Reading a wonderful book today I recalled a memory that seemed to come out of left field. It had nothing to do with what I was reading, yet I sat looking at the sun melt the snow on the deck while returning to 2008. I had just remodeled my kitchen in Orlando and was making homemade French onion soup, carefully sautéing the onions while my children waited impatiently for dinner. The phone rang and my sister shared that my mother had cancer and that it had spread to her lungs. She had just returned from the doctor and the prognosis was not good. She would die in a few months. I didn’t understand what she was saying. My mother had already been cleared of cancer for several months. I stood there moving the onions in the pan, the smell infusing with thoughts and the misunderstanding of what I was hearing from her. I kept saying with each addition of detail, “I’m not understanding what you are saying! (As she continued to repeat the same message) I will call you back later.” I hung up the landline and my ex asked what happened. In my state of denial and rejection for bad news I answered, “Something about Mom having cancer again. I don’t think that’s right. God only knows what is really happening. ” I kept on cooking, stirring the broth, seasoning the pot. I stood there in my beautiful new kitchen wondering what else I needed to make before setting the table. Grief becomes a game between highs and lows, denial and acceptance. The sorrow didn’t hit me for days, weeks perhaps, and the affirmation that my 82 year old mother was not immortal. Since that day I’ve never cooked French onion soup again.
Why did this memory visit today? I don’t know. I believe it has to do with letting go, the admission and gaining of spiritual truth as I continue to clean the imbalance and metaphysical stagnation in me. This is happening lately with thoughts coming and going; memories visiting and leaving without emotions; and the honoring of what is and isn’t working in my life. But grief…well, that’s one of those that arrives with beautiful messages lately. In the face of grief we become helpless, often tittering on hopeless wonder. Death is not the only catalyst for grief: the ending of relationships, careers, finances, spiritual growth, and an array of life changes. In all senses grieving is a must. Where there is exhilaration there is the opposite of sorrow. Duality exists. We are made of it.
As I allowed the scene to unfold I caught the clarity of light on the pond, dancing with the wind while creating little diamonds on the water. I smiled wiping away the soft tears in fallen reflections. Grieving parts make a whole because you are never at a complete loss of those things or people. They live through memories so vibrantly. You can choose to relive the sorrowful parts and then move on to the joyful ones. The more aware you become of thoughts, memories, moments and being present the easier it is to allow the visit of each emotion. Honor them. Sit with them in grace. Allow them to enter those rooms that you have shut tightly. Nothing lasts forever, even those fears that paralyze the spirit momentarily. They shape us into depth, softening edges, and growing closer into Divinity. Discarding those parts of life create stagnation. Don’t let them end up in a land field of regrets!
~ The Sky is Everywhere~ (by Jandy Nelson)
“grief is a house
where the chairs
have forgotten how to hold us
the mirrors how to reflect us
the walls how to contain us
grief is a house that disappears
each time someone knocks at the door
or rings the bell
a house that blows into the air
at the slightest gust
that buries itself deep in the ground
while everyone is sleeping….”