Posts Tagged ‘Grief’

When Grieving – Become the Observer

Monday, February 27th, 2017

On December 17, 2010 my son Mike ended his life on this planet. died. Yes, he died of suicide. And so began my journey. Walking the path of grief into healing.

Now this walk is not one that any of us have chosen. Many were hurled here without warning, those that did have warning were often overwhelmed before this all began. This sort of loss is complicated, traumatic. It’s sometimes hard to keep our focus and find our direction. Natural and normal human reactions.

When things are the most muddied and confusing, I find it can be tremendously helpful to step back. Sometimes quite literally! Remove myself from the thoughts, feelings, conversations, behaviors of myself and others. Become The Observer.

Imagine what the current situation (whatever it is) might look, sound and feel like to someone who knows nothing about what is happening. Perhaps someone from far, far away. With no history that connects to any of us, what would they see? Most of the time when I do this, I can easily imagine The Observer being aware people who are in great distress. Doing the best they know how to do.

The one who is telling others what they should be feeling, or perhaps tells others that they don’t care? The Observer may become aware that this person is feeling confused about how to express their own fears about those who are also grieving. They may be judging their own behavior of the past very harshly.

The one who… fill in the blank. We don’t know what we don’t know. It’s as simple as that. We imagine that we know and understand what is happening within ourselves and everyone else as well, but the truth is that we can’t know all of these things, at least not as humans. It becomes easier for us once we recognize that reality.

The one who never sheds a tear? That some have decided is cold and unfeeling? Perhaps The Observer is able to see that this person is in such deep pain that they might fall apart if they let the tears begin…

Let your own tears fall. They are cleansing, healing. It’s okay. When the accusations come, let them go on by, remind yourself how much you always loved this person and always will. Feel the love. In the end, the love is all that matters.

The rest will heal. In time and with work, oh boy is it work. But it is work that is so worth it because you see as we continue to do the grief work, we heal and that helps us to feel that ongoing love more fully. To embrace gentle memories. To remember smiles, hands holding ours. The life we will always cherish and celebrate.

This exercise allows us to see or at least consider seeing things from the point of view of others. There have been more times than I can count that people I know love me, said awful things. They didn’t say those things to hurt me, they were expressing themselves as best they could in that moment, from their own vantage point.

Step back. Take a deep breath. Let some of the anxiety go. Of course, it’s easier said than done, it gets easier with practice. Once we are able to take that step back, and hold open the possibility that even those who are hurting us are really doing the best they can in this moment, we experience much less stress. In its place, a feeling of compassion for ourselves and others can emerge. You might be surprised how much easier stepping back gets with practice and more importantly and how your perspective enlarges.

Namaste,
Sandy

How Connection Heals

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

LegacyConnect members sum up what they do as follows: “grief support groups & expert advice on coping with loss, writing condolences, attending funerals, mourning death and celebrating life.” A sense of community and connection with others is perhaps the most important tool for healing that survivors can find. Getting advice from experts in related fields is something we all long for from the very beginning, but becoming a part of a community in which we can interact and share both pain and healing is something that is priceless, especially to “celebrating life.”

Celebrating life, whether I realized it or not, was something I did naturally, even at the beginning of my mourning for my husband. Reaching out to connect with others was another instinctive healing urge that guided me back toward life and hope. I had always heard this was possible, but I also realized – in 2007 – that I had never encountered this kind of darkness before.

If you think about it, we all learn from others. We start at the beginning of life, and this is one task that never ends. Learning and sharing are as old as mankind, yet we have not learned everything yet. Some things cannot be passed by information alone. Some things have to be experienced. I believe that each person who enters this world leaves a special and unique message that no one else can deliver. I think each person who loses a dearly loved child, partner, sibling, other family member or friend can provide comfort to others that is uniquely his or her own. In this way we are all adding to the body of knowledge in the universe.

It may be that when we have completed our time on earth – no matter at what age that time comes – we are ready to move forward. Our message has been delivered; our impact on the world has been made. For people who love us, there is never a good time to lose us. I cannot ask for more time with my husband in exchange for a date when I must let him go – again. That is something I cannot give. I would never willingly let him go.

Or would I? We two used to talk about things like that in deep conversations that ran long into the night. I suppose everyone has that kind of conversation at some point. How do we want to face the end of life? What are the best decisions regarding the care of our children? Should the one who is left remarry? Are there certain people we should consult for advice if the unthinkable happens?

We had it all planned…except that nothing happened the way we thought it would. Personally, I was sure we would take our lasts breaths together in our sleep one night, passing from one peaceful existence to another wrapped in the arms of each other. We would be well into our ninety’s, and our children would say, “This is how they would have wanted to go because they loved each other so. This is the way is was supposed to be.”

I did not plan for my daughter to walk alone toward her handsome bridegroom. I did not realize my husband’s recounting of his dream in which I wore a yellow dress would be his last. I did not think of holding his grandson in my arms for the first time without his arms around me.

Yet, I celebrate his life every day. I understand the path he took had more to do with saving me than saving him. I look forward to holding that child, who will be so much a part of him. My husband was so much more than the way he died.

When my daughter smiles or my grandson laughs, when I see in a beautiful spring day all the echos of days my husband and I shared that were good, I know I can never return to those innocent days in which I could just read about loss without knowing something else deep in my heart. But I also know, I will share the joy he brought to my life and the way he made the world around him better.

I will tell the stories he used to tell and share stories about the things he did and said. I will sit in a sandbox or push a swing and pass the love he gave me on to someone else who, in turn, will one day talk about the grandfather he never met as if he knew him.

Note: For more information about LegacyConnect, visit www.connect.legacy.com.

Jan McDaniel
www.lostandfoundrebuilding.weebly.com

Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors:
Forum Moderator
Stewards Program Manager

Blog columnist
http://www.allianceofhope.org/blog_/jan-mcdaniel/

Empathy, Compassion, Support

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Empathy – the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.

Compassion – sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. 

Thank goodness for those who surround us with compassion! It’s so helpful to know that there are those who care about us who are not empathetic; they don’t personally know our pain, but care about us deeply. That’s compassion.

Support – to hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking or slipping.

Ahhh, perhaps the key is to interact with others who are able to provide empathy or/and compassion combined with support.

Traveling the journey of grief into healing is not something easily done alone. When someone offers us empathy, it makes a huge difference. Having the experience of someone looking us in the eye and saying ‘Yes, I get it. I truly know what you are going through.’ Offers comfort as it relieves a bit of pressure. The sufferer understands that they are not alone; others have felt this pain as well. Validating the thoughts and feelings, allowing the sufferer to be witnessed, to be heard.

When it turns out that the person cares about our feelings, we experience the healing of compassion. Our pain matters, someone cares enough to reach out and let us know that they are here for us.

Support. Hearing that others have been through similar pain is not enough. Knowing that others care about our pain is not enough. Combined with support. The open arms offering warm hugs. The card that reminds us we are not forgotten. The written, spoken or silently communicated message that ‘I care’ means so much that there is no way to express it adequately.

Not everyone will offer empathy. Thank goodness, not everyone has suffered the same pain. Not everyone is wired to offer compassion. Some simply are not able to broaden their mind and heart to want to alleviate pain. However, nearly everyone is willing and able to offer support.

Perhaps we would benefit from learning how to ask for the support that we want and need. No doubt, it is a very difficult thing for some to ask, while asking comes as easily as breathing for others.  When we are in pain, if we already have difficulty asking for support it becomes even more cumbersome, perhaps overwhelming. At that time, when it is most needed, those people may well not have the support that they truly need.

Each and everyone one of us has experienced pain in our lives. If we are able to remember how it feels to feel alone, even abandoned it may well prompt us to be sure that no one else ever feels alone. On the other hand, if we have experienced strong, loving support; I hope that encourages us to share that support with those that we care about.

Everyone deserves empathy, compassion and support. It changes the way we feel when we are in pain, reminding us that we are not alone. Likewise, these feelings change our experience when we are able to reach out to someone who is hurting. Well worth considering.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

Expressing Thoughts and Feelings – Not a Competition

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

It happens quite often. Someone will be telling about a loss, a worry or fear and another will say something like ‘at least you are not going through what I am’. Pretty effectively causing the first person to feel that they have no right to feel what they do or to express that feeling. To which I respond, ‘ugh!!!!’

If feelings and emotions are not good or bad, and for the record I agree with that notion, then why is it so often than the one-up game is played? I suspect that there are various reasons why this happens, and since I’m in the mood to share I’ll do so.

Fear of being left out. Ohhhh, that feels like it a hit on the nail head. After all, if you tell me that your child-hood pet has died. This pet is the one who comforted you while you went through a tornado,  stayed by your side through illness and licked your face when your friends ignored you; I might feel that I simply have no business sharing the fact that I’m feeling really sad for no discernible reason at all. Would it be possible that I need to share what I feel but that since I don’t think my feelings measure up to yours that I can’t do it? That might make me feel left out. Is there an alternative?

How about the thought that if I’m not in more pain, sadder, angrier, more helpless or alternately if I’m not experiencing more joy, happiness, absolute bliss that I’m moving through some situation wrong? In other words, if I measure my feelings, thoughts and emotions against yours and mine are not as big, then perhaps I’m not a caring, loving, worthy person. Yikes!

If we talk about what you think or feel than its entirely possible that everything won’t be about me! That simply cannot happen, because if the focus is not on me all the time, perhaps I’ll cease to exist in some manner.

Now these are just a few thoughts that occur to me, but they all feel like they have a bit of truth to them.  You go through stuff in your life, so do I. In fact we all do, it’s the human experience. Some of this stuff is fabulous, some okay, some not so good and some is truly dreadful. You naturally have thoughts, ideas and feelings about what is happening in your life. That’s the way life works.

Are you ready for an example? My youngest son died in December 2010. My other two incredible sons live quite a distance from home. One evening I was feeling a bit low. I hadn’t slept the night before, so I was tired and grumpy in general. Hubby was at work so I had time to myself. I spoke to each of my boys on the phone during the day and enjoyed it. However, by that evening I was incredibly tired, and simply missed all three of my boys. I shared this with a good friend of mine (who is an amazing lady) and her response set me to thinking about this entire process. She apologized for sharing her own feelings of missing a child who has moved away from home. Why is that? She misses that person very much and I’m honored and privileged that she shares those feelings with me. I pray that I am supportive of her. Are her feelings any less valid because her experience is different than mine? I don’t think so.

For my money, it’s okay to experience a situation along with someone else and to respond differently. Not only is it okay, it’s inevitable. It doesn’t make us any more less loving or caring individuals if we respond differently than someone else to any given situation.  We’re simply different people responding in our personal ways. Not better. Not worse. Just individual.

Feelings and emotions are not good or bad, they simply are feelings and emotions. My hope is that when we talk with friends and loved ones that we do feel it is safe to share. The key word here is ‘share’. If we can listen and appreciate that there is great value in hearing what is being expressed perhaps we can release the need to compete. Trusting that we offer great value regardless of whether we are sharing or listening.

I have a challenge this week. Accept it if you choose, but for me I’m going to give it a whirl. The challenge is not only to listen, but to really hear what is being said to me. Without judgment. Without feeling as though I need to top it to be of value. I wonder how it will change how I feel about the people I’m listening to. I wonder if it might change the way they feel about me. Learning and growing friends, not competing. Just living, learning and growing.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

Losing Mike – Celebrating Mike

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that it’s often very personal. Today is the most intensely personal blog I’ve ever shared. Still, I feel that I have to share before I can move forward in any meaningful way.

Tuesday, June 2, 1987 was one of the most amazing days of my life. At 6am we welcomed Mike, our third and youngest son to our family. To say we were complete may be an understatement.

Fast forward, 23 years. At some point on Friday, December 17, 2010 the world stopped spinning, perhaps even wobbled as Mike took his own life.

A very real part of me was stunned in the days after losing Mike. After all when someone of great importance to the world dies, we usually see it on the television day in and day out. We hear it on the radio and read it in our newspapers. Headlines like ‘A Nation Mourns’ or ‘The World Says Goodbye’. It was incredibly strange not to see or hear that the lives of every person on the planet had been changed; because I feel sure that it had.

Moving forward is the only option left to any of us who knew and loved Mike. Be assured, to know Mike was to know laughter, enormous hugs, endless debates and great fun. To have Mike in your life was to know a special sort of love.

We will never know for sure why Mike felt it necessary to end his life. He didn’t leave a note or an explanation of any sort. Family, friends and acquaintances were all shocked. Mike suffered from Addison’s disease and we have come to believe that it affected him much more than any of us were ever aware. We may be right or it’s entirely possible that we are simply grasping at an answer that allows us to move forward. The simple fact is that we will never know for sure.

I have found that there is no gentle way of telling others that my son has died. Clearly everyone who knew Mike was affected. The loss is no more or less profound for any of us; it simply is different for each of us. We all knew and loved Mike in different ways. While we grieve and find our own way through the mourning, I find that it’s necessary for me to celebrate every moment of the 23 years that Mike breathed life on this planet.

It’s very meaningful to me that while family and friends stormed the house offering hugs, condolences and of course never-ending food; they also came armed with stories. Mikey-isms for lack of a better term. We have gone through more tissue than I ever imagined possible as we have cried oceans of tears. But in the past 8 weeks, there has also been more laughter shared that I could have imagined possible.  Mike not only was much loved, it’s clear that all who knew him felt loved as well.

Memories of being pregnant with Mike have been resurfacing lately. I’m short and he was one big baby! At the end of my pregnancy, many of my maternity clothes didn’t fit, so it was no surprise to welcome this 9 pound wonder into our lives when he finally joined us.  Mike was a content, happy baby and that is pretty much the way he lived his entire life.

Our other sons were 3 1/2 and not quite 2 years old when Mike was born. Mike changed all of our worlds. While most babies wake up crying, by the time he was a few months old we knew Mike was awake because we would hear babbling or even laughing. Are you getting the picture?

As he grew, Mike spent much of his time laughing, chattering or simply expressing joy and contentment in various ways. When the boys were small they spent most of their time together. It seems that our elder sons would frequently ask me to find a way to quiet Mike. He would simply wander around humming or singing under his breath. Happy and content. Needless to say, I never did quiet Mike, it was so much fun to see and hear someone so happy.

As the boys grew, they remained close in many ways although they were and are strongly individual and independent. Mike loved to tease his brothers about being taller than either of them, and often stood on his toes, even in cowboy boots to accentuate the height difference. Still his brothers were always protective of Mike. Standing up for him always. Mike simply took it as his due. When either of them would tease him about being the baby and being a bit spoiled, he would grin and say ‘Yep!’. Quite the interesting crowd, my boys.

Mike loved playing music. Learning to play the violin when he was a little boy, he bought himself another violin just a few years ago. He played and collected guitars for a while, beginning with the base guitar. And let me tell you, he was pretty good. We thought he had sold or given away all of his guitars, but learned after he died that he still played with a small group of his friends almost every week. Surprise.

Brewing beer, making wine, pickling eggs and hunting. So many things that Mike liked to do and that he shared with family or friends.

We absolutely know that Mike realized completely how deeply he was loved and valued by all. I also believe that each and every person in Mike’s life knew that Mike loved them as well. He shared those feelings with hugs, grins and jokes. Laughing easily and frequently. That’s who Mike was, a joyful, loving young man.

Why? Well, it’s my personal belief that we are born to learn and to teach lessons. For our souls to have human experiences. When those lessons or experiences are complete, I believe that is when we leave this life. It may be by way of natural causes, illness, accident or as in Mike’s case, by suicide. It’s entirely possible that my view may change as time passes, but this has always been my belief.

Mike was not a push-over. He stood strong and loud for things he believed in, enjoying the debate and arguing until he was sure you had to have accepted his point of view. Stubborn at times, especially when it came to talking about politics or spirituality. He was also open to hearing your point of view and would then share with great eloquence all of his reasons why you were wrong. 🙂

Classic country music was his favorite, pretty unusual for a young man his age. But we shared favorites and some of my favorite memories are recent shows we had seen together. We saw Charlie Daniels and had so much fun going to see one of Mike’s all time favorites, George Jones. He invited me to go with him because he said no one else he knew would get why he wanted so much to see him perform. It was just flat out fun.

The last week with Mike gave no hints that he planned to go. Leaving for work early each morning and arriving home in the late afternoon. We learned later that he hadn’t gone into work at all that week, but we simply didn’t know. The evenings were spent cooking, eating, laughing and watching television. In short, no indication that anything was amiss. Again, leaving us with questions, but truly with no regrets.

I have realized how incredibly blessed I continue to be. our daughter in law continue to be amazing. I know that each is suffering and moving through this grief in their own way as they each knew Mike in their very own special way. Each has memories that are private and some that they share. My husband is remarkable. He frequently talks about the fun he had with Mike, cooking and planning meals. How he used to sit at his computer in the living room around the time Mike was expected home so that he could serve the meal soon after Mike arrived. Hubby loved that and so did Mike.

When I share the news of the loss with others there are so many reactions, none of which are wrong of course. Some people move in for a hug, some recoil as though physically assaulted. It’s not personal at all, it’s simply the way they react and momentarily cope with the shock of losing someone so young and in such an unexpected way.

I refuse to acknowledge or accept that there is any stigma attached to suicide. In the past I thought that it was an incredibly selfish act. I ask forgiveness of anyone with whom I ever shared that belief. I no longer hold that belief at all. You see, Mike was one of the least selfish people I’ve ever known. He hated to inconvenience anyone, always thanking others for doing anything for him and apologizing if he felt they had to go out of their way for him. In fact he used to thank me for giving him shots when he was sick.  Not the behavior of a selfish person.

I have come to believe that suicide was simply the illness that ended Mike’s earthly existence. I don’t believe that he wanted to die. It was clear and remains clear to me that Mike truly enjoyed life. Still, there was something that was simply too much for him to bear and so death must have felt like the only alternative. Or, perhaps it was simply his time. I just don’t know.

There’s no blame, no anger, no recriminations. Simply lots of love, feelings of being blessed to have had him for the time that we did and profound sadness that he’s no longer here to share our days.

I’m not at all sure how to wrap up this one. I could go on and on – yes, even more than I have already! I guess I’ll simply offer my gratitude for having this remarkable person in my life for 23 years. I’m grateful to have the love and support of an amazing husband, incredible sons, fabulous daughter-in-law and more terrific family and friends than I can begin to acknowledge here.

I would ask you not to worry about any of us. If you knew Mike, a lovely acknowledgment or tribute to him would be to smile and laugh. Watch a crummy old science-fiction movie and enjoy it. Laugh out loud when you hear a joke and hug someone just because you feel like it. Mike would like that, it would make him smile, and Mike smiling was a very good thing

Namaste,

Sandy

Peace at Last

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

DSCF0525My father died on Friday, December 29, 2006. It was much more painful than I expected.

My father and mother divorced when I was very young. My mom soon married again to the man who raised me, the man I have always considered and referred to me as my dad.

I was raised to respect and care about my father. While I grew up in Wisconsin he lived and worked in Louisiana. Generally I saw him once a year, though sometimes it was less often. He made regular phone calls while I was growing up and I’m sure he did the best he could to build a relationship. But as you might expect it was never as close as I somehow thought it should be and always hoped it would become.

I grew up, married and had a family of my own. My father continued to call fairly regularly and to visit when he would be in the area. As he had been raised in northern Wisconsin he made visits to the Milwaukee area most years.

This was always a tough relationship, looking back I think it was tough for both of us. There’s no doubt that I could have and should have tried harder on my end. I always thought that he could have and probably should have tried more as well. Sadly, when I think about it now, I realize that I had no idea how to bring about the relationship I desired or if I even knew what I wanted. I always just sort of felt that there was something missing. Frankly, I don’t know even now if he was satisfied with the way things were either, or if he thought there should be more as well.

My father’s two younger brothers died a few years before him. After their deaths I had the strong feeling that he was much more aware of his mortality. He definitely made more of an effort to connect with me and my grown children than he ever had before. He spent a few weeks at a time in Wisconsin and made much more of an effort to connect. While I appreciated this effort, and we had some very good times, the truth is that it was often very strained. Still it was progress.

The phone call came in September of 2006. My father told me that he had terminal cancer. I knew it was now or never. We kept in touch much more frequently and I drove down to Louisiana to spend a few weeks with him. I’m so glad that I did. Still, in the manner of people who have full hearts but do not feel comfortable expressing their emotions to one another, we left much unsaid.

When I learned of his death I thought that I would be able to close that particular chapter of my life. We had cared about one another, but truly not known each other as well as we probably could have. I really believed that it would be a matter of shedding some quiet tears and saying goodbye. Wrong.

What I found out was that I cared much more deeply than I knew. I relived and experienced feelings of loss and grief from my childhood on. I thought about the experiences that we had missed out on, the fact that he hadn’t attended my wedding and had never held any of my children when they were babies. I had to acknowledge the anger and resentment that I had felt at never feeling like I was a priority in his life. I had to acknowledge these feelings and allow myself to truly feel them before I was able to let them go. Of course that meant that I also had to acknowledge my feelings of shame and guilt, I had to honestly take ownership of my part in this relationship. The finger pointing and blame game was not acceptable anymore. It was important to acknowledge and apologize for not making my feelings clear to him while he was still here.

Reiki helped me so much as I went through this process. After I went through the blame and anger I was finally able to acknowledge that someplace deep inside I had always known that my father really did love me very deeply. He simply did not demonstrate it in the manner I had somehow expected. Receiving Reiki on a regular basis and practicing life coaching skills helped me to move into a place of love and forgiveness, for both of us. To be honest, it took an awful lot of thinking about him, praying and meditating to be sure that he was aware now in the afterlife that I had always had very deep affection for him as well. Eventually, I was able to come to a place of peace.

So, here I am. More than two and a half years later I am now able to think about my father and smile. The bitterness, anger and hurt needed to be allowed, acknowledged and finally released. Now there are the feelings of forgiveness and acceptance for both of us. There is acknowledgment that few people live storybook lives where emotions and feelings are demonstrated to the expectation and satisfaction of all involved. Most of us feel that others should say or do things in a different manner to be most effective, but emotions and feelings are complicated and the should of, could of is irrelevant in the end. That’s just life.

I have no doubt that some of these feelings will resurface from time to time. Occasions of one sort or another may make me think about the way things actually happened or the way I wish they had been. But now they are much easier for me to deal with. I realize that while we both had our shortcomings, we actually did the very best that we could at the time. I have no way of knowing what was in his mind or heart in the past, but I am sure and always have been sure that he only wanted the best for me. That makes memories and resurfacing emotions much easier to allow, and to move through with love, forgiveness and blessings.

For me, it’s very important to remember that my memory is selective at best. My thoughts and emotions at the moment have always colored my memories and they always will. I can’t change the past, so I choose to appreciate and be grateful for the lessons I have learned. I choose to live in the moment. At the moment I choose to feel good. I choose to forgive myself and others. I choose to love. I choose peace at last.

I wish you a day of forgiving and allowing yourself to be forgiven. I wish you a day of love and blessings. I wish you a day of peace.

Warmly,
Sandy

Saying Good-bye

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

I spent time with a friend of mine today, I’ll call her Cindy. Cindy’s mother is dying, Cindy knows it, her mother knows it and the doctors confirm it.

As I chatted with Cindy it was clear to me that she is at peace with the situation. Now don’t get me wrong, Cindy loves her mother and expressed her feeling that sixty-seven is simply too young to expect her mother to die. On the other hand, she told me that she feels her mother is done with life. Recently she has expressed as much, she misses her son who died very young, most of her dear friends have passed and with the exception of her beloved husband, most of her relatives near her age have passed away as well. She misses them dreadfully and feels as though she is simply done with what she was supposed to do here in this life. She’s not depressed; she’s just ready to move on. The disease that is ravaging her body is simply the vehicle that is taking her on this final journey.

Cindy is determined that her mother enjoy the time she has left. Cindy has learned so much from her mother. She was a loving, fun mom to grow up with and has become a trusted friend to the adult Cindy. She showed Cindy that it was possible to not only love her husband but that it was possible to like him and to enjoy being his friend. And now she is teaching Cindy that it is possible to die with grace, dignity and joy.

Unfortunately, Cindy is getting a bit of flak from some people. Apparently there are those who have hinted that Cindy is doing something wrong because she is not crying, wailing constantly and pushing her mother to accept painful treatments that will extend her life, but not improve or even preserve the quality of what is left of her life. So, Cindy asked me for my point of view.

Oh boy. It was time to not only think and feel as Cindy’s friend, but to think this through as the holistic life coach and Reiki master that Cindy knows I am. So, we continued to talk. I asked her how she was dealing with all of this. She told me that she is definitely heartbroken to be saying good-bye to her mother, but that she is saving the tears and grieving for her time with her husband and a few trusted friends. She’s not stuffing her feelings or denying them, simply expressing them to those who know and love her best. Because her mother is determined to enjoy the time left, Cindy is determined to enjoy it with her. She’s told her and will continue to tell her how much she loves her, has enjoyed being her daughter and they talk about the fun they’ve had together. They laugh, tell stories and simply spend time together being happy. Cindy has made it clear to visitors that her mother has requested the time remaining be happy and so she has asked visitors to honor those wishes, in fact she’s insisting on just that. She’s taking special care of her father, again honoring her mother’s wishes and doing what she simply feels is right.

The truth is that both Cindy and her mother are at peace. Her mother is getting ready to meet her God and Cindy is very appreciative of the opportunity to spend this time with her before she passes, she’s now learning how to say good-bye to loved ones and to die with grace, dignity and joy.

Before I left, I gave Cindy a long hug, told her that I would pray for her, her mother and all of her family and friends and I thanked her. While Cindy is learning one more lesson from her mother, she is teaching many of the rest of us as well.

I hope that if I’m ever faced with a similar situation that I am able to move through it with the same peaceful heart, love and gratitude that is demonstrated by Cindy and her mother.

This week, I wish you all the opportunity to express your love and gratitude for the special friends and relatives in your life. I am grateful for Cindy and I thank her for the lesson of love and gratitude.

Warmly,
Sandy