A Friend’s Parting Words of Wisdom
“Show the world beauty.” Cheryl Rocco
In December of 2010 I wrote a blog for Care2 entitled 3 Poems That Inspire. I was inspired by my long and treasured friendship with Cheryl Rocco, a schoolteacher, Tai Chi master, artist and compassionate human being. At the time her friends and family all thought her life on earth was soon to end. She was in hospice care, the cancer doing its best to destroy her body, and pain meds close at hand. We had all said good-bye, several times, and yet the weeks and then months passed and she was still with us.
At first it was a bit awkward since everyone was prepared for her immediate demise, but Cheryl refused to succumb so easily. Instead she willed herself to live so that she could share this final experience with the rest of us. She and I continued to exchange poems and enjoy long conversations by phone. When there was nothing to say or she was to weak to talk, I would snap a picture and email it to her. If a picture is worth a thousand words then I was writing volumes.
It is an interesting thing that happens to those waiting to die. If they are involved in the process of dropping the physical body and their minds are awake and capable of thought then it is a time for us to listen and glean what insights we can. Those lifting the veil between our two (or more) worlds grant us an opportunity to see further then our unconscious lives might usually allow. It is a gift so easily ignored in our attachment to grieving their (our) loss. When Cheryl passed away on July 29th, I was left with the wisdom of her words and her deep, abiding love for life.
Shortly before her passing we discussed The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, particularly the first agreement, Be Impeccable With Your Word. Cheryl felt that this was the most important thing she could leave as part of her legacy. She shared this passage with me.
“The word is not just a sound or a written symbol. The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life. The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic. But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you.”
With your word, as with your actions, create beauty in the world. There is so much that is dark and negative in the way humans walk the earth today. Create beauty in your daily tasks; in your art; in your actions and in the way you speak to others. Bring beauty into everything that you do and share it with the world.
This is how I would die
into the love
I have for you:
As pieces of cloud dissolve