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Impermanence

I spent quite a bit of time talking with my mom this weekend. Since my father died about three months ago, I’ve tried to make a point of calling my mother once a week and visiting once a month or so, and during those talks and visits I’ve worked hard to exercise my good listening skills and to let her just talk. Up to this point, most of our conversations have revolved around mundane things (getting her Social Security payments straightened out, having repairs made to her truck, replacing her television), but this time we talked more philosophically and less practically.

My mom has worked hard to find grief support groups and senior citizens groups to participate in since my father died because she, like me, is prone to crippling depression and didn’t want to succumb to the overwhelming urge to climb into bed, pull the covers over her head, and sleep for weeks on end. She has particularly enjoyed attending meetings of the local GriefShare group and was telling me about how the theme that seems to come up in each meeting is impermanence, or how nothing stays the same forever. Or, as a former co-worker of mine used to say, “All conditions are temporary.”

I guess that’s exactly what I needed to hear this weekend too. Change seems to be a pretty constant theme in my life lately, and rather than fall back on the trite “change is good” mantra, I think I’m more inclined toward “change is.” It isn’t good or bad, it just is. Nothing lasts forever and everything is changing, evolving, growing, decaying, dying all the time. While that makes me feel a little sad, it is also kind of encouraging, especially when I’m having a bad day or feeling overwhelmed. Nothing lasts forever. Everything changes. All conditions are temporary.

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