Sixteen hundred miles away from the hilltop behind my home, my cousin Ricky's body was laid to rest today near the sea and he began his journey into the spirit world. Unable to be with family at this time, my daughter and I chose to hold a simple ceremony for him here on this perfect summer day. Facing East, the direction of our homeland, I offered sage, cedar, and prayers for his journey. I also offered prayers of comfort for those he left behind, that they may feel Creator's healing touch and know that Rick is in good hands.
Ricky and I had a good relationship, though in the years since I have been living in Nebraska we have not seen each other much. We kind of found our own paths in life, but were still good with each other. I remember a time growing up when he came to live with us and was like a little brother to me. Sometimes mischievous, but always generous with his great sense of humor, he was good company.
It is at times like these that I am reminded that life is sacred, that the blessings bestowed upon us should be shared and not squandered for no one knows when it will be our time to depart. To feel the could have/would have/should have when someone passes on is a lesson for us, that we should not be blinded by regret but inspired to find remedy in change. I should have visited Rick more, been better about keeping in touch. He knew I loved him, though, as those were the last words we shared when we hugged each other in his driveway years ago. The lesson given, however, is to keep in touch... to go and spend time in the company of those we love. To linger and enjoy each other in a good way.
We live in a time when people are scattered hither and yon, not like when I was growing up and everyone lived nearby. A person was considered to live far away if they lived two towns over. This is part of my lesson that I must come to terms with. I was not able to go and sit with Rick when it would have been good for us to talk about old times.
As I stood on the hilltop, green land stretched out as far as the eye can see below azure skies laced with summer clouds, I was with you, Rick, in spirit. The scent of cedar and sage hung in the air and we had a few moments to share while I prayed for a good journey for you. You were a good little brother, loved and admired. I will hold you in my heart forever.