Life following loss…
By Terre Mirsch
Grieving a significant loss takes time, and each of us has our own unique way of expressing and responding to the loss. Unfortunately, American culture does little to acknowledge these differences. Instead, too often, there is pressure to return to work, to ‘get on with our lives’, to establish new routines, or to form new relationships. This pressure frequently comes from well meaning friends and family members who want to ‘fix’ and heal the hurt. My colleague, Leanne, has written several posts about the grieving process. I encourage you, if you have not already, to read her insights and tips for ways that family and friends can help.
After three years of caregiving, Beth, one of our Caring with Confidence followers, experienced the loss of her 91 year old mother while she was receiving hospice care, on July 28, 2012. Beth’s generosity and willingness to share the challenges and joys of caregiving continues during her journey with loss and grief. Yesterday, Beth wrote about her initial experiences with the grief process. Her writing was so eloquent and her spirit so genuine, I requested permission to repost her blog, Dreams Before I Wake, on our site. I am grateful that she granted us permission.
Dreams Before I Wake
“For weeks, mom and I have traveled together in the timelessness of the great and loving mystery. At the apex of our paths divergence, when her spirit ascended, I smelled the distinctly clean aroma of cedar oil which she had been anointed with thirty hours before.
In the week since her passing amidst the comforting silence of the night sky, the rough stones of our sacred journey continue to tumble themselves into brilliant polished gems.
Now, I am expected to move back into a world of everyday realities that have temporarily lost their significance. Everyday sounds are jarring, and movement occurs more quickly than I seem able to handle. Exhaustion comes in waves so powerful, that during some conversations it is difficult to tell if I am dreaming or awake. This is the aftermath of my mother’s death.
All around me energy swirls as life for others continues as it should. People say they understand. I don’t see how that could be true. If it was, I would be allowed to catch my breath. I would have permission for a few days or weeks to savor the fullness of other worldly experiences before moving fully back into the mundane.
Well-intentioned relatives and friends talk to me about potential decisions well beyond my capacity to consider. Give me a little credit. I know. I need to establish an income stream. Yes, I understand the necessity for tasks to be completed and issues resolved. Haven’t I proven I am responsible? Do not doubt me now.
Please, just give me a moment before I return to earth. I promise NOT to get stuck here. My body needs to release the burdens it has carried, my mind an opportunity to grasp the loss that has been sustained, my emotions to settle back into an adrenaline free state, and my spirit allowed to come home. I need time, to remember fun, friendship, and what is good in life.
The heart needs a reason to continue. Allow me to consider what mine, next may be.
I float on the stillness of sacred waters, softening the tough outer husks of seeds that have been waiting in my pockets for three years, and four months less three days. If even half of them sprout, a few take root, and only a couple of them blossom, I assure you my days will be filled with far more than I can now possibly imagine handling.
For all this time, those seeds have been kept safe and protected within my heart. Every now and then they were brought out, cherished, and considered before returning to their dormant state. Now, with conversations and new lessons from mom, ideas shared with friends new and old, and the blessings of love received from family …. well, you do the math. I may not be ‘fine’ in this moment, but I assure you I will be.
All that and more.
In the belief of all that is possible. Blessedbe. Beth”
Thank you, Beth, for sharing your insights and intimate feelings. You were able to put into words what so many struggle to articulate. Whether grieving the loss of a loved one, or wanting to support someone who is, I hope that your words will provide comfort and guidance.
I encourage others to share their experiences with loss and grief. Please share your story, feelings, or concerns. What was most helpful to you during this difficult time? And what was least helpful to you?