This morning a friend messaged me a photo of her latest tattoo- a beautiful sequoia.
"I got it for K, just like she told me to" She commented.
A couple of weeks ago I had done a reading for her, and connected her to her best friend K, that had recently passed on. (Read the blog "energy" that was inspired by the reading.) It was pre-coffee and I was confused.
"K told you to do that?" I messaged back.
"Yep" She answered.
"Through me, or before she passed on?" I asked.
"Through you," She affirmed.
I looked again at the photo of the beautiful but sad looking sequoia. The colors were dark and rich, and the tree was clearly dying. The artist had done a wonderful job conveying this, with lots of browns littered with little bits of green. It was fitting of my friend's grief. What she wasn't able to convey in words, she had somehow managed to convey in art. It moved me.
Through my work I have had the honor of working with those in some stage of grief. Whether it's been three months or ten years, grief tends to be circular and ever-revolving. Even for myself, it is interesting when the sadness hits me. It always feels somewhat random. You're walking along and then BAM! grief hits you right in the face. You learn after awhile not to fight these moments. I allow it to overtake me, reminding myself that I feel grief because I loved my daughter so deeply, and let it pass. Everyone is different though in how they learn to live with grief year after year. There is no right or wrong way to continue on. You just do. That's all you can do.
In the short month I've been reading for others, I've already noticed a pattern from those who come to me missing someone, and those that they connect with. I thought I'd share my observations.
- Your loved ones that have passed on are around you, whether you feel them or not. Some are louder than others, but they are indeed, there.
- Those they leave behind have a hole that their loved one took up. A lot of us don't even realize it's there. We feel sad and we aren't sure why. It's not a conscious thing. It's a space in their heart, and unless honored, it will keep on hurting.
- We feel the need to "do" something after our loved one passes. I 100% fall into this category. One thing I've enjoyed from my work is hearing the suggestions from those that have passed on. They seem to know exactly what their loved one needs- whether it's picking up a specific hobby or just letting something go. They seem to really have an understanding of how to help. I like being apart of this. It's almost like an intervention. We sit down, I translate, and by the end, you go, "Woah! That's what I need to do!"
- Once you realize what that "thing" is, it's INSANE how quickly healing take place. People walk out with their head held high and they look physically different. It's like a weight is taken off their shoulders. The transformations are incredible. There are a few people right now that had readings only a couple of weeks ago that are pushing beyond what they thought possible because they were FREED.
- Tributes: If you feel like paying a tribute to your loved one that has passed on, whether a tattoo, a donation to their favorite charity, or even a walk in the woods, do it. Your loved one will probably be with you the entire time, enjoying the moment with you, and thankful that you are remembering them.
- Continuing to remember their birthday is always a good thing. Yes, they'll be there, and yes, they want you to enjoy the cake.
- Remembering the day they passed on: do something they would love to do, and do it with gusto. My family and I always hike on our daughter's birthday. We get to a beautiful outlook and we honor the lessons she taught us. Maybe your loved one like to go bowling, or maybe your friend really liked the Gilmore Girls. Whatever makes you think of them not only keeps their memory alive, but it helps you heal, and your loved one surrounds you. The main thing they want me to get across is to celebrate their life on the day they passed on. Mourn if you feel like mourning, but also eat that favorite eggplant parm they loved.
- You never, ever, have to explain your grief to anyone else. You never have to make excuses for feeling sad. This is journey. Do not let anyone belittle it.
- Accept all of the signs that make you think of them. Even the little ones. Smile at the random feather in the air. Pick up all of the random pennies in your path. Listen to the birds singing. Acknowledge your loved one is sending you a message. Thank them. They WANT to communicate with you because...
- YOUR LOVED ONES THAT HAVE PASSED ON ARE VERY MUCH ALIVE. I put this in all CAPS because it is TRUE. They are NOT suffering. They are NOT in hell. They are happy, surrounded by all of the pets they had in this life and passed ones, catching up with all of those friends they never got to catch up with in life, and doing whatever it is they makes them happy, whether it's golfing or sailing on the open seas. It's HEAVEN. Even if your loved one was a baby when they passed. THEY ARE IN HEAVEN (HOME as I call it.) No, they don't stay a baby. They take whatever body they had before they were previously in the womb. When I sense my daughter, she comes across as a young woman, even though she died full-term.
- For the record: Even a premie baby, or a 20-week baby, is home (heaven) safe and sound.
- One more thing: If you've had an abortion, know the soul that would have been that fetus doesn't blame you, doesn't begrudge you, and wasn't in your body when it passed, if it made it down. Please, please, let go of the pain and guilt. God doesn't blame you. You are not going to hell. It's okay.
I'd love to revisit this a year from now and see if these observations have changed at all. Each reading and question that I am blessed to do teaches me. It is only through God's grace that this is possible. She get's all of the credit.
What would you add to this list above? What do you think your loved one wants you to know? Whatever you do in tribute, know that healing is taking place simply by the action. Each time we say their name, or do something in their memory, healing occurs. We will never be fully healed (because grief is a fickle beast like that) but we can keep processing and growing from the experience of knowing and loving them. I think that's the greatest honor we can give them. I honor my daughter each time I show kindness. I know that while she isn't physically here, her life continues to touch others through my experience of loving her. Until we can meet again, I put one foot in front of the other, and I continue to reach out and love.