Grief: Needing to recreate meaning when our understanding of life’s meaning is smashed.
It is the longing to touch back into what is gone. It’s feeling confused and empty, needing to re-orient to our lives now characterized by the loss. Grief calls for and requires a permanent place in our lives as everything is impermanent and we will ultimately lose it all.
Around Mother’s Day, a number of clients talked about their moms’ passing and the bittersweet season of appreciating and missing their mom.
It reminded me of my Mom…
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I started a five year process of grief: The anguish of knowing her suffering and the anticipation of losing her. I did not begin to heal from this grief until her death bed. In the days leading up to her passing, I had the honour of being by her side.
Watching and hearing the fear, wonder, and vulnerability of dying.
It was such a transformative experience for me because I had the privilege of taking care of her the way I had always longed to be cared for by her. It was like our last swan song. I got to see behind the curtain of her pride and she got to see my open heart. At one point she asked me if I was her mom.
At first I explained that she was my mom.
But after awhile I realized that I was indeed “momming” her into the light. The best part was really for me.
I was able to forgive myself and forgive my mom.
Forgive us both for misunderstanding ourselves and each other.
For wasting time on things that don’t matter.
For not seeing into the vast, sweet reservoir of spirit that we both are.
Through death I learned a lot of things about how I want to live life.
But most of all, her death set me free in a mysterious way to finally really fly in my life. I had nothing more to prove and so could just be me.
Grief requires a witness to be processed. Grief becomes disenfranchised when it is invisible or discounted by others. Pema Chodron invites us to courageously move gently towards what scares us – pain and darkness.
Grief also requires compassion: the active willingness and understanding to move towards what is scary. That our courage and compassion moves us towards our collective humanness of which grief is an integral part.
Are you aware of the Passing Moments?
It is in the passing moments that we find the nuances and depths of humanity and life happening. There is gratitude for the experience but enduring sadness for the fleeting nature of it.
Kathlyn McHugh RCC, RSW Counselling Practice takes place at the Vitality Clinic in the West Shore Area, close to Victoria BC.
Visit the website at: Home – The Vitality Clinic