Grief is a strange process to move through. I have been fortunate to have some really incredible clients entrust me with their healing through these difficult times. They come in search of several things; answers, relief from guilt, anger and sadness, and most of all, peace. Reiki is a gentle way to heal from all of these things, and truly helps someone to move through this difficult process.
Learning how to deal with loss is one of the hardest lessons we will have. Losing someone dear to you, be it through a severed friendship, the end of a relationship, an unexpected separation, or the loss of a loved one through death; it’s all tragic, and it’s all relative to what you have experienced thus far in life. I tell my clients, no person’s pain is more or less measurable than someone else’s. It’s all relative. We could look at it and say, well it could be worse, and sure, sometimes this is true. However, what’s important to remember is this; if this experience is the worst you’ve had to move through, then this is the most difficult process for you at this time. Regardless of what it is; pain is pain. Grief is grief.
For some reason, in this life, I’ve experienced an unusual amount of loss and pain. I believe we choose our paths, and so with this belief in mind, I know I’ve chosen this life and all the lessons therein. So I’ve come to some sense of peace with the things that have happened. Everything comes with a lesson, and I’ve learned to embrace them instead of fight against them.
A wise woman once told me, everything that happens to us before the age of 12 is our parent’s lesson. Everything that happens after that age is ours. So when I think back on all the events before I turned 12, I now acknowledge them as lessons for my parents; which is reassuring to some extend. However, all the mistakes I made afterwards were all mine! And believe me, some of the grief that followed certainly was my doing; thankfully, I’m recognizing the lessons.
So is grief a lesson for us? When we end a relationship, what are we supposed to learn about ourselves, and the other person? When a parent loses a child, is that a lesson? Such a cruel one it would seem.
To really answer this question, I’ll share one particular loss that has been extremely hard to move through. The loss of my mother, five years ago today; September 8, 2010.
I thought I had figured this out; losing people I loved. I attended my first funeral when I was 11, for my grandfather. Two years later, my grandmother passed. My father’s parents were long gone, so I never knew them. A year or so after I graduated college a friend of mine died; I still think of him and miss him; he was such an incredible soul ~ peace to you Gord.
I lost another friend to a brain aneurism in 2002, and read a eulogy at her funeral. The loss of her life at such a young age was hard to understand. I remember during that time really focusing on healing and energy to move through that process.
In 2004 my father died at age 84. He’d suffered from Alzheimers for two decades, and in the end his passing was a blessing. I even had that conversation with him before he passed, and forgave him for a childhood of pain. He passed that night after visiting me briefly miles from where he was, and I told him it was okay to let go. Ten minutes later the nursing home called me to tell me he was gone. My lesson was on forgiveness. His I believe was much deeper.
Over the years my parents lost friends and I was there to celebrate their lives. My friends lost parents, and I showed my support and understanding. I lost a friendship that was incredibly hard to accept, but I finally processed the pain, acknowledged the friendship, and let go.
However; none of this prepared me for losing my mother, and the absolute unbearable grief I would feel. When I think of her death and the months that followed, I instantly feel that prickle in my nose and my eyes well up. I still cannot speak of her death without crying and feeling pain in my heart. Being told by a nurse so off handedly that my mother was gone, was hard enough. Learning it was because of neglect was beyond comprehension, and I remember how I raged against this. I raged at the hospital, at myself for not being there that night, at my mother for not taking better care of her health, at my father for not insisting she take better care of herself, at the nurse who neglected her and the staff who allowed all of this to happen. I raged for months, and in the end, the rage didn’t bring her back. All it did was make me exhausted, tired, gain weight, depressed, and just plain sad. Losing my mother was the hardest lesson I’ve ever had. It really made me look at who I was as a person. I had been very selfish when it came to my mother. I never saw her as a woman… she was simply my mother. How did it escape me, that she had this whole life she was living, aside from me? How had I become that self-possessed and indulgent?
God, how I miss her. I miss her voice. I miss her laugh, her smile, her warm heart. She was a feisty woman, and many times we battled; but she always, always, always, had my back. She was there for me when few others stood by me. Mothers have this unending compassion for their children that is like no other. How many times I hurt her, I do not know. I was so hard on her, blaming her for so many things. Why was I so harsh with her? This woman who only longed for my happiness? I have since begged for her forgiveness and trust it wasn’t too late. We had such a difficult life growing up together, but in the end, when she was in the hospital, I held her hand and I told her what I knew she needed to hear. Mom, if you’re too tired, you can go. Fight, if you want to fight! But I will be okay if you want to leave now…. and so she did.
It was important for me to let her know I was okay. She had helped see me through an incredibly rough few years, and in many ways, it had brought us closer. My lesson with my Mom was so deep, I don’t know that I’ve actually finished learning it yet. I think when I finally have some peace with her death and can speak of her without the sudden tears, I may be closer to knowing what it is. For now, I feel it has to do with honouring the mistakes and choices someone makes, and understanding that we are all human; we all do the best we can with what we have in that moment. From moment to moment, we do the best we can. My lesson is about embracing that and always striving to be better in those moments. To make the right choices, and live fully every day.
Does grief bring lessons? Absolutely. A lifetime of them.
Miss you Mom~
PS. Since I first wrote this blog, so much has changed. I had a medium tell me my mother was always watching over me, which was reassuring. He also told me she comes to me through the birds… and well, I needed a moment to stop crying there. Now, each and every bird that visits me I take the time to hold dearly. Each one stays with me for as long as I patiently hold them… it is truly amazing. Most recently a female cardinal hit our bedroom window and I reached out for her, knowing my mother was there. She stayed in my hands for ten minutes or so, until she was better, and I hugged her to me and walked her over to the fence, and she finally flew off my hand.
I can now speak of my mother without the waterfall of tears… but my heart still feels that absence. Only time heals pain… it never fades the memories, they just become less sharp and piercing. Has her death changed me? What lessons did I learn? I have learned to become more compassionate. I have learned to say sorry when I have hurt someone, and really mean it. I feel for people and their pain, much clearer than I did before. Her death and my lessons therein have made me a better healer, because finally, I have begun healing.
It is a process… life. Sometimes a funny one…. and if you look for those quirks, you can ride through with more humour than you thought possible.