Thank you for the warmth and support in your comments on my last post. I find it very therapeutic to write out my feelings here and send them out into the world. As strange as it sounds, I often forget that people read them. Seeing your words of support and feeling the kindness in them has really touched my heart. Thank you.
This is a painting of an angel I did a couple of years ago. I remember showing it to Mum and her loving it.
I have believed in angels ever since I was a little girl.
On 25th April it was the 6 month anniversary of my Mum dying, and recently I've been experiencing a subtle but powerful shift.
Almost every month of the past 6 months has contained a significant date that has scratched at the raw wound that has wanted to heal.
The first Guy Fawkes' Night, the first Christmas and New Year, Mum's 70th birthday, Mothers' Day, Easter.
Each one an accentuation of her absence. But strangely enough, those significant dates have not been the times that have hurt the most.
A little while ago, I returned once again to the hospital where Mum spent her last weeks, for one of my regular appointments there. Seeing the windows to the room where she stayed, I noticed they were open. Another family inside, possibly experiencing something similar to us.
I spent a few moments looking up at those windows, remembering all four of us inside. At the time, trying so hard to know and understand how best to love and support Mum, and how best to be able to let her go.
I find being back at the hospital very painful.
I think grieving is possibly a process of meeting the self. Something I've spent a long time and considerable effort avoiding doing.
If we can stay with ourselves in our darkest times, not abandon ourselves when we are at our most messy, broken and fearful, and not strain to run from our sadness, we get to hit rock bottom and realise it's actually a very solid place to be.
I'm having a deep change of heart.
Building a new way of living that incorporates the grief of losing my mum, a current long-term illness, and a very black and white statistical analysis from the hospital of the possibilities of my developing cancer.
JK Rowling said "Rock bottom is the strong foundation on which I built my life."
I think grief is an opportunity to hit rock bottom, meet ourselves and realise that actually we keep good company.
We are lovable even in our messiness, hurt and feelings of brokenness. I think life is about deeply experiencing all the emotions and feelings, not just the ones we judge as "good". And if we can do that we can find a space of self-acceptance that can't be very easily shaken or disturbed. Our foundation in life becomes much more solid because we become acquainted with our shadows and realise they were only that, shadows. Not anything to be afraid of.
Life sometimes brings pain and struggle, not to make us suffer, but in order, I think, that we become better acquainted with who we really are and to give us an opportunity to meet ourselves when we are cracked wide open and all the masks have fallen away.
So, Spring is here, and I am bobbing along on rock bottom, deeply glad of the solid foundation it gives, and meeting myself face-on.
I've decided that I like who I'm meeting.
Sending you love, wherever you are.