Living or Dying?

February 12, 2019

I’m sitting here looking out the window at our beautiful yard. Winter is slowly giving way to spring, and lots of things are starting to bloom. Hickory Tavern has been my home for soon to be fifty-three years.

The birds and a squirrel are having a feast on the feeders next to our Christmas Tree from nineteen eighty-three. It is hard to believe that big ole tree sat in our living room all those years ago. I remember Griffen and I stringing outdoor lights on its gorgeous green branches for several years. My sweet brother is now physically gone, and the tree is almost taller than the house. Even still, the memory remains and my heart is happy and grateful for that.

When I cut my eyes to the next window, I see my Grandma Allison’s camellia that Lee and I had spaded and transplanted from her old home-place. I wonder what year she planted it and smile knowing she enjoyed watching it bloom just as much as I do.

With another turn of my head, I see a beautiful pair of blooming camellias that my Mama had planted in the early eighties. Those blooms bring on a bittersweet feeling. I can appreciate their beauty, but it comes with the sting that Mama is now physically gone too.

One more turn and I’m looking at one of my Granny Lollis’ favorites, which is a beautiful bush that she called the Breath of Spring. It is in full bloom, and the smell is so delicious that you could sit and soak up the scent for an entire day. Seeing it brings another smile and a warm fuzzy feeling in the depths of my Soul.

Another turn and I am back to where I began staring at that beautiful old Christmas tree again — I’ve made an entire full circle in more ways than one.

The thought then hits me. Aging is linear, but life is a progression of circles, isn’t it?

If we look hard enough, we see that we continuously have experiences that are looping. We get up, we go through the day, we go to sleep, and if we are lucky enough, we start the next day again.

In the midst of that continuous circle are life and death and the choices that we make about those two significant happenings. If we look past the surface, each decision during the day is bringing us life or death at every moment. Which are we choosing?

Kindness and love bring life to us and everyone around us. The alternative emotions of being mean, hateful, or emotionless in my most humble opinion bring death. Maybe not always in the physical sense but for sure symbolically.

I’m guilty of having made the unkind choice on more occasions than I would like. I remember a lot of them. They make my stomach feel sick, and my heart sad. I wish I had known better than to be so small. While I can’t change those times, I work to pull extra duty in the kindness and love department hoping in some small way to make up for my previous shortcomings.

I had been thinking of all of this when I sat down for lunch with a friend this past week. She said something confirming and striking to me. “Kim, I look around, and many people are dead.” She didn’t mean those who have passed on. She was speaking about the people who are living but aren’t taking the time to recognize what matters. She was right and I appreciated that she would think about such.  

As you can probably tell, I think about this a lot. Probably too much at times. I’ve seen enough death physically and symbolically that I know both are always just around the corner. I don’t want to use my life force for anything but living. I never want to sound like I know everything, but I don’t want to see others lose precious time either.

With that thought, my eyes circle back around, and I look at Mama’s camellia again. Whoa — I feel that gut punch of grief! I miss Mama. Terribly!

When Griffen passed on a therapist told me that grief travels in a circle too. She said that as time passes, the circle widens and we get a little stronger with each spiral. The loss, while painful, shifts. With baby steps hopefully, we are eventually able to find the more happy memories instead of the horrid pain of the grief.

I know I have written about much of this before, but I write it again as a reminder to myself and anyone else who might be suffering that it is okay to feel knocked to our knees with sadness and pain. We will get through.

Just as winter gives way to spring our hearts will eventually find the joy, and our circle filled with happiness. Until then if your heart is hurting go out and find something beautiful and sit with it. Or find someone you love and tell them. Better yet, tell them and hug them.

I guarantee you that will lift your spirits and theirs too.

Always sending you love and light,


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  • Reply
    February 12, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Lovely and inspiring thoughts! ❤️

    • Reply
      Kimberly Parrish
      February 12, 2019 at 3:28 pm


      You rock in the living department and I consider myself blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for inspiring me to always look for my best self and find a deeper meaning to everything!

      I love you!


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