“I’m only flesh and blood” may be a statement which describes us physically, but it fails to explain our complex nature or inclination toward mixing elements in order to self-define. We can also be described as being made of that which is intangible and inexplicable – our own personal experiences and memories, plus those of people that pass through our lives, love us, hurt us, nurture us, and impress themselves upon our hearts and minds. We are layer upon layer of souls and spirits, memories and dreams, flesh and blood – an intricate combination of self and others.
My father passed away when I was 34, and today, 13 years later, when prompted by a particular sound, or scent, can close my eyes and recall vividly a parent who passed away too soon. I can ponder over words never spoken between father and son and instinctively know that (like my father) we continue to exist long after our bodies have turned to dust and become part of the earth. Someone, somewhere will remember each of us and how we touched their lives. For this not to be true would be rather sad.
My father endures in my memory and is a part of who I am. Humans endure in one another, perhaps coming to mind when encouragement is required, or actions need guidance. This is poetic. And if our relationship to these memories are less ethereal and more scientific – signals sent to a central processor called the brain, data in a mesmerizing computer called the human body – it may be less poetic but it is also unquestionably, fascinating. Only flesh and blood? So inadequate on so many levels.
Whether poetic or scientific, the concept may only be lucid at the moment we experience a connection to someone from our past. Who can say? I have memories that trigger pain (the loss of my father), and joy (the first time he saw me perform on stage), and therefore validate my belief that I am connected to him through spirit and memory – even though physically he is not here. I am who I am because of my mother and father, and they in turn are always with me.
Life does not begin and end with our physical presence here on earth. It is a mix of what we know, don’t know, and will eventually learn. Each day I take in as much as I can stand, and try to remember that life is God’s gift – sights, sounds, emotions, memories, events, each other, choices, actions and plans. It is as wondrous as it is mundane. I believe in the flesh, and blood, and spirit of humanity. I believe in God and that which I cannot see. And I believe what my mother and father taught me. And I believe that to this day, they are with me, by my side, a part of me, in my flesh and blood.
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