Grief is Not Too High a Price for Love

This time here at Esalen has felt quite rich in many ways and one of those ways was being here for the death and grieving process of a long standing community member Montgomery London. She died suddenly of a heart attack the morning I arrived.

The thing that touched me first about her death was entering into this community as we grieved the loss. Josef, her husband, was so present and open as the waves of grief rolled out of him and the community stood steadfastly by him during those first few hours after she was gone. I got to be there that morning to help support him. It felt like an honor. They both have meant a lot to me across the years of coming here, so I was glad to give back.

The second thing to touch me was watching how the community stepped up and held him as the days rolled into weeks. Someone would show up to walk him to breakfast, or to stay the night. Day after day. Night after night. And I got to help support here and there as the weeks rolled by. I dedicated the workshop for women that started the evening of her death to her memory.

The third thing that touched me most deeply was the love he expressed for her, and that we  got to share in, at the memorial service last weekend. It was clear that he truly felt it in his heart – they were not just words – when he said, “Grief is not too high a price to pay for love. In the case of my marriage to Montgomery, it truly was better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” Wow, would that we could all say that so wholeheartedly about our life partners.

There were many stories of Montgomery and her life here at Esalen. Stories of her fierce loyalty to the safety of this place. Her no nonsense attitude about everything she did. Her love of the Fire Brigade and all things rescue oriented. She had been out on a six hour cliff rescue the day before she died. She did not want to linger in a hospital somewhere when her time came, so this was a good death. We will all miss her terribly. And, it was the way she wanted to go.

Montgomery, no one can possibly replace you here, so please keep an eye on this place from wherever you are!


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