I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are One. Namasté. – Ram Dass
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die. ~ Amelia Burr
On July 4th, 2009, my grandmother made the decision to end the treatments that were keeping her alive. In all seriousness – let’s face what no one likes to talk about – she was not “living” anymore. She stopped grasping at the possibility of life in the future and embraced the life she’d already lived. Her withering body was no longer able to carry the brave, vibrant, amazing woman inside. She knew she would die in seven to fifteen days without dialysis. It wasn’t that she’d given up and it wasn’t that Multiple Myeloma had beaten her. As the saying goes, “Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.”
On July 14th, 2009, we sat mostly in silence, communicating like we often did with the occasional smile, squeeze of a hand or offering of water. I knew it was one of the last times I’d be with her. At 7pm, she started dozing, so I hugged her, said I loved her and went to yoga. I fully relaxed my mind and body at the end of my practice. I was emotionally exhausted, but calm and content. Around 10pm, a nurse at the hospital called my cell phone because I was her emergency contact. She was gone. I still to this day am so thankful for what the nurse said to comfort me: “She fell asleep and went peacefully.”
My mom and brother were arriving on July 15th at noon, so they were unable to say their final Goodbyes as they’d hoped. On July 20th, my grandmother’s little brother (my great uncle) died in his sleep. Timing is a strange beast, isn’t it?
Time heals all wounds
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I wish none of us had to experience grief, but death is an inevitable part of human existence. People often say, “Time heals all wounds.” I’ve said it to myself and others. It is a very true statement on some level. The phrase does not begin to express how one can feel as though his or her heart was physically removed through the chest. The phrase cannot touch the aches, the nightmares, the tears, the vomiting, the anger or the sadness induced by watching someone I love slowly die. The phrase cannot make up for what you have felt (and probably what you still feel) because you lost a child, a sibling, a parent, a mentor, a friend.
I used to hide my pain from myself and others. I used to run from it or repress it or drown it. The expression of emotion, specifically pain, is not a weakness, despite what we are often taught. Now I know I must feel the pain before I can move past it. I must sit with the pain and tend to it before I can heal. But it is true that over time, we can make the choice to move on. We should not cling to pain, but instead we can learn to appropriately cope with loss so we can grow. The flesh wounds heal and leave scars. The scars stay with us forever so we never forget, but time allows us to move on. And ultimately, I must move on.
I couldn’t have gotten through the last year without the support of my friends and family. I will never be able to repay you for your time, calls, texts, hugs and love. Namasté.
“I hope I have followed The Golden Rule all my life. Not that it will get me into Heaven. It has just been my guideline in this life to prevent me from fearing death.” ~ Peggy Brown Bryson, as written in one of her private journals