“Heading home or going somewhere?” the frequent question on a flight had started the most beautiful conversation with an older gentleman. Followed by the question "business or pleasure?" to which this gentle being shared he had just attended his brother’s funeral. We started talking about the meaning of life and why we believe we are in this planet. We talked about death and religion and how its answers do not help us process the feelings of loss. He opened up saying he had delivered the eulogy. I asked how does one prepare an eulogy for an older brother? Tears came to his eyes, and for a man of a different generation there was a movement to control them. I apologised ahead of time for asking, and asked anyway, what would happen if he allowed himself to cry. Tears rolled down his face...and on mine too. We stared into each other's eyes as if he needed mine to allow himself to cry. He looked away, wiped his tears, and excused himself by saying: "My brother always said that I use my heart in my sleeves." He shared his brother's stories of when they were children ... and his face shone and his eyes grew like a child’s eyes on a playground. He quickly added that he’s very proud that his son (older than I am) is much more emotionally intelligent than he is. He reflected on the power of death for always pushing us to ask what our life had been, and what we want to do with the time we have left.
I was delighted and extremely grateful. What a gift, what a joy to be able to have an exchange so emotionally charged with pain and joy, so heavy and so releasing with so much love, so deep and revealing, so intense... some would call it dark but it was so beautiful, so enriching so full of lightness … all this with a complete strange in an airplane. To these encounters, I am naming heaven's gifts.