The news today of the fire and destruction of Notre Dame in Paris made my heart sink. What a terrible loss. Many, many millions of people feel a connection to the 8 centuries old gothic cathedral. As I post this, Notre Dame is still burning, its roof and spire have fallen. I can’t imagine much more of a charred shell will remain. I pray that noone was injured or killed.
I was 16 on my first visit. I was immediately awed by the beautiful arches, stained glass windows, towers, transept, arches, and side chapels. I have enjoyed more visits since then, every time I passed through Paris. These pictures were from my last visit, 4 years ago…
How does one connect with a place? It must be the intertwining of a place’s beauty, its history, and cultural significance with one’s own imprinted memories. I’ve only visited as a tourist; lit a candle, sat in the pews, listened to mass being said, walked all around it, toured the towers. I cannot imagine what Parisians who have lived with it every day of their lives must be feeling today.
One of my favorite novels, Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, tells the fictional life story of Tom Builder, a man who built cathedrals in England & France in the 12th century, as Romanesque architecture evolved into Gothic. Notre Dame was a masterpiece. Its flying butressess allowing the ribs, pillars, arches and roof to be taller, and more open inside, leaving room for its legendary stained glass windows. I don’t know how or if it will be possible to restore or repair it. But, it will never be the same. Something has truly been lost for the ages.
This week a friend of mine died unexpectedly – a fellow sailor, a husband, and father of 3, who worked in the IT industry by day, and sang karaoke at night.
This week is also the 3 year anniversary of the unexpected death of a cousin of mine who was my age.
Mom died not too long ago, not unexpectedly, but creating a great hole in our hearts.
An aunt died without any warning signs, mourning the loss of her husband 2 years before.
My sister-in-law’s brother died this year unexpectedly as well.
The impact of all these losses piles up, in the mind. And it causes me to pause. And maybe because of that when I saw this quote posted this week, it touched me:
So live your life that the fear of death can never
enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion;
respect others in their view, and demand that
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all
things in your life.
— Chief Tecumseh’s Words of Wisdom
I shall strive to do so.
Today we celebrated my mom, and said goodbye. What an emotional day. It was a beautiful ceremony. Lots of family and friends shared the day with us.
We sent her off with a graveside parting glass.
I’m a little exhausted. A little sad. And very happy to have an angel of mom’s calibre in my corner.
I’ll leave you with a picture from my sister’s garden, and the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem version of The Parting Glass.
One year ago today, my cousin Steve died unexpectedly from a complication of a routine back surgery that he had undergone a week prior. We were two months apart in age. In addition to the shock of his loss, it was a stark reminder that you can be here one moment and gone the next. Seize the day, folks. Love to his family and friends on this day.