This anguish has overcome me by surprise. I was proactive last year during the anniversary of the week coming up to Clo’s death. I spent that week in the loving and familiar arms of my dear cousin Gail and her partner Linda in Traverse City. I made plans for the month of July this year so I numbly believed coming up to the anniversary of Clo’s death, June 15, year number 2, would be much easier than has turned out to be the case.
At best I am breathing, eating, sleeping and walking Aimee. At worst I am functionally blinded and crippled. My body seems to remember every minute of that last week with Clo and my family as we loving held on to her and to each moment we had together. In my mind it is fading and mostly I remember: hospital beds, nurses, friends, family, feeling stretched emotionally and physically to my limits. The days are a blur and it all melts into one long period of holiness and surreal attempts to put one foot in front of the other. I remember praying there is a God and that will mean peace and relief is coming for all of us. I remember being so frightened that I wouldn’t know how to do what I must be sure to do: love tenderly and let go.
When I am in this kind of extremism I have a very difficult time focusing and do not function well. That means that my almost total focus is on taking away the pain. I want to hide, or run away, or learn to pretend life is good and easy and peaceful and filled with beauty and hope. I remind myself that all of those things are always true even in the midst of sorrow, but I have to intentionally search hard to feel the truth of a world where I can trust I am safe and believe I have a place that belongs to me and I can live in that place with comfort and pride. I forget to have pride. I forget my patience and tenacity, my valiant presence and tender caring, as Clo let go, moved inward, and in the end left me.
I feel left. I have long believed that Clo chose me and I think she also chose my family, as a safe and loving place for her to live her last years, months, days, moments. We held her in high regard and followed her 2 year process as she wrapped up her 57 years and gently drifted into sleep. I sometimes cannot wrap my mind around the truth that she is no longer here beside me. My better memory is to appreciate that she chose me for her final journey. I feel honored and blessed by that choice.
I hope most people are consciously or unconsciously able to pick the people who hold their hand and help guide them as they leave our world. I hope loved ones are waiting to receive us as we pass over the veil. My theme is feeling safe and feeling loved. I can barely tolerate thinking/knowing there are zillions of people on our planet who do not know loving connection to others and who are frightened all of the time. My soul would wither quickly
I have been reaching out and have received love, connection, understanding. No one can do the grieving for me. Each year I heal and grow and am sad in a new way. It is not the same as 2 years ago. Not less intense, just not the same. For one thing, I think I am facing it head on better. I am not trying to hide from myself that I am feeling bereft. I am feeling the emotions and not putting them into my body as I certainly have been known to do very traumatically.
It has been a rainy week. The angels are watering Clo’s garden with their tears for me as they share their love. I am liking the cocooning I can do when it is stormy outside. I genuinely cried this morning. I seldom do that. I am learning that each year brings its own way of guiding me in this journey of life. Right now, after writing this and sharing with you, I am calm and hopeful. I am sure I will continue to be surprised at each new or similar way I respond to life without Clo beside me. Right now, because I feel you listening and know you realize that I also understand your process as you grieve for the losses in your life, I feel able to move further into my day.
Love yourself and trust you are always being the best person you know how to be at that very moment. Have compassion and give yourself time and space to learn. Forgive. Forgive and move forward. And never, never, never, lose track of the healing power of giving love and of receiving love.