The Surprise Visitor
The journey through grief and loss may at times feel as though a tsunami is washing through every cell of your entire being. Sometimes it leaves one wondering if ever their head will break through the surface of the water to take that deep breath of life giving air again. For me, grief can also be likened to the cougar stalking its prey, patiently watching, waiting, lurking, until the moment least expected it can “attack”. Like a surprise visitor, at times, grief stays an hour, others it seems an endless visit.
Losing a parent is tough. Today marks the 11th anniversary of my mom’s transition. It is hard to comprehend that eleven years have passed. In so many ways, it feels like yesterday, others it feels like a lifetime ago.
The Raging Beast
Watching a disease, in my mom’s case, cancer, ravage the body of the one you love, is something sure to leave its mark. It holds within it an enormous amount of trauma, as you watch your strong loved one, succumb to this raging beast.
Comfort and Safety
Where at a point in time your mom held you in the safety of her arms, instead, you find yourself being the one that offers that same safety and comfort you once received. You stand by helplessly as you watch her hair fall out. Unable to find relief from physical pain you witness her rocking herself in comfort. You watch as her body begins to fade away, until there is nothing but a bony shell left. When you hear the cries coming from the bathtub, acutely aware of her own frail body, you scoop her up ever so gently to help.
As a result of the caregiving role you take, even months following their passing, you may catch yourself halfway down the hallway to go check on them. And then you begin processing that they are gone. I had an instance of this even a couple of years later. Our daily routines with our ailing loved ones leave a deep impression.
As loved ones and caregivers, we may wonder whether or not we could have done more. What loved one wouldn’t give anything to change the trajectory of their course?
I can remember laying on my moms lap in the week before she passed away as she sat on the edge of the bed. She patted my cheek like only she could, and said “you did it all, you’re my best girl.” Those were some of her last words of substance to me. They are the words I hold precious to my heart. I knew I hadn’t done it all, but what I had done, was with great love.
On the Flip Side of Grief and Loss
On the other side of the pain, also exist incredible blessings. It seems impossible at times that one could see outside their own pain. However, despite grief and loss, a vast sense of love exists. We realize there is no true separation. We take note of their favourite song on the radio, or the smell of a familiar perfume in the air. Sometimes, we may feel the presence of our loved one surrounding us in our times of need as well as joy.
The Bigger Picture
When we are able to take note of blessings, despite our loss, this is where we can feel we are truly part of a bigger picture. Widening our perspective, we can see the blueprint of God, weaved throughout our life, and especially in the depths of our grief. We are truly not alone when we navigate deep, dark waters.
Often, we are taught about unconditional love, and yes, even joy, in the wake of our loved ones transitions. With eyes wide open, we are able to see the world through a completely new lens, often taking note of the details we never noticed before. This can be a pretty wondrous eye-opening experience.
Just as the grief has a tendency to sneak up when least expected, so is the opposite also true. Joy has the potential to spread like wildfire. I can remember feeling guilty the first time I laughed after my son and mom passed. Now, I know how much joy it would bring to their hearts knowing that no matter my circumstance I still have the capacity to spontaneously explode with happiness. As we release the density of the grief, we open ourselves to more love and expand our inner light even further. We may unconsciously try and close our hearts, mistakingly thinking that will protect from future hurt. But in reality, this is our opportunity to approach our entire life from an open, and vulnerable heart space. In this space we are able to connect deeply with others and expand the love and compassion on our planet.
Legacy of Love
Reflecting on the legacy of love my mom left, I am forever grateful. I feel immensely blessed to have been nurtured and raised by such an incredible woman, full of determination and unwavering faith. In hindsight, I recognize now just how much she embodied the fierce strength of the Divine Feminine. What an incredible role model! Going through mom’s end of life journey brought me immeasurable gifts in both my personal and professional life. The personal growth my losses have inspired has been overwhelming at times, however, I am deeply humbled to be able to reflect in gratitude for each experience of love I’ve encountered in my life. I have been blessed to experience the love, compassion and joy, despite all else, in my life.
Gratitude in the Present Moment
When our gratitude meets our grief, peace, love and compassion descend. We realize what an incredibly precious gift life is. We are meant to live it fully and completely. Encouraged, we seize each and every precious moment in faith, happiness and love.