Broken presence

Death breaks me open. It is Life’s warning signal that all that is comes to pass. Regardless of our inherent need for homeostasis to flourish and grow, cascading events will eventually overwhelm us and break the sustaining links.

Nothing comes to stay.

In just five short trips around the sun, this harsh reminder of impermanence has made it nearly impossible for me to stop and voice my process here. My mother and sister a few years ago, and my brother gone on the 12th of July are no longer available in my life. Minor deaths chip away at the façade of permanence – the death of all my possessions in a fire, a lover pretending to be a friend.

And with each death, I am broken open exposing dark, empty parts of me. I dream once again that I have died, read my obituary in the newspaper only to arise with the realization that I am broken with a choice: I can either close myself over that darkness or I can open my brokenness to the living presence in the light.

I took a short journey to the edge of my known world recently and submerged myself in its culture. I spent time with my grandchild who is my hope for the future even though I am broken enough to know it is not my future. We met our worries together and found they meant nothing. Only the present moment held meaning. Oblivion is waiting in the next blink of an eye.


Across thousands of miles, a friend reached out daily and reminded me that life is not just death, but is also promise, love, and hope. To live broken is to make a contract with an eternal setting sun and lets its light reach me.



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14 Responses to “Broken presence”

  1. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Barbara — I am so sorry for your loss. When there are no words to soften the pain, may your spirit be touched by the love that surrounds you; may the tenderness of caring friends soften your sadness; may cherished memories bring you moments of comfort; and may peace surround your grieving heart.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      thank you, Laurie. Spirit has definitely sent me caring friends and touched me with an enduring wisdom that helps me find my peace. I count you and your words among them.

  2. Kathy Says:

    Beautiful, Barbara. To continue living, breathing, both broken and unbroken, full and empty. Walking with death, dancing with life. Feeling into what you’re trying to express…and honoring what has remained after the fire burns.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      You get it, Kathy. To dance with life is to court death. It is the contract we signed when we arrived. Too many times I forget the part that I agreed to live it fully rather than safely.

  3. David N Wigtil Says:

    Opening your heart, Barbara, is an incomparable gift to the rest of us. Coraggio is what you are.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      David, the gift is one of gratitude that I have this opportunity to learn to love through loss. Thank you forever for the support you have given me all these years.

  4. Ann Marquette Says:

    Barbara, I am so sorry for your losses. I have experienced the pain and sadness of such losses.
    As Laurie says, remember you are loved by many and we hold you close in our hearts.
    I apologize for not keeping up with my bloggers over the past year or so. Life has kept me busy and silent until recently.

  5. roBette Says:

    Barbara I guess I missed the news of Anthony’s passing. My condolences. I am very happy you and your granddaughter had this adventure to put your spirits back together. Thank you for sharing the journey and your beautiful insights. Love you my friend.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Thank you, RoBette. Tony had been ill for some time but his death was quicker than we had expected; there was no time for me to see him before we had to leave for Iceland. The journey was a way for me to create a new perspective for the past, present, and future. Be well.

  6. jeffstroud Says:

    How we all know those states of being while not really desiring to be in them. It is life or the process of life. We still have purpose, we still have goals to fulfill in some way or another.
    I honor and hold space for you as you process all of this getting to know yourself even more. ((Hugs))

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