Thank You

Day 16

When I think of death, and as of late the thought has come with alarming frequency, I seem at peace with the idea that a day will dawn when I will no longer be among those living in the valley of strange humors. I can accept the idea of my own demise, but I am unable to accept the death of anyone else. I find it impossible to let a friend or relative go into that country of no return. Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger follows in its wake. I answer the heroic question “Death, where is thy sting?” with ‘it is here in my heart and mind and memories.’

Maya Angelou

I shared a short video yesterday on social media in which I am singing “thank you” to my Mom for the few years we shared together. She and Dad divorced when I was young, she left the state early on, and died when I was 27. I do not have many memories of her and my heart was especially raw pondering the myriad of “things we’ll never do together” last night. Thus, I started singing…

“Thank you, Mom”

(for the few years we enjoyed together)

At the time, I didn’t realize it… but I was awakening energies of grief and loss… of deep, deep heartache, long-time there… I was ready to allow these feelings to be felt all the way, no holds barred, no judgment… so that… those energies could be embraced fully, welcomed into my awareness, gently held… so that my grief could be acknowledged, allowed to flow, given freedom, dissolved… so that I could finally breathe deeply, down into the marrow of my bones… so that Love could trickle into my cells, saturate my being, and I could finally heal… whatever “heal” looked like…

As I sang, the energies began to awaken… and I found myself moving through my feelings… to a place of Acceptance. Peace. Stillness.

Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.

C. S. Lewis

I sense that I will always grieve, always know sadness and emptiness, loss of “oh-what-we-could-have” and this uncomfortable sense of being misplaced. Like a favorite book you know is somewhere in the house, you just know it is, but you’ve looked everywhere and can’t find it and so you finally give up and just try to remember the cover, the chapters, the paragraphs, the words… 

“Thank you, Mom”

(for those few precious memories)

And then. There, in the midst of this messiness and rawness, a change of perspective. Heart still ragged, but Mind processing, seeing differently.

Through the valley of the shadow of death, this utter sadness and loss, this beyond-understanding grief, there began a seeing of things differently. Hmmm, maybe not differently so much as in addition to… where there was only “what didn’t I get to experience with her” there is now also “I’m so thankful I got this experience with her.”

It’s been a subtle shift. A shift, nonetheless, and for this I am just so grateful.

And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration, Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us: “They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.”

Maya Angelou

I remember getting the call that she had passed, and there I was six months pregnant with my third, and knowing that she would never meet this child… and I thought, I wondered, how would I go on? What would life look like now? I stored those feelings, those thoughts, way down. Under the surface and way past the back shelf of the closet, all hidden and dark. Until lately. When it was time and I was ready and life was ready.

“Thank you, Mom”

(For sharing as much as you could)

Yes, it’s true. Life goes on. Time marches right on and you race to keep up, right? But, more importantly for me, as I have allowed myself to grieve, I have found that LIVING GOES ON. I can live while alive, even without her. I have given myself permission to feel, to grieve – to be angry and everything else that accompanies grief – and to also move through and on… on to Peace.

Move through the emotions while keeping the memories. I am becoming aware that I can feel those big feelings and let them pass through me, but I get to keep the memories. Just because I’m healing doesn’t mean I’m forgetting her, leaving her behind. This has been helpful to me on my journey.

Life goes on. But LIVING can go on too.

It’s a different kind of Peace, one that is imperfect and still hurts and is messy and full of tears but there’s laughter too.

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you’ll learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to be.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler

To all of us who are grieving, may we hold each other close. And LIVE. ❤

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