Tag Archives: death

Heaven, Hell or Purgatory


Posted by Cassie

C B Sage
I didn’t realize when this photo was taken it would be one of the last ones with our friend Sage

Sometimes I think when people watch our lives from afar they think we live in paradise, a heaven on Earth. And sometimes I truly believe it too. I have seen and experienced some of the most fantastically beautiful things in my life. I am truly grateful for the ability to sleep in as late as I want, spend time with my love, explore new places, meet and get to know interesting people, have new cultural experiences, eat fresh juicy fruit from our own trees, swim in luscious warm crystalline waters, swing from the trees, breathe a sigh of contentment as we watch the sun dip into the sea, hear the birds chirping in the morning and our cat snuggle up to us in bed and so much more. It is truly an isle of enchantment.

Cassie flowers for Sage
Gathering flowers from our farm in honor of our friend

But life is life no matter where you live. It can get messy, it can get hard, it can be frustrating. You get thrown curveballs. Things that seem stable can suddenly crumble under your feet. And in those moments, it can seem like a living hell. And for people like us who have transplanted from another place thousands of miles away you may feel lonely, isolated and not accepted. There can sometimes be felt an undercurrent of prejudice or racism. It’s hard to make a living here. And whatever demons were underneath and hidden by a sense of comfort in your homeland eventually seem to rear their heads and become more pronounced under constant stress. We have known more people die, become addicts, break up or otherwise have a major life upset here (and then usually move away) than I have ever seen back in Colorado. It is just a whole lot harder to hold everything together. There is a reason this place is called Derelict Junction and the 413 is known as the Road to Happiness…or the Road to Rehab.

And for many, it’s a sort of purgatory. It is a waiting out, a finding out, a crossroads. Which way will my life go from here? Let’s go have some fun while we can, they may think. Let’s throw caution to the wind. And while they are here they live in this in-between, the waiting room between heaven and hell.

Sage memorial
Beach memorial for Sage (photo credit Kari DiPalma)

The death of our friend Sage really affected me. I think I always saw Naomi and Sage as kindred spirits. Adventurous souls with a dream. They were some of the first people we ever met when we moved to Puerto Rico. They welcomed us and encouraged us in our pursuits and we were so excited for them, especially the start of Rincon Beer Company. To see their relationship collapse and the end of their era together come so tragically shook me to the core. We are all so very fragile even when we appear so strong. We try to put on a show that nothing can shake us, that we are “better than,” that we are infallible, that nothing can ever break us. But it’s not usually one thing, it’s the accumulation of a lifetime of weight and burdens that eventually become too hard to carry. We need to remember that we are all carrying something and sometimes we need people to help us and we need to help people take a load off.

Sage Flowers

Beach gathering Sage pie
Rincón style beach potluck memorial

Life seems to be a series of moments that shift between heaven, hell and purgatory. We are always up on the high moments, the moments in heaven. We want more. We want more pleasure, more good times, more angelic periods to celebrate and brag about on Instagram and Facebook. But underneath the surface and often tied to these highs there are the lows. There is often heartache, sadness, anger and other lows that we hide away in the shadows and don’t talk openly about. And interwoven between them are all the other neutral moments of chores and waiting, passing time. The purgatory between them that keeps the highs and lows a little calmer. It is like the weather floating between perfectly sunny skies and hurricanes that we live most of our lives, if we can make it.

It saddens me deeply that we couldn’t reach Sage from his depths that we couldn’t even see hidden under his happy smile. And I still just shake my head in disbelief and in shock that he is gone. I feel so much for Naomi and what she is going through. It just hits too close to home.

Paddle out

The final chapter for Sage was a wonderful Rincón-style community event for this unforgettable pillar of our town. It was a beautiful paddleout ceremony, the first I had ever participated in. People told stories and anecdotes of Sage as the sun gently set and flowers swirled all around in the circle of many of his loved ones. We splashed water as a sort of “cheers to Sage!” And depending on your perspective it was a bittersweet moment, heaven in hell or hell in heaven.

 

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What Is All of This?


Posted by Cassie

It’s been about a month and a half since my dad passed away.  In that time I wouldn’t say that time has necessarily healed me, but I do start to feel the separation between my dad and I drifting farther and farther away as if we were holding hands in two separate boats and were pulled apart in different directions. As I watch it slowly float away all I can think is how to bring it back together. But it cannot be brought together. That time is gone…

But is it? I still have really vivid dreams with my dad in them and strange occurances happening although not as often as early on. Maybe they are just my mind trying to cope with this loss, or maybe there is something else out there? Maybe there is more to life than just life? I mean, what is the point of inhabiting a body for this short amount of time (in the long scheme of things) for it only to die permanently? If we ask ‘what is death?’, then we would have to ask, ‘what is life?’

Could it be that our consciousness, our strong belief in this physical body reality, limits us from experiencing the unconscious crazy limitless universe -that we actually experience every night in our dreams when we sleep?

This morning I heard my dad talking with me, really faintly as I was in a dozy state of in-between sleep and waking. I asked him to talk more clearly, and he did, but I ended up deep in a dream. Is there something to that? Could it be that access to that “side” is limited to when we are in a subconscious state? Are we cut off from that side of things because we are so tied to believing in this conscious life of the tangible and concrete?

Isn’t it true that everything we know to be real and tangible is but a fleeting moment? A type of energy? Everything we are and see started as a form energy. Most of it from the sun. Our bodies are made of water, and oxygen and the sun. We eat the plants that absorb the sun, and the animals that eat the plants. We are part of that cycle. And if energy never dies only transfers, then what happens when a body does? How do we even begin to understand what this all is?

Could it be that we are just spirits in the material world trying to figure this stuff out?

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