Grief, Loss … Life Goes On
For many years I had lived what I thought of as a charmed life, without any major losses or grief. Sure, I had grandparents who passed away and even aunts and uncles, but it didn’t feel catastrophic.
Then in the summer of 2011 my dear friend Julie lost her battle with cancer and I was engulfed in grief. My Pollyannaish life had disappeared in an instant and I felt the deep pain of loss and grief.
On October 14th, on my daily walk with the dogs in the arroyo behind my house, a butterfly appeared in front of me. I mean right in front of me as I almost stepped on it. I gently lifted it and placed it off to the side where no one would trample it. Much to my surprise and delight, a few seconds later it flew away.
At that moment I knew it was some kind of communication from someone who had died, and I thought Julie had contacted me. Feeling grateful and happy, I smiled to myself knowing that the butterfly was a message from the other side.
A few days later I received the horrendous news that Jonathan, my 35-year-old son, had taken his life five days earlier. I thought of the butterfly. Yes, it had been a sign, but it wasn’t from Julie. It was from Jon. The butterfly came to me two days after Jon had left the earth plane. It was the first of many messages.
I was filled with agony, pain, despair, and anguish, and the support I received from friends and family kept me afloat. It still does. Whenever I feel the waves of grief begin to suffocate me, I call out. On Facebook (it’s truly been a godsend), as well as phone calls and texts. And when the troops send me love and energy, I am able to rise out of the quagmire of deep grief and once again, choose to join the living.
Grief has no timetable. Sometimes it just shows up without any warning, and I find myself sinking. I am grateful to have wonderful support people in my life and I believe (for me it’s a knowingness) that Jon is okay and doing well. Sometimes I hear his voice, sometimes I feel his presence, and sometimes the Ghost Detect Pro app on my iPhone captures an image!
For instance, on my birthday this year, I was really missing my son and my dad (he passed away in May 2013 at age 95). These were the two men I have loved the most and, as I lay on my couch thinking about them, I shed many tears. I decided to turn my Ghost app on and, within a few minutes, it took a picture! Take a look at the two spheres of light near my feet – Dad and Jon spending time with me on my birthday!
When Jon died he left behind very few physical objects. The one that I claimed is a ceramic pendant that I had given him years before. On one side is an image of the sun, and the other side is “peace” in Egyptian. He had chose that particular one saying that our family trip to Egypt and Israel (for his Bar Mitzvah) had been a highlight of his life. I wear this pendant all the time, right over my heart center. Last month, however, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I am done wearing this?” And then, 2 days later, BAM, I dropped it and it chipped. I was filled with deep, deep grief and wailed, “my heart is broken.” For a little while I was inconsolable; the pendant was the outward manifestation of my broken heart. When I reached out to my Facebook family and friends, they sent me love and energy, and I was able to breathe again as the pain began to subside. My question had been answered in a mighty big way: “NO, I AM NOT DONE WEARING THE PENDANT YET!” Instead of having it expertly repaired, I decided to put it back together myself adding fairy dust to the glue. It isn’t perfect….I didn’t want it to be, my heart will never be perfectly mended. Take a look for yourself at the photo below.
Life Goes On
What I have learned in these past 2½ years since the unspeakable happened (my adult child committed suicide) is that life does go on. And, within this life, there will be more times that grief will surprise me and I will again feel like I am suffocating and gasping for breath.
I visit the place of profound grief and despair, but I don’t live there and I don’t dwell there too long. And yet, as far down as I allow myself to go into the deep pit of mourning, that’s how high I’ve been able to ascend into newfound heights of joy. What a roller coaster ride it has been. And it's been such a surprise to me that experiencing the deep depth of pain has been a springboard to new heights of bliss.
Unfortunately, many parents who have lost children to suicide end up taking their own lives. I have not been suicidal and what has helped me the most are:
- My support system. People who send me love, energy, and prayers any time I ask.
- Connecting with Jon’s spirit. For instance, a few months after Jon had died I thought I heard his voice while I was meditating. Immediately I started questioning this and thought I was making it all up. So I said to that voice, “Jon, if this is really you, then heat up the pendant (the ceramic pendant that I discussed above) that I am wearing.” The voice replied, “Ma. There are some things that I haven’t learned how to do yet!” It made a believer out of me!
- My own spiritual practices and energy practices. I am in conscious contact with my loving Higher Power throughout the day,. Also, I use a tapping technique known as RITT (Rapidly Integrated Transformation Technique) – www.LearnRITT.com, in which I partner with Source/God to release pain and trauma. The name will soon be changed to SourceTapping!
[Note: Want to learn more energy practices in a fun-filled live conference atmosphere? Come to the Energy Psychology conference in Phoenix the end of May. I am offering a Breakout Session on Using Tapping as a treatment for Food Addiction and Compulsive Overeating.] http://tinyurl.com/acep2014
Yesterday was another challenging day for me. A close friend was celebrating the 2 year anniversary of his son’s death, a Facebook friend just lost her son, my dad’s stone setting is next week, and (for those astrologically-minded) I am going through a difficult transit – Pluto quincunx Uranus. I turned on my Ghost Detect Pro app, put my phone on my desk and BEEP – it took a picture. Check it out – the image reminds me, once again, that I am not alone.
Do you have a belief in life after death? I’d enjoy reading your comments below.
Love and Blessings,
P.S. Before I began to re-read what I had written here, I asked Jon if he'd like to make an appearance, turned the app on, and put the phone down facing the ceiling. Take a look at the interesting pic I got. How many hearts do you see??? Hi Jonny!! 🙂