Do you ever notice how grief makes people uncomfortable? There is something unsettling about feeling emotions that people are told to avoid on a regular basis. Think of the preconditioning we give our girls from a young age. We ask them to smile during gymnastics competitions and dance recitals. We ask them to smile when they just found out they didn't get first place in their speech competition. Instead of encouraging others to feel the emotion, we ask them to push it away. It works. Girls (and boys) smile, the uncomfortable "making a scene" doesn't happen, and everyone is happy.
Or are we?
One day that girl grows up. She goes away to college. Her first serious boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with her. She is devastated. She cries for days. Why? Because we try so hard to precondition our children to not face pain, that when something really devastating happens, they are destroyed. Some will argue this is a right of passage for everyone, but does it have to be?
What if we were open and honest about our sadness? Would we be a more complete person?
Think of the sadness or grief that is taking up your heart right now. Who are you missing? What hurts you? Everyone is holding something in. Maybe it wasn't the right "time" to cry (like myself the other night) or maybe you were too "busy" to deal with the emotion when it happened. The emotion doesn't go away just because you refuse to deal with it. It festers. It multiplies. It takes over where love and light can be.
I know I use the phrase "love and light" a lot on this blog. I swear, I'm not that granola. It IS central to us being able to help others however, and be a "whole" person. We need to love ourselves. We need to let the light in.
Light cannot go in if the darkness is there.
I'm not calling you dark- but the emotions that you carry on a daily basis, they weigh you down. They make you feel incomplete, or "off." They keep you from being the best person you can be.
In a way, we can't help it. Grief is circular. Grief will always have a piece of my heart. It doesn't matter how much I honor my daughter or how many tattoos I get with her in mind. She will always have a piece of it. I can't help it. At this point in my grief, I need her there. I'm worried that if the grief is not in my heart, she won't be there either.
Last night I had an interesting reading with a couple of family members. One was very open minded, the other was open but not enough for me to read her. Nevertheless, the reading was a success because the person who was truly open allowed me to let family members come and say hi and send her messages. In turn, it helped the other family member that was more resistant. I went home and I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned. The last time I couldn't sleep after a reading it was a similar circumstance. The person was more closed off. Waking up this morning, it occurred to me what had happened.
This woman was so used to the grief she carried in her heart, she wouldn't let me in. She didn't want to let it go. Why would someone not want to let grief go?
If you don't fully allow grief to overtake you, you become accustomed to it, it becomes your best friend. It eats breakfast with you. It flies with you when you travel. It is your constant companion. You get so used used to the grief that it's a scary thought to let it go.
So here I was, offering her the opportunity to let her grief float away. The person she was grieving was right there, trying to help her. Almost every memory he gave me to give to her, she would shake her head, or say, "no, that didn't happen." As a psychic medium it was frustrating, not because I didn't believe her, but because I wasn't sure why I wasn't hearing things correctly. Yet, for the person next to her, I was able to pick things up right away. She cried. She laughed. She allowed the grief she felt to slide away. You could see her eyes become brighter. Her smile was wider. But her companion? She simply stared off.
Why couldn't I get to her?
Because she didn't want me to.
Here's the thing about my own grief that I am still learning: you have to be willing to let it go. In a way, I am very similar to the woman that was resistant to hearing her messages. I am so afraid if I let my pain go, I will let her go. Intellectually, I know this isn't the case. Intuitively, I know that my second daughter is watching over me, sending wonderful signs and messages. I know that she is alive and living in spirit. Yet the mom in me wants her in my arms.
Yesterday I sat with my friend and our children played. My son played with her son. My daughter played with her oldest. Her middle child was frustrated, though. She was too old to play with the younger kids and not interested in playing with the older. There was a moment where I looked over and all of the children and a wave of grief crashed over me. My second daughter would have fit right in with her middle child. I sighed a big sigh and turned my attention back to my friend. I noticed she was looking in the same direction that I had been, and a tear was slipping out of her eye. We both looked at each other, and I knew she was having the same thought. We laughed and smiled, and that bond we shared as friends grew wider. As the bond grew, the grief in my heart shrunk just a little bit.
After my daughter died, we moved thousands of miles away. It was very hard, and very lonely. One of my fears was that my daughter would be forgotten. I was afraid that the friends I made wouldn't understand my story, or not validate the child we couldn't see. A few years after we moved on a warm, Spring day, I got a text from my new neighbor. We had become friends and I had shared with her the story of the daughter I had lost. Her text simply read,
"P's back! I saw a butterfly!"
With that, my heart opened as my new friend remembered the sign we got from P, and I rushed to see the first monarch of the season floating by. The texts didn't stop there, though. Every Spring and Summer my phone would "ding" with sightings of butterflies floating between our backyards.
My fears weren't unfounded in wondering if the new people we had in our life would understand our loss. There are plenty of people that have come in our life that have not. For some reason, those people don't seem to stick around. The ones that do though, honor our daughter's light as we do. As a mother that has lost a child, that is the best gift you can give to us.
I think anyone that grieves is afraid of their loved ones being forgotten. We wear a scarlet letter on our chest that only we can see. Some think of it as a badge of honor, and refuse to take it off. Eventually though, we must let go.
Letting go does not mean we forget about our loved one. It does not mean we won't stop playing their favorite song or think about them when we cook the pasta we knew they liked. It does mean that we let go of the pain of the loss of them. Why would we do that?
Because we haven't really "lost" them. They are right here. They are probably sitting next to you as you read this, hand on your shoulder. They are begging you to heal.
"What's the point?" You may ask.
Because just because they have finished their life, doesn't mean you have finished with yours. We cannot fully live again until we give up.
We must surrender.
I surrender to this grief. I surrender to the hole I still feel. I allow myself to miss her like crazy on an ordinary Saturday. I feel the pain.
Gosh, it hurts. I miss her so much.
She's here though- rolling her eyes a bit.
"Mom!" she says impatiently.
"We have work to do"
"I don't understand" I tell her.
"I'm guiding you, now. You have people to help. Let ME help YOU"
I throw my arms around my precious, perfectly imperfect daughter. I tell her I love her. I tell her that I'm sorry I couldn't save her.
"You did save me mom." She answers back.
"You gave me the best life you could inside the womb. You fed me "mean-green" juices and lulled me to sleep when you ran. I heard you. I loved you. Now it's my turn to save you."
Do you see that your loved ones you have lost, they haven't gone anywhere? They are right next to you, and they WANT to help you. We are all on different paths, but we must keep walking. Yes, there will be bumps in the road, but allow this to just be a BUMP instead of a stop. They are GUIDING YOU.
"How can they save me?" You'd ask me.
By freeing yourself from the guilt, the worry, the sadness. I'm here to tell you
there was nothing you could do to stop their death.
They are at peace.
They are ALIVE. Ready and Willing to help you.
But, you have to be open to the experience of being helped.
You have to be open to healing your heart, and letting your grief go.
Your loved ones are in the happiest place. (Think of Disneyland, but 1 billion times better) THEY are fine.
They want YOU to be fine too.
Today, right now, I want you to take a deep breath. Whatever pain you are holding onto from whomever you are missing- it could be your loyal dog you had when you were seven, or your aunt that always gave you a chocolate when you saw her. WHOMEVER IT IS- let your breath go. When you do, let the pain go.
Allow the light to enter your heart. Have faith that they are around you, still playing an active part of your life.
It's time to start living.
I know I am. I'm ready to allow my daughter to guide me fully, and release this crummy pain that holds me hostage. I deserve better. You deserve better. Your loved ones don't want you to hurt. They want you to LIVE. Do it for them. Do it for yourself.
We are all in this together, wouldn't it be easier to navigate grief together, than alone? Allow those that love you to fully enter your heart. Allow yourself to love and be loved. Allow your light to shine.
I am never fully alone, for those that have walked before me stand with me now. I allow my grief to come forward, but not continue to be an integral part of my life.
I have living to do. So do you.
Let's get to it.