Like a starfish

'Be like a starfish' my husband used to say on tropical summer nights. 'Just lie on your back and don't move, and you'll fall asleep by yourself'. I have to chuckle when I think about it. Tonight is one of those nights. My alarm clock reads 02.15 and as I look at the tops of the trees through the open window, I think, 'not a breath of wind, be like a starfish.'


I feel a question arise in my mind. I skilfully try to put it away with another thought upon which a new one immediately pops up. Such a mind that cannot be still. A continuous process of consecutive questions and things that I can then be busy with. Meanwhile, I hear a mosquito buzzing past my ear and hope I don't become its supper. I know this is blind hope. Since I don't feel like starting a search for a subsequently magically invisible mosquito in the middle of the night with a lamp on, I leave it to fate.


My thoughts wander to my appointments this week. And to the conversations I've had recently. The strength I feel to pick up the threads after the death of my husband. It actually comes naturally. My work gives me pleasure. I started writing a book two days before my husband died. Had no idea this would ever come my way, but when you live in response, things just happen. I see my daughters doing the same. Every day we reminisce. They are all memories that bring a warm feeling of love and gratitude. For life and for all that is, if you give the space to embrace it.


The four of us had an incredibly beautiful time. My husband and I were evenly matched, very different and yet we got along just fine. Without children already, but even with children there was a feeling of completeness. Yes, there were sometimes issues with us too. And sometimes a lot. But still, by accepting it and not making it bigger than it was, we were able to find our way in without any problems.


And now my daughters and I are finding our way in it again. We have playfully developed new routines. These days, after dinner, the three of us walk the dog. At least, usually the dog walks me and the girls follow behind us, chatting about anything and everything. We then discuss the topics of being 12 and always stories about their father are released. 'Oh mum, here we were with dad on the scooter then remember? And there we sat and rested for a while because he was tired. Oh and at that place....' I let them narrate delightfully. We haven't had a single fuss since he died. Or whining. 'Teenagers you can get your hands on,' someone said to me. I just thought 'I have two hands, one for each teen so it will be fine.' And it does work out.


Life cannot be steered, cannot be controlled. It comes to you naturally. There are a few techniques you can harness to learn it. Learning to live as yourself. I apply them in my experiment and also teach them to my children. It creates peace and less resistance. But most of all, it creates a deep sense of contentment. Not being in that rat race anymore. My husband showed this so beautifully in the last months of his life. That life is above all surrender. And being in the moment. Even if you are in pain and sometimes you really don't know where to look. His wisdom and strength live on in us. Sometimes very practically. Like last night. When it's hot and you lie awake with a mind full of thoughts. 'Be like a starfish and you will fall asleep by yourself'.