I was exposed to death when my hero, Grandpa, died 20 years ago. He was my idea of what a man should be – strong, caring, kind, loving, funny – yet when he died, it was sudden and so easy. I still feel him around me.
I witnessed death face to face when my cat of 14 years, Ebby, died in my arms. It may sound morbid but I feel so grateful to have been there with her as she passed. Watching her take her last breath and her spirit drifting off… I will never forget how that felt.
My grandma, Grace, died on Thursday. Grace… a name so appropriate for this woman. She and I spoke openly and clearly about her death for 10 years, discussing how she was ready to let go. When I visited her the day before her passing, she was unresponsive. As we gather around her bed, surrounding her with love, she came back to life. Her speech was slow to develop but after about 10 minutes, she was talking to me as if nothing was wrong, “Trina, it is so good to be loved.” “Yes, Grandma, it is good to be loved and it is good to love. You can let go now. We will all be fine.”
Letting go – what a beautiful experience. Life is the final attachment we must relinquish and I believe it involves cutting the connection to our bodies, our loved ones, our minds and surrendering to space.
The space between the thoughts.
The source beyond knowing.
The being beyond being.
Feeling the parts of me Grandma directly impacted and pieces of my character Grandpa is directly responsible for make me think of the sum of a human life. We are the result of all our experiences and we hold pieces of loved one within ourselves. Looking back at the people who have loved me and those who I have loved, I am deeply grateful.
Yes, we all experience loss… What we do with it is what matters. Are we going to stay in the darkness of sadness, regret, and shame or are we going to move to light? I’ve lost loved ones from death, divorce, and distance. I am still in the grieving process for many of these lost loves. The process of grief is the same and we end in acceptance. My prayer is that I accept and surrender with gratitude and faith.
I just received a text message from one of my dearest chosen family members: “I bet your grandma is enjoying the view of the fireworks from the clouds.” Yes, I bet she is.
(The photo on this post is a painting I did when I found out a friend of mine lost his mother. This is my expression of the way it feels when you lose someone you love.)