A two month hiatus from externalizing my mind meanderings subsequently revealed that I cannot very well process my inner world in silence.
I had to put off writing for a while to deal with some relationship needs, travel and moving. Then my aunt Hilda’s cancer fatally returned; she passed on recently…it has left me a different person.
I didn’t intend for this post to be about death, but I can already pre-conceptualize my thoughts heading toward that subject.
Death has always haunted me – not my fear of dying, but of losing someone I love to it. Early on, I would keep up at night and terrorize myself with thoughts about my parents dying. The older I got, the more people I grew to care for were added to that reel of trauma I played nightly. It eventually developed into anxiety and emotional distance from people, especially people I love.
I was in fourth-grade when a little kindergarten friend of mine drowned.
Every day I would walk past his class as I headed to mine and waved or said hi to him. Eric became special to me for some reason. The week he wasn’t at school, I noticed his absence; my mom told me what had happened. He was at a party with his parents, quietly slipped out the back door and fell into a pool. Recounting this story, 22 years later, still puts me in a dark place. I never expressed how heart broken and scared I was for him, but I thought about him constantly.
I started riding my bike in cemeteries with a friend; she was somewhat dark-minded and sad. We liked looking at the old, mossy head-stones and statues. One day we went through a different cemetery as we were visiting my dad in the next town over. I stopped at one point to do something; when I looked down at the nearest headstone, Eric’s name was looking back at me. I kind of stood in shock – I didn’t know he was buried there, and if I did, I wouldn’t even know where to look.
I believed his spirit was with me – I had never let go of him.
Over the next decade a few other childhood friends passed away from illness or accident. Once again I kept my heart silent and turned to my nights of worry and sadness. I grew up with the ideology of heaven and hell – and although those ideas of afterlife never aligned with me, I wanted to believe something good about death. All I knew was that it leaves those left behind with grief. The comfort I was offered from my mom was that my friends were no longer suffering and that they were in heaven. Maybe my mom didn’t know that I needed more explanation or comfort because I didn’t cry in front of her. I didn’t know how to process it and she most likely took my silence for my being all right.
There have been several deaths in the family in my adult life, more specifically the recent passing of Aunt Hilda, my mom’s sister. Mom told me that the cancer returned and it wasn’t good. The grieving started right away and I definitely didn’t keep my crying secret.
I worried about death all my life and it has happened and will inevitably happen time and again.
Worrying, expecting and keeping distance have done nothing to help lessen the pain of losing someone I love. It’s in her death I have learned to want to live in the moment and to love unconditionally, to be honest and free from fear. Life is meant to be lived, to make others happy, to bring peace and to love.
As far as what happens after death, whatever we believe hopefully will bring comfort and peace.
I have my personal journey of healing to resume and to do that I need to keep my energy flowing and stay in touch with spirit. I lost connection with the healthy track I was on while I was grieving, and it was definitely reflected in my recent low health.
I’m not completely sure how to grieve or feel heavier emotions without it affecting my body. I believe the mind and spirit affect the body and the other way around, so it’s inevitable that there will be energy blocks when life makes a not-so-great turn.
Maybe staying on-track means going with the flow even when there are detours.
Feeling emotions when they come, letting them pass and transforming are ways to move toward healing, to understand that life is a gift and death isn’t here to stop us from being happy; it’s to remind us to live.