal meaning (the ways of the head) in the following short poem:
headway announced its battle statistics
headway announced its battle statistics for today...
hundreds of thoughts still unaccounted for...
thousands of moments missing in action...
and millions of hearts held prisoners of war!...
On November 7th, while on my Air Canada flight from Hong Kong to Toronto primarily to attend Bird's celebration of life service, this photo and blurb were on page A2 of the South China Morning Post:
dancing leaves and snowy tv -- signs?
On the Monday (October 27, 4 days after Bird's suicide) just after noon, I was walking to the Teacher's room, passing by the track and huge complex of buildings of Sihui High School. The weather was still warm -- like the end of August in Toronto -- warm with perhaps a chilly hint of autumn in the night.
The leaves were still on the trees, as they still now are on this Sunday, November 30th. A few leaves were lying here and their on the sidewalk and concrete roadway. There is one lady who cleans up any litter and blown leaves using her 2 baskets and shoulder pole. Students also can be seen sweeping up after school.
Anyway, this was lunch time. I guess most students were taking a nap since their classes didn't start again until 2pm, whilst I had to be their for 1:20pm for our daily 1:1 talk with our English stream students.
I looked ahead and suddenly noticed something strange going on with some leaves and the wind. These rather large (size of a paper airplane) leaves when dried were stiff and a bit hard, not to mention their light but heavier-than-normal mass. But, I stood for about a minute as the leaves were swept up as in a small whirlwind, lifting up and circling, some of the nose-diving to the ground, and then swept along the ground and then lifted up into the swirling mini-cloud again.
The wind was not its normal, one-directional, here then over there then gone self. This little display dance of leaves seemed to have its own laws of physics. What was making the wind stay there in its swirling, scuttling way?
I had read that unusual local weather phenomenon were witnessed by the survivors of 9/11, which they interpreted as a sign from their loved ones from the other side.
My youngest sister mentioned later that she was watching TV at Bird's home. Suddenly, the TV lost the image and became snowy. Bird's husband Mike came to the rescue, however, and readjusted the controls and got the clear image back. The next morning, my sister woke up early, went to the kitchen, turned on the TV, only to find that it was snowy again. She feels that this was Bird, playing a little tekkie trick to let us know that all is well.
I tend to think that the leaf dance that I saw was also orchestrated from the other side.
As I mentioned in my tribute to Bird, the spiritual world intersects the physical world in a way that we cannot as yet comprehend. Our departed ancestors and friends can and do assist us. We in turn should pray for their continued spiritual progress in the next world. It is a co-developmental inter-dependency.
We close with this song written by your son, Ian Blackwood. Originally written for his wife, Ian sang this song at his mom's funeral. It is a powerful statement of love, and also reiterates the theme of time.
We are space-bound and time-bound creatures in this life. Perhaps, less so in the next show.