lOss, grief and beauty
“It may be that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
– Wendell Berry
I have tried writing this post every couple of days for the past 2 months, and haven’t gotten any farther than the first few sentences each time. Today will be different. It just has to be. The question is – “How does one go about writing about the process of grief when there is no roadmap, no “This Way” sign, and no solid ground to be found?”
The truth is I want to be writing about something else. Something that is inspiring, and uplifting, and pretty. I want to be sharing what I’m doing to feel better (meditating, spending time in Nature, reminding myself that I’m a part of the universe). But, my soul keeps tugging on my sleeve and whispering, “tend to your heart, dear one”.
For a good part of my life I protected my heart behind a wall of perfectionism and the belief that “it doesn’t matter”. I told myself over and over again that it doesn’t matter if I get hurt, if I get left, or if there isn’t any help. It was an effective coping mechanism back then, but over the past 25 years I’ve been committed to being a more vulnerable, authentic and wholehearted person.
And that means staying connected to myself, and choosing to listen for those things that really do matter to me. It also means taking responsibility for what I need, and not leaving it up to others to figure it out for me. As my coach Andy says, “Your wellbeing is in your hands.”
For me, grief triggers shame and thoughts of weakness and failure. Unfortunately, from the place of shame I begin asking some really unhelpful questions: “What is wrong with me that losing one of my dearest soul sisters and my Mom in a span of 6 months has dropped me to my knees? What is wrong with me that I can’t think or focus for any length of time? What is wrong with me that I’m struggling to stay in contact with the dear friends and sisters who are still in my life? Why am I not strong enough to “handle” this and just move on?”
I’d rather not feel vulnerable. Ever. But life really isn’t like that. I’m learning through this process that it’s worth the effort to summon my courage and risk being vulnerable. That by being vulnerable with those who love me, the loss and pain really does begin to shift. By being vulnerable with those who “get me”, I’m finding that their love, understanding and wisdom really does reach my heart, and some of the raw edges are begining to soften. Where I thought there was only loss and shame, there begins to grow true connection.
“Courage originally meant
‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.'”
Shame and anger tell me I don’t have what it takes to move through this. But my amazing heart tells me I’m strong enough to feel this deep loss and come through to the other side. It keeps telling me that this work is very important and that it is essential to honor my process, my path, my wisdom. My heart says, “Listen more, and judge and react less.” And my heart and dear friends promise that if I stay with my vulnerable self, the pain will shift and transform, and bring renewed light and joy in due time.
As I stay committed to my wellbeing, I will continue my play dates with the sunrise, build cairns of peace and remembrance, strengthen my body, meditate, keep seeing beauty, and ask for courage, joy and ease for myself and all others.
Thank you for listening, caring, believing. May you trust the wisdom of your own heart, and begin to soften some of those jagged edges in your own life. You are worth it.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is not the same as losing a mother or dear friend, but the boat of grief has many seats. I’m sitting next to you. You are smart to remain focused on self care. It’s so important. ❤
Thanks so much, Amber. I’m so happy you are sitting next to me❤️ Losing a dear pet can be as heartbreaking as losing a dear friend. Wishing you comfort and ease today. Hugs🌀
Thank you! Hugs coming your way as well. ❤
Sometimes you just have to “let it be”! Honestly I don’t believe we “move on” – we just evolve a little everyday – and that is life. Hugs – love – and all my best as always!
Thank you, Debra❤️ I love what you said – “we just evolve a little everyday”. That feels really right. Hugs❤️
In my experience, the daily evolution that eventually softens the jagged edges has lead me to where I can put the memories and sadness into a gently lined place like a velvet pouch, and keep it close but not in front of me anymore. It’s like I tuck it in my mind, behind my right ear. When it is no longer my main focus I can move on to other things and know that the memories are close by and never forgotten. I can bring them out of the velvet pouch anytime but this way, they don’t rule my day. It is the way I can cope by honoring the memories but not letting the sadness overcome my life.
You have been through a lot in a short time. There is no shame in allowing yourself to feel grief. It is one of the things that make us human. Keep listening to your amazing heart. It is so huge and powerful. You have swept us along in your journey and we are blessed with your beautiful images and words. We support you and send you all of our love as you search for your soft spot to land.
xoxox Big, warm hugs to you. And thank you for sharing.
Thank you for sharing your heart, dear Lisa, and for encouraging me to keep listening to mine❤️ So happy you are on this journey with me. Xoxo Big hugs.
There are two lessons that I am getting hit with front and center in learning to deal with Mom’s ‘healing’ – be patient and go slow. There is no time frame she needs to be healed by. Healing is a process that is as individual as the person going through that process. And the heart is where it all has to begin – the care of this major organ is crucial to achieving all goals we set for ourselves. Goals that are again individual to each person. So be patient with yourself dear Vicki, the heart is a fragile organ that has to be shown patience to heal at it’s own pace. Breathe! Love and so many hugs!!! Lisa