Regulars and Shorts

Babying the Budda: Circle of Life

By Kindra Fehr

Baby Rowan is born; Bevan says goodbye.
by Kindra Fehr
fehr_buddha.jpgAugust 17, 2007

Last night I stood by as a new life was welcomed into the world. I watched as she was pushed out into light and air. I saw her eyes look around in wonder as she was passed from person to person. "Welcome to the world, baby," we said with tear-filled eyes.

Tonight, I visited a dear friend who is in the process of dying. Each week as I see him, his body slowly quiets down. From week to week it varies…some are better than others. Again, I found my eyes filling with tears.

As I drove home to my own little family, I felt a sense of honor to behold this circle of life from beginning to end. I felt an acute appreciation for my place in it in this very moment knowing that I began just as little Rowan did last night and that someday I will be nearing the end where Bevan is today.

In the rush of my daily life, it's a privilege to have this opportunity to stop every Sunday and be still with Bevan. We share dinner and talk and he tells me all his stories. It's quiet and peaceful.

Likewise, it was an honor to be invited to witness Rowan's birth, to be part of the family to greet her and share in that celebration, to share in the anticipation of that first breath.

In both circumstances, I am reminded of the miracle of life. I am also reminded that it is short. Baby Rowan has a blank canvas before her, a story yet to unfold. The world will be changed through the lives her little life will touch. Bevan has painted his canvas many times and touched many lives with his own. In these last months, he finds new purpose in retelling his story as the final chapter comes to a close.

September 8, 2007

It's been three weeks. Little Rowan is still figuring out when to sleep (and it's not at night). She's meeting family and friends who will be guides in shaping her life. My dear friend Bevan, who has been instrumental in my own life, passed away a few hours ago, two hours after my last visit. What I learned from him through this process is that dying can be much like childbirth. He was accepting and aware of his situation and chose to participate in it consciously. He got everything in order, had his "bags packed."  Each day he waited, he became more uncomfortable, just as one does while waiting for the birth of a child. And, in both cases, you never really know when it will happen or what to expect. It is going to happen in its own time and way, whether you're prepared or not.

I do wish Bevan could tell me what happened next; he was excited to find out. It would be just as wonderful if little Rowan could tell me about her experience before arriving here. Birth and Death, first breath and last; they are really not that different from one another.

Kindra Fehr is an artist and mom to toddler Aria Hancock. She co-instructs the Salt Lake Art Center's KidsmART program.

This article was originally published on September 30, 2007.