The holiday season is upon us and I have found myself slipping into a funk over the last few weeks. Going into a funk isn’t something new or something I have never done before and so I do know this moment shall pass as it has before in my life. The difficulty comes in being able to shift this feeling and enjoy the season that is here to be enjoyed. I always liked celebrating with family and friends and now I find myself frustrated because instead of feeling joy, I am in a funk. This is not how I choose to celebrate tomorrow! It is up to me to shift these feelings and I know one way to shift it is to write about it, as well as focus on other things. Since it is Thanksgiving tomorrow I am focusing on feelings of appreciation and gratitude to move myself out of the funk I am in today.
One of the first things I did in preparation to write here today was to look through my many photographs to see which ones will I use? Which ones will assist me to shift and not add to the funk feeling? I came across this one taken of me channeling Ma-Ryah at the last Sacred Woman Retreat by one of the women attending the retreat. Looking at the photograph reminds me of the beautiful energy that morning, the joy and the awe experienced by me that morning as I blended with Ma-Ryah. It didn’t take long until I could feel the energy of that beautiful sunrise and the funk began to shift a bit. Of course the inner chatter box starts to remind me to feel sorry for myself, to think about the people who won’t be with me tomorrow, and how much I miss them. That is true. There are many people who won’t be sharing tomorrow with me here in my home; people who mean everything to me! My daughter is in Vermont with her children and friends. My other daughter is in New Mexico with her son and yes it is true neither one will be here in New Jersey with me. I sigh and say to myself, “so what!”. I am able to speak with them on the phone, connect with them, connect with my grandchildren and in that way share tomorrow with them. Not to be outdone my ego reminds me of the ones not with me again this year, and reminds me they can’t be reached by phone either. My heart twists a bit with that reminder and I have to agree that is true too. I make the choice not to ignore these feelings and give myself the gift of time today to remember the ones in my life who are missing and can not be reached by phone. I allow myself to go through the memories of past holidays and sharing them with my Mother, my son and many others who no longer walk this earth with me. Surprising myself some of the memories bring a smile on my face and the twist of my heart begins to lessen.
My Mother is no longer here. I know many of you who are reading this are also celebrating tomorrow without your loved ones to share it with you. It hurts, I know. No one else can fill the void they leave behind when they leave our lives. A gentle part of my mind reminds me, they are still here ~ just in a different way. Thanksgiving through the years of life was the best when Mom would be having dinner at our home and so many relatives would come to share the day with us. We always had such a nice dinner and plenty of food to go around, because everyone contributed and shared the preparation of the food. As a child and later as a teen and woman, one of the best parts of family gathering to celebrate moments together was listening to the stories of Mom, Grandmothers, Aunts and cousins! Some of the stories shared were funny, some were sad, but all showed another piece of the tapestry of family. In a few months it will be six years since any holiday was shared with Mom and that is sad to think about, but there are many years to remember sharing the holidays with her. Thanksgiving was one she enjoyed. Christmas definitely was not a favorite holiday for her, but because of how she was about it I very intentionally learned to see it in a different way so I could enjoy it with my children. Sometimes the greatest lessons learned are by witnessing another person’s struggles with a moment in life and I learned to enjoy and celebrate Christmas because Mom did not. Thanksgiving though, was a whole different story! As I cook tomorrow I will have many conversations with my Mother in my heart and in that way she still shares this holiday with me.
Letting go of my youngest son was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do in this life filled with many difficulties. Today the memory of holding him one last time as I released his ashes into the waters of Sunset Beach with my daughter, grandson and his father sits with me strongly today. Celebrating without him here in this world still doesn’t seem natural to me. I still expect to see him or hear from him and am newly crushed when I remember that is not possible in the way I would like it to be. I know if I allow it, if I go there it is so difficult to move out of the pain at all and so I use a lot of energy in shifting the emotions walking with me today. I feel the sorrow but I also allow the flood of wonderful, happy, loving memories to wash over me. I allow myself to see and hear him through the remembrances of him in moments past and it helps ~ it truly helps. I invite my mind to recall all the wonders of my son and show me once again the gift of Joseph. And my mind willingly did just that. How can only sadness stay when in my minds’ eye I am looking upon his face, seeing the mischief and laughter shining in his eyes? I am very grateful I have reached a point in my journey of moving through grief to be able to give power once again to the moments of laughter and joy, the memory of his life rather than feeling and seeing only the moment of his death.
Today I think about one of my older grandchildren. A grandson who is now eighteen and is almost finished his training in bootcamp. In nine short days he will graduate bootcamp and be ready to begin his life in the Navy. Once again my mind pulls up all the worries, all the fears. I go to places of fear, wondering what will become of him? When he is finished his schooling to become a medic will our country still be at war? Will he go off to war? Yes he will if our country is still at war. I also remember all he has ever wanted to be since he could talk was to be in the military. He chose this because this is part of who he is here to be. I allow pride of who he is and who he is becoming to fill me rather than the fears of what if…I send out prayers for all of our sons and daughters, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and grandchildren who today are in the military. All the children of America who tomorrow will not sit around the family table with family and friends to share a Thanksgiving dinner. They will eat their dinner in countries all around the world and some of them in countries where they are in harms’ way. My prayers go out to them all…Creator keep safe all the children of all the countries…keep every one of them safe to live and love. I came upon this picture of my son with his son taken this past summer and it reminds me, as parents there are many ways of letting go. We raise our children the best we can. We prepare them the best we can so when it is time they become part of the adult world and go off to live the journey they are here to live. We open our hands, open our hearts, and we watch them step off into the life that beckons and calls to them. We watch our hearts walk side by side with them, taking them beyond our sight, knowing now is the time to trust all we have shared with them, knowing we prepared them the best we could. Now we share life with them in a different way. We let go of the little child, we embrace the adult we now see and share our lives with and hope they know our hearts stay with them. We let them go into the world hoping they find the happiness that often eluded us. We let them go hoping they fill their lives with more joy, love and success than we perhaps did. We let them go knowing they will experience things we could not even imagine would come into their lives, and they will know exactly what to do with these things and gather the wisdoms and beauty to them. And most of all, we let them go trusting that in many moments yet to come they return to our arms, our hearts and our love gifting us with many more moments of their presence; sharing thier lives with us still. We have learned through our journey with our children, all that truly matters is the love we wove together through the years we have walked together. The greatest gift we give our children is the unconditional love we have for them.
Often when we are in a place of funk we are able to feel we are so alone. We talk ourselves out of reaching out to others, sharing our pain, our shadows because we feel we would burden others with our feelings. And sometimes in the midst of this place an unexpected phone call comes and a friend is on the other end. We listen to them and hear where they are today. We share with them where we are and we find by the end of the conversation we both are feeling better. We both received the reminder we do not walk this life alone. We bear witness to the struggles and the triumphs of each others’ lives and remind one another we walk through this life together. A memory surfaces of another moment in time when a beloved friend was in a difficult place and she had the courage to reach out to me and her other friends, sisters of spirit we call ourselves ~ She found our willingness to assist her to move through the pain she was in that day, and she found we also benefited from what we shared with her that day. At the end of all the release work we shared together, we took time to sit and soak in the beauty of the sunset, the wonders of the twilight. We allowed it to fill the depths of our Being and knew the power of love. When we allow another to see our pain, when we have the courage to walk in our truth; not putting on a false mask with one another we give a gift to one another. We dare to be vulnerable. We dare to risk being rejected or judged when we are in a place within ourselves that is not always roses and rainbows. What I have found by doing this is more times than not, I have found a friend, a sister, or a family member who is there to remind me I do not walk alone. I am reminded I am loved and seen in my pain as well as in my joy. I have found one thing in life I am able to trust and have faith in, is the power of love. As today moves on, the hours tick by and before I know it this day will finish. Tomorrow will be experienced and celebration of Thanksgiving will be created with my son, sister, cousin and friends. I will miss all who are not here to share this day with me, I will reach out to those who live in other places and hear their voices, thus holding them close to me ~ and I will be filled with the gratitude of having people in my life who I have loved and have been loved by in return.
My eyes may fill with tears from time to time tomorrow, or they may glisten with happy memories of moments gone by, but I know my heart will be filled with those who I share tomorrow with. As I finish this writing, as I finish looking through the photographs that have captured for all time, a moment in time, I allow myself to reflect on the memories of love. Everything else changes so many times during a lifetime. Everything else in life shifts and doesn’t stay the same for each moment is unique unto its’ self. What stays the same, or if it changes it changes because it deepens ~ is love. Love of family, love of friends, love of life and this world we all share. When we walk through life we experience it all. We live through moments of joy, happiness, success, love and wonder. We live through pain, through loss, through disappoinments and betrayals. And we overcome many moments of darkness and fear. For myself, I remember because of and in spite of all those things, I am blessed. I am blessed to have had the Mother, sister, son, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Aunts and friends who once walked with me in life. I am blessed to have the children I have, the grandchildren I have, the sisters, family and friends I now have in my life. I am filled with gratitude for all those who have and will continue to walk beside me through this life, being reminded and remembering ~ the greatest gift of all is part of my world each and every day. I love and I am loved. My hope for all who read this is that you also are aware of this gift in your life, each and every day.