While I attended optometry school in Philadelphia, students worked on cadavers for our Head & Neck Anatomy class. I was apprehensive about how I would react to this new experience, but intrigued at the same time. My group was assigned to an 80-year old woman who was covered by a thin white sheet.
As I stood at her left side, I noticed her uncovered hand. It looked exactly like my grandmother’s hand – shriveled, marked by age spots, calloused and worn. A snapshot of her life.
In that moment, I saw her differently. She was no longer a cadaver, but someone’s mother, wife, sister, grandmother, daughter. She had loved and lost, hoped and dreamed, laughed and cried. A part of the human community, she mattered.
With a respectful air, I drew down the sheet and started the dissection. When I cut through the layers of muscle to the blood vessels, I paused. The branches of the arteries and veins were quite delicate and beautiful, laid out with a precise purpose in anything but a random, haphazard way.
I knew I was in the Presence of God, and of Holiness. All of Creation lay before me.
In the most unexpected and humble of places, I felt at One with the human race.
I will be forever grateful for the final gift that this woman offered. In her death, she taught us about the miracle that is life.
I named her Grace.
Circles of Grace. Sacred Ground.
Thank you, dear lady, for you.
May you rest forever in beauty and in peace.
It is my hope she sees the beautiful tribute you’ve left for her here…
Thank you so much, Mandy.
You extend her blessing on to us as we share this moment with you. Thank you both.
You are welcome; it was a privilege.
Thank you for sharing your experience. It reminds me of passages from Mary Roach’s book, “Stiff” described on Goodreads as a “forensic exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem” – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32145.Stiff
Yes, I’ve read and enjoyed Mary Roach’s book. Thank you for stopping by, reading and commenting.
Teresa, thank you for sharing this – your reverence and honor of “Grace” surely reverberates through the Cosmos. You bring soul to your practice, heartening to see.
You’re welcome, Eliza. Your kind words touch my heart…
Awesome post! Thank you for sharing Grace with us! Blessings, Natalie 🙂
You’re welcome; hope you are doing well, Natalie. Blessings…
This made me cry, bright heart-plucked tears for your gift of words here. The blessings you recognized and continue to ripple outward from Grace truly helps lift hearts. Certainly mine. Deeply touched. Thank you for sharing, and for being a bright beacon of Light.
Your words humble me and touch my heart. Thank you for helping me to honor Grace…
Your post awakened in me the reverence of every act. Thank you for your thoughtful and meaningful writing Theresa. ❤
You’re so very welcome.