This time last year I was immersed in the sanctity of Mom’s final breathes on earth. It’s been quite a year to say the least, as I scrambled out of a world that had become so disconnected due to my choice to care for Mom the last years of her life.
This year has been fraught with addiction – okay, to Smarties, but still… 😉I’ve survived moments of grief that exhausted my soul as I curled up in the fetal position on the floor beside my bed – body heaving with pain not only for the loss of Mom, but for those losses that preceded her death. I have met with hope, and watched her sink into the darkness and leave me with a loneliness on earth like no other. I’ve taken risks – walking into grieving workshops, scouring the shelves of bookstores and googling. Meeting with grieving counselors, doing therapy, talking to friends, sitting in meditation, and dancing Nia. And, little by little, I have reconnected.
Reconnected first and foremost with self – by having the courage to go into the seething pain of grief when it emerged – choosing to excavate – choosing to connect with the pain and thus loosen its death grip on me – choosing ultimately to live – with the help of professionals and on my own, (because you ain’t grieving kids, if you aren’t going to some super scary places with multiple Kleenex in tow). I’ve also reconnected with the earth – by paddling, watching the seagulls playing in the wind, and feeding the bright yellow birds and chipmunks who make their way to my yard. I’ve had the honour of developing two deep, rich friendships, that I value with all that I am. And, I’ve connected again with community – through a host of groups with like-minded and like-hearted people – for this, I am forever thankful to those who have met me there fully. It is a privilege and an honour to be connected in all of these ways, and I have more work to do to broaden and deepen these connections.
A friend asked me the other day what one thing I have learned that has made the biggest difference in this last year for me. Perhaps it is the choice to be vulnerable with self and other. The choice to risk being seen. The risk to hold the gaze of the woman in the mirror and admit her shortcomings – apologize for them, and to also have compassion for her injuries. To take in with amazement the person who is handing me their soft vulnerable heart with their words and unguarded glances. And to embrace. To embrace the risk to live from that place. You can’t exclusively talk or think your way through grief in my estimation. If that were true, I would have got a gold star years ago after Jim died. Grieving isn’t for sissies. But, it is the most important work I am learning how to do.
A number of weeks ago, a friend who leads meditation classes asked me if we could celebrate the full moon on the beach in front of my house. So, last night, I lay on the beach surrounded with fellow pilgrims – in a place of connection with self, the earth, the moon, and my fellow travelers. (attached pic)
It’s fabulous to feel myself come alive again – shaking loose the grief – moving through life without its weightiness – dancing around my kitchen with joy. Life doesn’t get more juicy than that. So come…come walk with me – because this living stuff sure can be one heck of a wild and fabulous ride.