“The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed”. -Krishnamurti
My 88 year old aunt suffered a massive stroke this past Thursday. It happened during the morning and by the time her caregiver arrived, she had been unconscious for an hour. The family received heartbreaking news nothing could be done to save her. They removed the saline drip Saturday and slowly, her organs are beginning to shut down. Pending death has had different effects on members of my extended family.Some commented she looked “better” one morning vs. another, others from her church came and prayed with her for a full recovery.
Many searched in their hearts to say something comforting and well meaning and at the same time. “It’s God’s will” “Be glad he/she didn’t suffer” floated around. Stories were shared around the hospital bed about her in 3rd person, as if she was not there. Some spoke loudly, slowly at her because she was in a coma meant she could not hear (hearing is actually the last sense to go in a person transitioning).
Each night, three generations, spanning 3 continents met up at a Chinese restaurant for dinner. There were some big elephants in the room.
I thanked the universe for where I was at this moment, to be able to be compassionately aware of all of it around me, and allow it all to float back to nothingness from which it came.
Today, I don’t want to bore you with yet another list of what to say or not say.
There are plenty of those.
Since we all grieve differently, I am not here with another list of how to mourn either.
I want to instead, inspire you to think about death today.
It is my hope, in reading this, it will inspire you to live more in each moment more mindfully today, tomorrow, and maybe the day after that, and so on.
What would looking in death’s door inspire you to do?
Open your heart more widely?
Love more generously?
Take more risks?
Would death inspire you to be
more generous with words?
Not withhold love when you are mad at a loved one?
At the same time, if you desire someone, something,
Not hold back on the love you have to give?
But give freely, with abandonment?
Make love as it if were the last time?
What would you say?
This is what I would tell you.
You are amazing. You are strong. You are brave.
Your strength of heart inspires me.
How would death inspire you to touch someone’s heart without words?
If I were with you, I would
Gaze into your eyes, into the windows of your soul
Validate and remind you the bright light that you are
And if you give me permission for an embrace,
I would linger longer than usual, giving you a big big squeeze.
Witnessing suffering and pain has cracked me wide open.
I’ve cried everyday since Saturday.
Past losses percolating up for healing.
It’s natural, my dad is 87, and our relationship has its own bumps.
At moments, it feels like there is nothing left to be said, and yet, so much left unsaid.
I feel raw, vulnerable, but strangely in a very good way.
This past week has inspired me to be more true to myself.
Being fully present with all of my emotions.
I was inspired to pull out Steven Levine’s book “A Year To Live” again and re-read.
This is the most amazing book as he teaches us how to live in each moment, each hour, each day, mindfully, as it it were that were left.
I would highly recommend it if it resonates!
Are there any elephants in your closet?
What would your world look like if you did not wait for grief to be a catalyst for great change? Would you show up differently in the world?
In a few days, it will be Valentine’s day. Perhaps this upcoming holiday can have another purpose beside celebrating everlasting love.
Perhaps it can also be a time to reflect on healing any unresolved grief lurking in the background, so that you can love more fully, freely.
I’d love to hear from you below if grief has been a catalyst of great change you in the past, and what tools are in your toolbox to heal.
ps- As I was about the hit publish, I received a text she made her transition peacefully this morning at 4:30am. Love and light to you Aunt Rita.