“The wound is the place where the light enters you”~Rumi
Death is one of life’s inevitabilities. As difficult as it may be to admit, death is necessary to maintain equilibrium among living things. If dying didn’t occur we wouldn’t appreciate the beauty of living. Because it’s a form of separation that hurts so deeply, we fear death, spending time and money trying to beat it, yet no one has ever gotten out alive. If we’re honest with ourselves it’s not death that terrifies us, it’s the result of it. The loss is what shakes us to the core of our humanness. When a loved one dislodges from their earthly form and steps back into the spirit realm, the silencing of their voice and the physical disconnection from them is what causes us to grieve. If I told you that there’s a way to maintain a connection with loved ones who have passed on and live a life that’s not controlled by crippling grief, would you believe me? If not, I understand, it has taken me three years to understand that I have a choice in how I remember and even connect with my deceased loved ones. I can choose to be comforted by memories of the life that they lived or I can be haunted by the their death.
Recently, my sister’s birthday passed, the third since her sudden depart from life on this side. If you’ve read previous posts about my sister, you know that her death broke me. We didn’t get a warning, illness wasn’t lurking in the shadows waiting for the chance to drag her to death. I was talking to her one minute and she was gone the next, LITERALLY! In a moment, I went from laughing with her on the phone to a paramedic telling me that she had quietly slipped away, she was such an introvert, DAMMIT! I lost life as I knew it and my sister, simultaneously. The days following were traumatic, confusing, painful, and the darkest of dark, I am still amazed that I survived. There are a few things that contributed to my survival, the most fundamental being the realization that I could choose life or death for myself and my sister, Thanks Coach.
The reason that death becomes the focal point of a person’s entire existence and seems to overshadow the life they lived boils down to how we decide to remember them. Because my sister’s passing was traumatically shocking, for the longest time, I couldn’t move past the fact that she died. I was so overcome with grief, sinking into a place where her death was becoming my only recollection. A single event was taking precedence over a lifetime of memory-making moments. Dying is just an occurrence that takes place on a journey of a lifetime, I won’t let it be the most important thing that I remember about Lavon, she is worthy of better and so am I. There are days when I miss Von so much that I can feel it in my physical being. My bones ache and my skin stings because the mourning is so tangible. In those times I know that the depth of my grieving is representative of the bond and love that my sister and I shared. When the tears of longing for her fall, I allow them to lead me to my most comforting memories and in them I find solace.
Grieving is normal and necessary for healing. It is love’s cry of gratitude for being allowed to share time and space with another. This year to celebrate my sister’s life, legacy, and as a healing ritual for myself, I released her ashes into earth’s elements and potted a plant. With the love, support, and guidance of my Life Coach, I tearfully uncovered the remnants of her physical essence to begin returning to her to creation. When I opened the bag that contained her human remains, my emotions bubbled over, fear grabbed me. As I poured her ashes, I felt the softness and fragility of them, I held the essence that once housed my sister’s life force, it hurt and humbled me. All of the pain of her demise came flooding back and my soul regurgitated its sorrows. It felt as though everything around me stopped moving, the silence was almost paralyzing but Coach’s soothing voice and comforting words keep me going. I felt the anger, loneliness, abandonment, guilt, and devastation with an intensity that was alarmingly new. I felt a loss of control but I was never in control, let’s be honest. There are bits and pieces of the experience that I don’t remember, maybe that’s best. Ultimately, I released us both and arrived at a healing space where I’m able to let go. Because my connection to my sister transcends what’s left of her physically, I no longer need to obsessively cling to her ashes. I don’t want you to get a romanticized idea of my experience, it was extremely hard to do yet the type of grief that I felt became different. As I put the dirt on top of her, talking to her as Coach talked to me, the darkness and hopelessness lifted and light began to emerge, slowly. Spiritually, I know that life is continuous, death isn’t the end, it’s a transitional return to God. As I completely covered her ashes, with tears wetting my cheeks, freeing me of the grief that I’d held in an uncomfortable familiarity, clinging to an unrealistic sense of connection, I vowed to move forward honoring the life she lived by not memorializing the day that she died.
Healing is Happening.