We are all just walking each other home.
The first time I heard this incredible phrase, it literally stopped me in my tracks. The person that introduced me to this beautiful concept was Katie Evermann Druffel of Pullman Regional Hospital. She shared a cherished postcard with this Ram Dass quote. At that very moment every part of my being realized this is what we are called to do; help walk each other home. Some have a long road to home, others a very short trip. The path can be varied and not always clear. We truly need people along the way.
This past week at the Pullman Trees of Light, the Threshold Choir of the Palouse sang a song entitled “Walking Each Other Home.” I was awed by what I both witnessed and experienced. After a special remembrance of those whom we loved and lost, lighting candles in their honor, hearing their names read, gentle music started to fill the room, and soon our hearts. Members of the Threshold Choir, two-by-two, entered the room very softly and reverently singing. No accompaniment; just their voices in harmony, the cadence of their walking in unison. We heard the words over and over, “Walking Each Other Home.” Absolutely no other words were needed. Each time we allowed them to sink more deeply into our souls, we found ourselves no longer remaining an audience but rather entering fully into the moment as a people of compassion.
There was nothing passive about this moment. Gentle and soothing, yet completely stirring the senses within. A shift had occurred; a quiet, respectful knowing. Soft tears of memory started to release the sorrow held in our hearts. But also with this came that intrinsic understanding of our connection to those gone before us, those beside us, and those yet to come. An awareness that every hello a goodbye; every encounter an ending. We are all just walking each other home.
Suddenly sweet memories of my early days as a child came to me; mom or dad walking us to school, across the street, or down the aisle when married. With each threshold there was someone beside us. When visitors arrived, our parents greeted them as they entered our home. And at the end of each a visit, walked them out the door, offering a moment of gratitude for the time together. Such simple gestures, but now so profoundly rich for me.
We started the evening in a room. We ended the evening in community. We are all just walking each other home.
Editor’s Note: A special thank you to the Threshold Choir of the Palouse (TCP) for participating in the Trees of Light. Through quiet music, Threshold voices create a peace-filled environment to comfort those at the thresholds of living and dying. Gentle voices provide soothing calm for individuals and their families and caregivers.
Music can provide an atmosphere of reassuring calm, can lessen anxiety, and ease breathing. The Threshold Choir of the Palouse offers gentle blessings to help with life’s transition.
Services are available to Palouse area residents at no cost. For more information, please see the TCP website at http://thresholdpalouse.org or contact Friends of Hospice at (509) 332-4414.