Assuming you’re here because the title caught your eye, you’ve had an awful loss, you’re dealing with grief.
How do we move through it all, how do we re-create a future that is positive, happy, functioning…perhaps even more than you might have imagined under the circumstances?
The sudden loss of both parents, and being an only child, for me instantly became a cumulative loss, huge and somehow inseparable. It has an alone-ness like nothing else. I feel as though I have no tribe to be part of. I’d always be the elder from here on. It’s a bit overwhelming sometimes. This loss has mapped part of my future – it’s not only about the past.
I can feel it defining me still, changing something forever in my heart and mind.
I’m now 5 years into lifetime membership of the club we don’t want to be members of.
“All the times I have suddenly realized that my parents are dead, even now, it still surprises me, to exist in the world while that which made me has ceased to exist.”
― Nicole Krauss,
Bad days + reminders
Sometimes there’s a trigger to a bad few days, something happens, usually a smaller loss of some kind, or some remembering, wanting, and suddenly you’re whirling around in amongst all of the unfinished business that death leaves behind. Uncertain about the future, find myself missing my guides, my tribe. It’s completely raw and ineffable some days.
In those moments, I’m learning to catch my mind more quickly when I’m narrating over something from the past, or going over events. Buddhist monks call this monkey-mind. It’s not your friend, it holds you up, and when you’re grieving or freshly shocked it’s at full volume.
Whatever you do, don’t go reading about the ‘stages of grief’ and other nonsense. This is lifelong work, the emotions change as we go, hopefully, it gets lighter. It can’t be labeled in stages, chapters, it has no timeline, and we all experience it uniquely.
- Being aware, mindful, just noticing when we’re feeling whatever it is we’re feeling.
- Know that it passes, sometimes takes a few days to subside. It’s the dark bit, shadow self – and as important to who you are now as all of the good stuff that’s happened in your life.
- Be kind to your heart, it’s the only one you’ve got.
- Everything passes. Everything. You know that already through this experience.
- Develop gratitude, for each moment I catch my mind wandering…interrupt with gratitude.
- Be ready for a better day tomorrow, expect it, it’s coming.
- All storms pass, and all grief comes from pure love.
“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”
― John Green,
Bad days aside, I felt enormous momentum after it all happened – and I’ve never felt anything like it. I want to share it, to remind you too.
Some might say I was running away from it all, there’s truth in that for sure. Although you never really get away from it, you can use the energy to create and begin new things in your life, to re-write your future. The things you’ve always wanted to do, what makes you happy, what do you want to be from here onwards. It entwines deliciously with the loss, that’s always about the people we loved, somehow I feel that they’re behind me all the way.
It’s my superpower. It has to be, and it’s a good way to truly remember them – to create a happy future.
I’ve had all of the lessons on impermanence I need this lifetime. I’m listening, awake, working hard to make the most of every single bit. There have been lots of happy times, over the last few years, moments that I might not have noticed if it weren’t for everything that happened before…
Remember always, friend.
(Don’t put yourself through it anymore – they wouldn’t want that.)
They’d tell you to look up.
― Alison Bechdel
“It’s like she has her heart in her hand and it’s broken. She’s holding it out and showing me all the little pieces. Or maybe it’s my heart.”
― Nyrae Dawn,
ps. Do your bucket list now, no excuses…