Posted in Inspiration, Life

Evolve or remain

Life is hard most of the time really. There is always a test, a challenge, something new to be learned. We constantly grow if we allow ourselves to be in the right mind frame and see those times as lessons for growth, not closing our hearts.

A message from Creig Crippen found it’s way to me, beckoning to be considered, reminding me that there is no gain without pain. It takes me back to my own beliefs of what I already know, and that we always have a choice in the matter, no matter how dark our world becomes. I wouldn’t say that my world is dark right now, but there are definitely daunting shadows that overcast the sunny bits.

In the end we are presented with a choice, a choice to evolve or remain. If we choose to remain unchanged, the same storms will present themselves, the same situations, until we learn from them, until we love ourselves enough to say “no more”, until we choose change.

If we choose to evolve, we will connect with the strength within us, we will explore what lies outside our comfort zone, and we will awaken to love. We will become and we will be. We already have everything we need.

We only have to choose to evolve, and choose love. ~

Advertisements
Posted in Death, Loss, Mom

A difficult Day

Monday was difficult for me. I felt it right away as I woke up. I can recognize the signs as I try to cheer myself up, distract myself, and sometimes I even manage. But there are others, I don’t. It always starts innocent and I don’t even realize what I’m doing, but when I do, it’s usually game over and I lose. Today I lost. I couldn’t get myself out of the rut. We can’t win all the time can we, and processing pain, dealing with it instead of distracting myself from it is actually healthy and necessary.

Today, I saw her everywhere in everything I did and it hurt to do it alone and without her. My distraction technique failed me today, and finally I gave in to the pain and let it run freely through my veins. I lit a candle in church for you today Mom, sitting there in silence between the sobs of my heart, while watching it burn down. I couldn’t watch it until the end, and the flame going out would have been too symbolic and painful for me. So instead I left just like I always did, with you staying behind, very much a part of everything.

The funeral is coming up this Friday and everything feels like such a long goodbye already. It’s been years actually and this final one feels so different and cold. It’s hard to believe, I’ve been here nearly two weeks already.

Tonight my heart is heavy as I cope and find the means to go on without her in my life. I know she never really left, and that she is always with me and by my side. And yet some days it’s just not enough in this sense.

Posted in Inspiration

Being wounded

Again a beautiful article found its way to my doorstep and this one speaks to me in so many ways. It comes as an explanation of how I feel to a “T”, and confirms the great transformation that is under way of emerging a newer version of myself. A version that has embraced the pain and has seen the beauty even in those most challenging moments. In a way it feels as if it was Mom’s final gift to me. I always thought of Mom as a young soul, so inexperienced and new to everything, with so little life experiences. But she wasn’t new to pain and loss, and she knew more then anyone else about that devastating feeling. She knew about being wounded and what it meant to have the light enter into the dark cracks of despair. She taught me one final lesson, perhaps one of the most important ones of all, and this was her time to pay it forward. It makes perfect sense at this point of my life to consider myself a wounded healer. To realize that it is those horrible things that crack us wide open, that actually become the very things that save us in the end. In fact, isn’t it a requirement all healers have embraced at one time or another? How could you heal and help others, never having felt and experienced this dramatic pain? How could you emphasize and realize their journey without having been there yourself? I can clearly see the image that is meant to be painted on to my shamanic earth drum now and a new vision has revealed itself to me. A vision of renewed purpose, a gift from Mom to build on in the future. In the meantime here is something to consider for the process of it.

The Wound Is the Call ~

“The process of individuation,” of becoming whole, to quote Marie Louise von Franz, “generally begins with a wounding of the personality and the suffering that accompanies it. This initial shock amounts to a sort of ‘call,’ although it is not often recognized as such.”

As if following a deeper calling, the event of our wounding sends us on a journey in search of ourselves. It is a wounding experience when the ego (the smaller self) initially encounters something greater and more powerful than itself, which is to say that the event of our wounding is initiatory, potentially leading us to our true vocation and destiny in life…

Being wounded can catalyze a breakdown or breakthrough, depending upon our ability to creatively express and give meaning to our overwhelming inner experience. The experience of becoming wounded can seemingly break us, while simultaneously breaking us open, thereby facilitating a connection to the world of the unconscious with its inexhaustible riches. In other words, our wound is potentially the doorway through which flows the revitalizing stream of the unconscious with its infinite creativity.

…It is an archetypal, universal idea that becoming broken, though on one hand seemingly obscuring our wholeness, is actually an expression of it…The anguished realization of our wounded condition is actually the first step toward recovery of our lost wholeness. Wholeness doesn’t necessarily mean not having a wound; rather, it is to be embracing the wound that we do have. The archetype of the wounded healer symbolizes a type of consciousness that can hold the seemingly mutually exclusive and contradictory opposites of being consciously aware of both our woundedness and our wholeness at one and the same time.

As long as we feel victimized, bitter and resentful towards our wound, however, seeking to escape from suffering it, we remain inescapably bound to it. Paradoxically, we can only escape the suffering by accepting another kind of suffering that is purifying. Instead of continually trying to avoid relationship with our suffering, if we are able to turn the violence that initially created our wound into what Jung calls “genuine suffering” (as distinguished from unproductive, “neurotic” suffering), we can recognize our wounding as a numinous event, an archetypal moment that seeks to make us participants in a divine, eternal happening.

Our wound is not a static entity, but rather a continually unfolding dynamic process in which we are participating moment-by-moment…The reciprocal interplay between our conscious ego and the unconscious sculpts our wound to take the particular form it does. An integral aspect of what constitutes our wound to manifest whichever way it does is our reaction to it – how we relate to it, what meaning we place on it, how we bear it.

Etymologically, “to bear” has to do with giving birth. The symptoms of our wound can be likened to a creative womb out of which emerges a new version of ourselves. When embraced, the pain of our wound reveals itself to be the birth pangs of a new inner being.

Paul Levy

Posted in Life, Loss, Mom

Calling your Name

As I sit and call your name, the silence is almost too loud to bare. I call with tears and a broken voice, crying out for help, but you never turn the corner to rush to my side, seeing what I need. It is you I need. The halls and rooms of this house you’ve spent so many years in, are no longer a home and emptiness is felt throughout.

As I sit and call your name, my calls go unanswered and while I see you everywhere, you are nowhere to be found. Of course I know that already you are watching over me from above, that you are bringing me signs to help me cope, and yet the pain of your loss is so great at times. I don’t like the memory of the last day we saw each other in person. It was Christmas Day, and I had to hurry, leaving you behind to catch a flight to the states. I got up late that day with no extra time to spare, and I did it on purpose, knowing that I would have lost it and broke down if I had too much time to say goodbye to you. Today I wished I had that time, and it feels cowardly now how I spent my last moments with you. I imagine everyone always wishes for one more talk, one more hug, one time to see each other and perhaps what I’m feeling is all normal now. I’m just tired of saying goodbye to every living being that had a profound meaning in my life, my children…the dogs included.

I wrote your eulogy the other day and it brought a sense of healing. I gave it to the pastor today and he commented on the many profound memories that we share. I wrote it in a lighthearted kind of way, although my heart was heavy at the time, but you had enough sorrow and pain in your life already. He liked the idea of your service being a celebration of your life vs. a final goodbye. We both have said goodbye way too many times and I much rather say and believe that “I see you again”.

Posted in Death, Life, Loss

Part of me died when you left

At one time or another you’ve probably heard someone say that when a person you love dies, a part of you dies too.

I always knew this to be true, and each time when someone close to me left this world, a part of me left as well. At first I used to think that was just a beautiful figure of speech, a touching poetic image that spoke symbolically to the depth of our profound sadness and loss.

That was until last week—when I died all over again.

My father passed away suddenly more than 45 years ago, and I have been no stranger on this painful road I’ve traveled since then.

Last week I’ve lost my mother and again I find myself back at this winding road that meanders through The Valley of loss, the sticky swamp of emotions, and beautiful mountain top sunrises that fill me with incredible gratitude and love. It’s a roller coaster of emotions that climbs to beautiful heights, only to plummet to the deepest of depths shortly after. Over the years I have mainly grieved naturally, allowing my feelings to come and go and it’s a healing process for me to not try and control these moments.

Recently though, I came face to face with the me who also left for good, on the day each of my parents did.

Over the course of 55 years, there are many profound memories shared, although we lived so far apart from each other once I moved to the States. I remember special moments shared with dad only where it was just the two of us. The same thing goes for Mom, as I had much more time with her vs my Dad. As you do when you lose someone you love, I often find myself randomly rewinding to those places and times in the past, to remind myself of the love and adventures and the laughter we shared.

One of those cherished memories was playing cowboys and Indians with Mom and recalling funny stories and memories with Dad.

In the beginning it was an incredible struggle for her to talk about these moments because they were associated with her pain and the loss of her husband. Eventually those moments became easier and it was something special we shared, that could always be used to cheer her up.

These moments became priceless to me. Laughing about Dad answering the phone, announcing that nobody was at home and that he was asleep…silly, but that was just the point. To be silly and not take life too seriously.

Between all of that, and Mom gone too now, I find myself with her memory and the moments about her, that rest with me. They were precious times.

There are lots of other things that happened during those years. There are more stories, more conversations, more meals, more funny anecdotes—but I no longer have access to them. 

That’s what people never tell you, about the real, fundamental, life-giving stuff you lose when someone you love leaves.

You lose the part of you that only they knew.

You lose some of your story.

It simply dies.

Mom and Dad were the only ones there with me during those special moments and now that they are gone there’s no one to go to to help me relive or revisit or remember them when I want to. There’s no one to help fill in the gaps of my memories, no one to give me the pieces of life that belonged only to the three of us—and I hate that.

Any part of those days that exists outside of my memory is now dead and buried.

If you haven’t walked the Grief Valley yet, just trust me on this.

One day you will miss someone dearly and when that cold reality hits you; the truth of just how much of you is gone too, you’ll grieve the loss of yourself as well, even as you live.

One of the great things about having people who love you and who’ve lived alongside of you for a long time is how they can surprise you, how when you’re with them they can dig out a story or unveil something about you that you had totally forgotten about or had never known at all. Mom would do that all the time, matter-of-factly tossing off a random memory that allowed me to see myself through her eyes. It was like having a small lost part of you suddenly and unexpectedly returned to you.

As much as I miss them both, I miss the me that they knew, too. I grieve the loss of our shared story.

I mourn losing the childhood me who napped in their bed, and all the special memories we have shared. I miss the silly stories and even the struggles we have faced. We had a few tough ones. I miss the laughs and moments of closeness that only a child and parents can feel.

Just as sure as they aren’t coming back, neither are those parts of my story because my parents were co-owners.

Friends, as you grieve for those who are gone, know that it’s normal to also lament the part of you that they’ve taken with them.

While those experiences form you and reside deep in the fabric of your very heart, in ways that certainly transcend your memories, the painful gaps will still be there in what you lose without their eyewitness testimony.

Those aren’t just flowery words meant to simply paint a picture of grief, they’re a vivid description of real, personal loss.

A part of you does indeed die when someone you love passes away.

May they, and the unique part of you they’ve taken with them, both rest in peace.

 

Posted in Inspiration

Uniquely…ourselves

I have written a lot of sad things lately and the darkness of it has matched the rainy, grey days here. There is still much sadness to content with, and it will be like this for some time to come. I am sure more posts will follow that document and share this grieving process of coming to terms, and all the things that need to be taken care of now.

The weather is to improve over the next couple of days and the sun is said to make an appearance. I miss the sun and I am looking forward to feel her warmth on my face. I want to take the opportunity and with it I am trying to lift my moods and set aside the sorrows the best I can. Plenty of other times are still ahead.

I ran across the above picture and it spoke to me. I have always believed in this message, and I think I did a decent job in following being myself, but still there is a different meaning for me this time around. I’m not quite sure but it is a message that needs to be heard as my life changes in big ways. I’ve got a heads up this summer with all the snake sightings I believe. Maybe it is a reminder to stay uniquely myself throughout this change, to not lose sight of who I am. Perhaps the meaning is yet to be revealed, but the message relates to us all and may we always stay uniquely ourselves.

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

Messages from heaven

They say when feathers appear, the angels are near.

There was an unusual amount of feathers that crossed my path the week of Moms passing. After the bad news came of Mom not doing well at all, it was for the first time that I felt as if her soul was ready to leave. Later in the week was when all the feathers appeared and still I didn’t want to believe this to be the truth, but I knew. Mom died that weekend and I still feel as if I’m stuck in a horrible nightmare. Years and years later I am walking in her shoes, doing for her what she had to do for my father as he passed. The pain is tremendous, and what a strong woman she was. How much she had to endure in her life. I know that we share this in common and I am following her footsteps, equally enduring and equally as strong. But is it ever hard.

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

A time for everything

I’ve been walking more since I got to Germany vs. the states, despite my regular two hiking days. Here it has become a cumulative, weekly effort, so far at least since it’s only my first week, but it’s good for me to be on the move.

There is so much to be done right now. Mom wanted to be cremated and the urn should come back sometime this week. There is a meeting with the pastor this Thursday who will facilitate the service and where we will discuss how things will go besides the urn being added to Dads grave. I have decided that it needs to me carrying the urn from the church to the final resting place. This is the final walk we will need to take together and I feel it in my heart that it has to be so.

Flowers need to be ordered for the grave which I was able to do already. An obituary needs to be placed into the paper and has been delivered, to be published next Tuesday. Songs have been selected for the church service and I have written Moms eulogy to give to the pastor on Thursday. I don’t know how much of it he will use and I realize that I wrote this more for myself because it is so much more then just some facts and dates about her life. It’s a life as seen through the eyes of a beloved daughter, filled with love and gratitude. It was hard to write for such a sad occasion, especially since I wanted it to be on the light hearted side. Mom endured so much pain and sorrow in her life and one of my favorite things was to make her smile. And while this is definitely not a time to smile, she would want us to remember her in our own memory and the way she was to each and every one of us. I will always see her with that beautiful smile.

There is so much to do that little time remains for grief. Yes there a moments here and there but mainly it’s being pushed away because of things that need to be powered through. Just as all these above mentioned things got completed, I thought to myself that some more tasks were accomplished, but that the hardest day, the actual day of her funeral was still ahead. Right now I feel calm and writing her eulogy actually brought a sense of peace, perhaps closure. As for the moment I want to think about “that day” as a day to celebrate her life and I will try my hardest to do so and honor the woman, my mother I loved so much. There are plenty of other times for sadness, and it might turn out completely different, but for now and as long as I can hold onto it, I will allow myself to be filled with so much more then just grief and heartache. ❤️

Posted in Life, Mom

A broken promise

Just before I went to Moms house last Friday, I stopped to visit a little favorite when in Germany “The bread house”. It’s a wonderful place for fresh bread and pastries, as well as breakfast, many blends of specialty coffees, and other delicacies. Have I mentioned that the food in Germany is dangerous and highly delicious and addictive?

Well… I went, but I didn’t think it through all that much. Driving along on the road, I soon found myself looking at the trees and the changing leaves. I noticed the paved, pedestrian/bicycle path right next to the road and my heart got heavy. Immediately the memories caught up, and I thought back to last year when I pushed Mom in the wheelchair on that very path. I had decided to take her out of the nursing home and onto a little trip to “The breadhouse”. It took quite a bit of effort to push her that far, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat because precious memories were made. I remember taking Moms picture amongst the piles of leaves, and despite of sitting in a wheelchair, I don’t think she could have looked happier.

Tears were choking my throat shut, but I continued on. I ordered my coffee and went to sit down. It wasn’t obvious immediately, but soon I realized that I had picked a table very close to where I sat with Mom the year before. Again tears were choking me as I fought them back once more. I felt so sad and empty inside, wanting to curl up in a corner like a little child calling for her Mom.

Mom was everywhere and yet she was nowhere. I don’t think one could ever understand that pain unless they have experienced it for themselves. Compassion and empathy brings a certain level of understanding, but actually losing a loved one, comes with a whole new level of hey and pain.

As if it wasn’t enough already a song came on that I always associated with Mom and getting her out of the nursing home. I’d insert the link but the limited WiFi won’t let me. The song is called “Sign of the times” by Harry Styles in case you want to check it out. The lyrics hit home more than ever.

Just stop your crying it’s a sign of the times, welcome to the final show, hope you’re wearing your best clothes. You can’t bribe the door on your way to the sky, you look pretty good down here, but you’re not really good.

Just stop your crying, it’s alright. They told me that the end is near, we gotta get away from here.

In the end she couldn’t get away…not alone and not without me. Having lost Mom is getting harder instead of easier, and the very things I didn’t want to happen are unfolding more and more. I spent ten month with her last year and everyone has said that I did more then most would have done or were able to do. I didn’t want to have regrets, I didn’t want to leave a stone unturned, I didn’t want to look back, saying I should have, or I wished I did. One could think I did it for my own conscience from the sounds of it. Did I do it for those reasons and made it something about myself while it never was about that? It was about a person needing help, a person crying out, a person unable to help herself, a person dying without a hand extended to them. It was about Mom and should have never been about something else. Why do I hold myself responsible? Because I was the only one that could save her…just like last year. I know her time would have come either way, like all our time comes, but not yet, and I still don’t believe that the was her time. It was her time because she gave up hope, she lost sight of that I would ever make it back and take her out for that home. I had promised her that I would try my best to make this happen. I didn’t know how and couldn’t find a way. For the first time ever, I did not deliver and broke a promise.

This post was prescheduled and it was a tough day. I had to get back in to add that I am doing the best I can. Some days are harder than others. Some days I see the light, others I don’t. There is much to do right now and as I wrote this post I was hurting a lot. Tomorrow is a new day yet again.

Posted in Life, Mom, My story

An old friend

I stopped at the house (Moms house) for the first time on Friday. It was very emotional and very different this time. Things are no longer the same. Despite she wasn’t at the house either as I spent ten month in Germany last year, Mom was still in this world, alive, and perhaps it was hope that kept us both going. A thought of hope that she might return to her beloved place, her home once more. But that day would never come.

I barely made it to the front door as an old friend greeted me. Remember Bember the cat? She was all cuddles and purrs, it was nice to see her, but right away I could feel myself well up. This cat was one of a Moms last friends, keeping her company in the lonely house. I’m not sure if she ever felt lonely here, she must have, but she loved this house and it’s where her memories with Dad are. I took some comfort feeding Bember and knowing that I was on the heel of the things Mom used to do.

It was overwhelming to come into the house, knowing Mom would never see it again. Everything was so final and I sat for awhile looking at both my parents pictures on the wall, pleading “Now what” under tears. The house feels so much different, and it appears to me just like it must have to Mom as Dad passed. I now feel the same about her passing and there is a different level of understanding. I learn anew that things become memories, painful and heartbreaking. I can see why she never wanted to change anything in the house for it would have disturbed those memories.

This is very hard and I know things will find their way. Eventually…but not for a long time.