2013 seems to have been a challenging year for most people. I find it particularly challenging when people I have known for some time go out of my life. However the sudden death of a very dear friend from Liver problems at the age of 47 was devastating. Elisa had a devoted husband and lovely daughter aged 12 and had so much to live for. Then losing my brother – who had been ill for some time wasn’t expected to die so suddenly, at the end of December, ended my year on a painful note.
One thing I have learnt is to try and find something positive or to create something positive. Grief is a very powerful emotion as I learned when I lost my 14 year old son to Epilepsy – it could have destroyed me. I survived by putting this energy into a creative endeavour that would help others. I set up an Award Scheme at Owen’s school to acknowledge pupils who have to cope with or who have overcome a particular difficulty in their life, someone who has made a consistent and determined effort with their work or someone who is a positive and helpful member of the school – spending time helping others. It has gone from strength to strength and is now an integral part of the school.
Uncannily Elisa died on the same day as Owen – 19 October. This was such a coincidence and I mentioned to Gianiero and Eva (Elisa’s husband and daughter) the possibility of setting something up at the nearby Hospice in Sydenham for Elisa. They liked this idea and it has has given us something positive to focus on. It definitely helps the grieving process that the loved one will be remembered in such a positive way. It is always shocking to lose someone young – it just feels wrong.
My brother was 68, but he should have lived longer. He had lived in Australia for many years and his partner of 28 years is now trying to carry on as best she can without him. His legacy is his daughter and grandchildren who are doing their best to comfort her and cope with their own grief, but distances are vast in Australia and a 7 hour journey doesn’t make visiting easy.
The lesson I have learned is NEVER to take those we love for granted! I wish I had told Elisa how much I loved and valued her – her quirkiness and the wonderful ‘Ciao Tesoro she would greet me with – how I miss her. I wish I had skyped my brother more often and sympathised with him over his diabetes and the various health problems he had. I am skyping his partner every day now – as if I can make up for it!
I am also valuing the fact that I am here, now, alive and breathing. I’m doing my best to make the most of every moment – really practicing Living in the Now as Eckhart Tolle says. I breathe out the hurts and upsets as soon as I can – I don’t want to hold on to any bad feelings – which are nearly always relating to something from the past which are projected onto the present.
The highlight of my year was the birth of my third grandchild – a beautiful little boy called Max. I only have to think about him to smile! It is so true that babies bring love – it is impossible not to feel love when seeing them, holding them, cuddling them and marvelling at this new and perfect little human being who has decided to come and be a part of our human family.
What helped me to cope with the grief and loss, as always, is my breath. I notice the need to hold it when the pain comes – and to keep it flowing. I allow the tears to come – but remember to breathe. I know it has made this painful episode of my life more bearable and I know that I am healing more quickly than I would otherwise have done. My breath keeps me connected with something that is much bigger, much more loving and compassionate but beyond the understanding or imagination of most of us.
Keep breathing – consciously!
I wish you Joy. I wish you Love.