Yesterday was the church service for my aunt who recently passed away. It’s hard to believe that I just saw her last Saturday, and although she wasn’t well then, in reality she had been sick and bed ridden for years. Nobody saw that this would be the end. She was suppose to be released from the hospital on Monday, but that day turned out completely different. I even sent a message that day hoping that the transport and everything went well. Tuesday I got a response that she had fallen asleep forever.
Sitting in church and although different, much was so familiar and alike it was with Mom. Here I was again and everything resurfaced. Both, Mom and my aunt were close to the same age, both with the exact same illness. It was almost eerie how similar everything was as the same trauma unfolded itself all over in another person. It was almost as if I was given a change to be here for her while I didn’t make it in time for Mom before she passed. It was as if I was given this scenario, to experience it from that angle and to know that I would have equally felt as helpless being here or not. Perhaps it was to let go of that guilt, of those haunting feelings.
Just a short time ago, I stood here myself, putting Mom to rest. Still affected, being a part of the family, but with a little more distance, I stood at the sidelines while we were singing some of the same songs from Moms service. Everything was so strangely familiar, as I felt every emotion, every moment on a complete new and more intense level. I saw everyone, immediate and extended family sit together afterwards for coffee, talking about everything and anything, almost as if nothing had happened. It was almost as if life immediately resumed and the sadness ended with the church service. Just the immediate family, her husband (my uncle) and her sons still carried a grief about themselves that begged to get this over with and to return to silence in the hope to find some peace and relief. I found it challenging for myself and I was glad that I had opted out of meeting after the funeral. It was obvious how hard it was to just carry on, to be good company, to pick up with the motto “life goes on,” and move forward so quickly. I could see my uncle and cousins in The Valley of loss, pushing grief and pain aside for a better time to deal with, because now, on front of everyone wasn’t the time to do so. They performed and this was something that had to be done, something they had to get through. I didn’t want to do that to myself as I had opted out of the get together afterwards.
The Valley of loss… how often had I been there myself, during times of pain and loss. Walking trough that valley, running from it, afraid of that horrible place of pain. A place that’s dark and gray, a place full of despair where no one can hold your hand and help you trough. This is a place you walk through alone, naked and vulnerable, and only after running from it several times, did I finally find the courage to stay and embrace this place with all it’s pain. I wasn’t hiding any longer, I no longer turned my face not wanting to see, I was no longer afraid and I just faced it without resistance, no longer fighting back, allowing it to break me open, and wide open… it did. Maybe fear and all that was still a part of me, but none of that mattered anymore and there was something that was greater than that fear.
In return it allowed me to feel at an elevated level, to see even more the delicate balance that is life. I saw the value of the “Two wolves”, and understood the meaning that everything positive and negative has a place in our life. That we wouldn’t experience joy if we never experienced sorrow. That we never enjoy the warmth’s of the sun on our face of we hadn’t felt the cold of the darkness. I learned about opposites and that one is not better then the other, that each carries positives, we just need to see. I learned more in-depth about my life’s lessons I thought I had long learned already. I found them integrated at yet another level and with even more powerful meaning. I have no idea if more levels of the same lessons will follow, if I need to experience anew that it is pain that molds us into who we were meant to be, but one thing is for certain. I no longer have to run from The Valley of loss and I have learned to embrace it in all its complexity, heartache and pain. I can’t say that I’d look forward to see it again, but I know I will, eventually and that’s not the point. I know that I can and that I can take away the lessons that devastating landscape has to offer. And with that….yes….life does and will go on.