Posted in Lanscape of Loss, Lila Stories


The grandchildren

“The whole cosmos is a lila~the play of the gods.”

Ancient Vedic Scripture

There’s been an accident,

That simple phrase is so complete that it renders any telling less so.  And yet, the telling stirs in me, forcing this piece, like a miscarriage.

There’s been an accident.

These words shape a generation and re-shape the one before us.  Marriages fall apart. Families split open.

There’s been an accident.

If the loss had been a child, they might have softened into each other.  Instead, they scatter like water on a hot griddle–leaving the words behind for child’s play.

There’s been an accident.

For years, I play with them, using all the power of my imagination to fashion a different ending.

There’s been an accident, BUT… everyone survived.

There’s been an accident, BUT… she survived.

There’s been an accident, BUT…

No matter how I tried, there is nothing to soften the sharp and pointed ending of that verse.

There’s been an accident. Period.

Three decades pass and still those words define me. I want to rip them from my neck and let them scatter on the floor so that they never, NEVER  find each other again.

But though I’ve fashioned thousands of words from my life, I have not been able to release this single strand.  Until now.  Until now.


So soft on the tongue.

Like petals.


Surely death would have found her some day.  Why not at the height of her expression?

Lila in the Kitchen with Lobster.


She–who spawned 14 granddaughters from her head, and another 5 posthumously–lives on in all of us.

Lila & her first dozen grandchildren.


Who among us will find a mate to match our combined power?  One who won’t cheat this treasure with women or work or woe.

Does such a man exist who can possess such beauty without falling prey to his failings?

Who among us then will take up the bottle as comfort in the solitude of our strength?



That was Lila’s lonesome drink.  But not until 5.  Before then, she was all purpose.  Pencil tucked behind ear.  Lips pursed.  Jaw and cheekbones set.

Lila Jane.

What fate caused there to be such a vacuum in her absence? Exposing all the weakness one family can bear before breaking apart.

Lila Jane Burrows.

I should hate her for leaving.  14 years old and no matriarch to pass on the faith.  Forced to carry a torch too heavy to light such a darkness.

And what about the added cruelty of her timing? Just as I was perched to assume my place by her side—poisoned by the cup of my own desire.

I no longer care to be the legacy bearer of such pain.

There’s been an accident.

These are the words my father chokes on as he places his arm around my shoulders—and squeezes out the last drops of innocence.

There’s been an accident.

Perhaps there was no other way.  Perhaps she had to leave to offer me–and each of us–our rightful space.

Lila’s Goodbye (unknown/

There’s been an accident.

Thank God.

Now we can breath.

And now, I understand.

I understand that these words will not be delivered

in one

epic tale

of woe,

but released


partial births,


by one.






Kelly Salasin

(This post is Piece II of the story of Lila & me.  Click here for Piece I. )



Lifelong educator, writer, retreat & journey leader, yoga & yogadance instructor.

4 thoughts on “Lila

  1. she still comes to me in soo many ways and with me too…

    i carry her strength almost daily, it’s so much of what has gotten me to this place…

    glad your healing, me too, mmmm…. soo many lessons from lila jane!!!



  2. Thank you for introducing me to your grandmother, although she died before I met you. You have taken me to visit her spirit so many times over the years, I feel I have met her in person. I wish I had.
    I’m glad you are healing and can find peace and joy in that very special connection you have with Lila.


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