The Great Mandala

Me and Dad (Photo by Jeff Zucker)

Children grow up surrounded by big people. These big people love them and care about them and protect them from harm. The number of big people varies from family to family. In mine, I grew up with a mother and a father and three grandparents. (One of them died before I was born.) None of these grandparents died until I was in my thirties. In fact, I didn’t ‘know’ anybody who had died until I was 19. I was aware of how protected I felt. I was aware that these elders somehow kept mortality at bay.

I was in my thirties when my grandparents died. Not all at once, mind you, but gradually. By the time, I was forty they were gone. Still, my parents held forth and, even though I was on my own, I felt circled by them. Protected. Younger than. I was still one step removed from mortality.

Then on July 4, 2009, my mother died. Two years later, on September 29, 2011, my oldest sister died. This week, on May 23, 2012, my father died in his sleep. He was 91.

Dad's 91st birthday

When my daughter was born in 1996, I remember one of the songs that played in the delivery room was Peter Yarrow’s The Great Mandala. I know. How did one of the greatest anti-war songs make it on the delivery room tape? Who knows? All I know is that the phrase: “Take your place on the Great Mandala as it moves through your brief moment of time” had resonance for me. As my daughter entered the world, she took her place on the Great Mandala of life and I moved further out on the ring of mortality. And like her arrival, my father’s departure has moved me to a different place on the Great Mandala.

Dad and Gabriella and me

Rest in Peace, Dad. Thank you for so many years of being my big person.

28 Responses to “The Great Mandala”

  1. Katie Bayerl

    Lindsey, this is so beautiful and big-hearted, like you. Thinking of you and sending love…

  2. Gail Wallat

    Ahh Linds……..this is beautiful. Loving thoughts and hugs to you.

  3. Carol Sikora

    Dear Lindsey,
    His smile, his laugh, generosity and spirit will be missed. This has been a hard couple of years for you. My love to you my friend.

  4. Lindsey

    He did have a happy soul, didn’t he? I will let you know when the memorial is this summer. It will be in Weekapaug.

    And yes, these have been the years of the deep waters…

  5. laura edelstein

    Hi Lindsey, I am sending you my loving thoughts at this time of transition, you realize you are the matriarch in some ways and it is a big position and now you are no longer someone’s daughter. Please let Barb and me know when you will have a service, all the more reason to meet up and talk, time is short. I hope you are ok and if there is anything I can do to help, let me know. Sending you love and strength. laura e

  6. Meredith Davis

    Love you, Lindsey, so sorry for the loss of your “big person.” How true it is, to feel so protected while there are those big people in our lives. And to realized that I am now a big person to my kids . . . their protector. Sending you much love.

  7. Lindsey

    Laura, I will let you know when the service is. Probably the end of July, first part of August. I would so love to see your smiling faces. Balm for the soul.

  8. Peter Whipple

    Hey Lindsey,

    So sorry to hear your sad news. A slow turning of the wheel, then – not unexpected, but never quite conceivable. Sending thoughts and some love your way.
    take care,

  9. Melinda Reach

    Dear Lindsay,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad, Of course, your Mom, my friend, and dear friend of my mother’sm and Libby too. I enjoyed reading your tribute to them. I remember the Lane family so well growing up in Westfield.

    Melinda Reach

  10. Lindsey

    Jama, Sweet ((hugs)) back. Thank you.

    Melinda, It’s lovely how we are woven together in people and memories.

    Love to both of you.

  11. Greg Pincus

    So sorry to hear this news, Lindsey, but what a lovely tribute and perspective. Sending all good thoughts to you and yours….


  12. Katia Novet Saint-Lot

    Dear Lindsey, I’m thinking of you and G. and sending you love and condolences from very far away. I somehow know you have the strength and wisdom to step into this new place on your journey’s Mandala.

  13. Lyn

    Nicely said, Lindsey. I hear your feelings. We were lucky to have all those layers growing up. We’ll buoy each other with our shared
    memories as we become the elders. (Yikes!) Bill will always be with us in our hearts. Your dad will still protect you because you carry his love forever. More memories and smiles ahead.
    love you lots, Lyn

  14. Lindsey

    Somehow we will, won’t we? Step into the elder place on the mandala, that is. Geez, hard to fathom. I promise not to stop laughing and having fun and talking long, long walks. Thank you, Katia and Lyn, You are both dear to me.

  15. rob

    Love, reflects Love.
    And somehow Linds, through the family discord, the decades ago and painful divorce of your mom and dad, and the ups and downs of friends and lovers, through all of that, you have remained Love personified. Anyone who knows you, knows in no uncertain terms, that Lindsey Lane and Love are virtual synonyms. All those folks who raised you and you, too, did something somehow, very, very special and right, all the right ingredients somehow came together, or you, would not be you.
    And that Love that is you, is what you bring and have always brought to the Great Mandala.

  16. Lindsey

    Thank you, Rob. If love is my deepest footprint, than luck is my other. Be well, my friend.