grieving

My sons, Jeff and Scott, Jeff in the foreground

Today, October 25, would have been my son Jeff’s fifty-second birthday. It has now been twenty years since his sudden death. Fifty-two years since I was in labour birthing him, in all his beauty, into this existence. Just over twenty years since living through my devastation by his death.

Given that grieving and loving are twins, and loving is eternal, then grieving is also eternal. Grieving is not a malady to recover from, not to be “gotten over” like an illness. I agree with the masters, Martin Prechtel and Stephen Jenkinson that grieving is indeed a skill. Living with grieving and loving, birthing and dying is a skill that can, and for some of us must, be learned.

There was a time when I wished to never again be brought to my knees the way I was when Jeff died. Although I won’t say I am completely free of that desire, I am coming closer to letting go of my attachment to even that expectation.

Jeff on the left, Scott on the right

I celebrate Jeff, a loving, creative, remarkable being and the brilliance of his existence. I celebrate my capacity and strength for loving and for grieving.  I celebrate Scott, my elder son, who shares the loving and grieving of his brother.  I celebrate Maxie, Jeff’s daughter who is now 19.  I celebrate Maxie’s mother Carrie, I celebrate all five of my grandchildren, including Maxie, Cameron, Samantha, Jeff and Rick and my six great-grandchildren Jaston, Kadia, Isaiah, Elijah, Isabella, Hendrix, I celebrate Cameron’s wife Kandice, Rick’s partner Isabella, Jeff’s partner Wayne, Samantha has a new partner I haven’t met yet and . . . oh so many lives to celebrate, their names are streaming through me but I’ll stop now.  And oh, so much to grieve.

I wonder if grieving is even the easier to bear of the twins — perhaps it is loving that renders the more exquisite agony? Perhaps the comparison is irrelevant, still I wonder.

Jeff on the left, Scott on the right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the three of us a long time ago on Gabriola — Scott on the left, Jeff on the right

 

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The caring, heartfelt, inspiring messages and acts of kind generosity that have been abundantly showered upon me since my diagnosis of cancer have moved me to share in a new and different way.

Blogging is something I have yet to master however it seems the best option at the moment, so I am resurrecting my sorely neglected web site in order to reach out.

Navigating cancer is proving to be a journey like no other I have undertaken, nevertheless I’m not intending this to be exclusively a cancer blog.

My primary desire is to honor community, to participate and to contribute. Community means many things to me and I am interested in developing a deeper understanding and ability to articulate and share.  One way I experience community is as an intricate web of personal relationships, so fine at times it can be invisible to the naked eye and yet oh, what a phenomenal holding capacity!  I snapped the photo here on my phone one day not long ago while wandering through the stunning Elder Cedar Forest on Gabriola Island with friends.  It was high in a tree off the path and I would have missed it but for a momentary glint of light that I paused to explore further.  Pause.  Explore further.

Valuing the benefits of community is not new to me, given that it has been foundational in my dedication to working with groups of people throughout the years. What is freshly illuminated for me right now is the awe inspiring beauty of what each person offers in their unique way within the web.  And how seemingly separate communities are actually interwoven.  What a profound difference this is making to the quality of my life, and can make in the life of anyone a community of people choses to focus on.

I believe I am in a passage of Waking Up and Growing Up, along with many others I know and don’t know. Some of the things I am waking up to are familiar to me in concept but are now being revealed in a different light, such as there really is no “me” without “you.” Martin Buber said many things that I relish, amongst them simply “In the beginning was the relationship.”

From Jean Vanier:  “Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other.”  I’m tempted to wander off into my musings about why it seems to take tragedy to access our core loving, however I’ll wait for another time.

A perspective I am holding is that the loving kindness coming my way through community is beyond personal to just me. I believe I am serving as a pivot point for remarkable individuals and a network of remarkable communities to openly project their abundant loving, compassion, and generous spirits onto, revealing to them and all of us what our hearts are capable of, even and especially in times of strife and division.  I am waking up to my part in an astounding network of diverse communities.  There is my family in Nanaimo, Lions Bay, Edmonton and Leduc, California, England.  Beyond incredible Gabriola Island friends, astonishing Haven individuals spread around the country and the world, huge-hearted people in China and Chinese people in Canada, my dearly beloved women’s group and friends in Vancouver and Kaslo and Hawaii, and more!   Serving as a reflector for such beautiful beings is joyful!

One week ago I went through my second chemo treatment and as I write this I am coming to the end of one the most physically difficult days I have experienced so far.  Humbling.  Sustained weakness to the point of surrender is another new experience, a vulnerability I am less familiar with.  I am finding it challenging and even mysterious.  Knowing I am being held in community makes an enormous difference and I ache for those who are not so privileged.

Addressing my physicality is only one aspect of this life-changing journey. I am dedicating myself to delving into my unconscious, learning more about participating in our expansive super-consciousness, unearthing my underlying limiting beliefs, nurturing intuition, communing within the more-than-human world,  grieving, loving and living the mystery. We’ll see what happens!

love light laughter linda

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After A While

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Loss is an experience that I believe cannot be generalized. Each occurrence throughout my life has been different. Why? Because I myself have been different in each particular point in time, my range of feelings has differed, each other person involved has been unique, as has our relationship with each other and the surrounding circumstances. […]

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Grieving: Change and Growth

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Opening pathways by clearing away some of the boulders that lie in the way is a tremendous support for stepping into fresh new territory. Sharing here with you the words from a previous participant: “I can now move forward with my life with peace about all the loss and with hope for the future. No […]

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About Completion

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Someone who has experienced profound loss and been in turmoil for over a year has just emailed me.  She is asking herself if she even wants completion, she just isn’t sure. The title of the workshop includes the word “completion”, which can have many differing interpretations depending upon who is hearing it.  For me, completion […]

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