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Grief Support & Relationship Associate
Throughout my life, I have encountered death. Yet, it wasn’t until the sudden passing of my sister that my acquaintance with the darkness and eventually the light of grief became not only a concept that I understood but the avenue that led me to find the value in grieving. Understand, this awakening didn’t happen overnight, it took me descending deeply and dangerously into the depths of depression, courting suicidal thoughts, and being tangled in a murkiness of emotions that I’d never known, to develop a mindset that fully embraces grief as a natural part of life.
To date, my sister's death has been the most catastrophic, debilitating, but revolutionizing event of my life. While I cannot and would never deny that grieving is a painful part of life, within it also lies the potential for a door of healing to be opened. As a result of my work with my Life Coach combined with grief therapy, I found myself going through a healing process that helped me unlearn what I had been taught about the circle of life.
I began to understand that life, like love, is continuous and therefore it has no end. When a person passes away, those left behind mourn the loss of the physical connection with them. Sadly, most of us get stuck in a spiral of grieving, almost making a person’s demise more meaningful than the life that they lived. I will never disregard that how a person dies plays a significant role in how we grieve.
We’ve been taught to believe that grief has one look or expression. Yes, grieving is crying because the weight of loss is heavy and it hurts, it’s also laughing, sharing stories, preparing meals, dancing, writing, reading, gathering together, rituals, sex, meditating, praying, singing, and more. Sometimes you may need to sit in reflective silence, scream from the depths of your soul, or be anchored by the faith of another because you are too exhausted to sustain yourself. Grieving is a beautifully sacred phenomenon and we all express it differently. I am the embodiment of hurting and healing taking place in one being, simultaneously!
Some may struggle to see that grief is simply an expression of love. When I began to recover from the loss of my sister, my views on death, loss, life, and bereavement shifted drastically. Gone were the panic-filled nights spent worrying about when the Grim Reaper would come again. I began to appreciate the beauty in life’s journey, taking into account that moments shared would become a source of comfort when life ended.
My reverence for death and my strength to grieve in a way that allowed me to feel the pangs of loss without being consumed by the power of my emotions, ushered in a consciousness of life that I'd never known. It seems that Rumi was right, the gaping wound caused by grief became the portal of a light so bright that it has changed my life and aided me in discovering another component of my purpose. I remember my grandma telling me, that when someone dies another person is born, I didn't fully understand her then but I get it now. I am the most self-aware and balanced than I've ever been.
The comfort that I've found in my individuality fuels me. I live with a peace that's almost as inexplicable as the enormity of the grief I encountered four years ago. The ebb and flow of my emotions has given me a stabilizing intimacy with myself that has transformed my thoughts and revived my faith in God. The bittersweet irony of my evolution is the realization that my sister had to leave for it to happen. They say, "death never comes empty-handed, it always leaves a gift." When I think about how my life has changed since Von's departure, I am amazed.
My admiration of my mom's courage to raise me despite her struggles, my empathy for the plight that my parents conceived me in, the ability to forgive the man who altered my life, and even my respect for my sister's right to slip into the heavens on her own terms, are grief’s gifts to me. Please, don't assume that every day is rainbows, I have moments where my new normal snatches my breath and leaves me starring into space. Some days I think of her and the tears fall, other days I am filled with the deepest gratitude because I am her little sister, but every day I am healing.
On my darkest days, when my only hope was to make it to the next moment alive, I could not envision being in this space. There isn't a minute of the day that I don't miss Lavon but interwoven in my longing to hear her voice one more time, is a contentment that’s calming. Continuously I am learning lessons that are taking me further into healing, happiness, and wholeness. So then, it is safe to say that when we allow ourselves to love freely and fully knowing that death is a part of life’s adventures, the experiences and memories that we create along the journey are what make grief good.
9/21/2020 04:47:36 am
This piece was beautiful and raw. There was such a detailed picture painted. Thank you for sharing.
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