How do you mourn someone not gone.
Sitting at the dining room table this week, my husband and I were making a grocery list, “We need to remember a Mother’s Day card for your mom,” I mentioned to him. Then I thought, we won’t be picking one up for my mom. Before another thought could enter my head, I heard, “Baby, that’s because I see you all the time now.” My mom. I laughed and thought back to her, “That’s right.” Since my mom’s death in July of 2012 we’ve developed quite the new relationship. It’s didn’t start out smooth, but you roll with what you are given, and I treasure the relationship I have with her now.
You can read more about our Mother-Daughter relationship in my re-posted blog from December 2012.
I’ve been asked how I’m doing during this first holiday season with my mom gone. My answer is always, “I’m doing fine.” I am fine, but I’m also being challenged.
Since I opened up myself to the spirit world, death is now different to me. My mom’s death is very surreal. One moment she was in front of me, and next she just on the other side of this veil I get to cross when I do shamanic journeying. There I can feel her, hug her, talk to her in the ways spirits talk to me, all in this other place. Here in our world, I sense her the moment I think about her, and I often hear her and see signs from her. I know many who have lost their loved ones would think this is wonderful. Yet it challenges me.
When mom died I immediately stopped journeying. Somehow I knew I was going to see her in my journeying right away. It wasn’t until a month after her death that I went to a peer gathering at my shamanic mentor’s home that I journeyed again. Sure enough, the second I step into my beautiful meadow where my journeys begin my mom was there waiting excitedly. Mom has always been a “rip the band-aid off” kind of person. So, she was excited to show she was fine, and all she was doing and seeing. It was wonderful to see her so happy and out of pain, but it made her death even more surreal. It was hard to believe she was gone. How do you mourn your loss when that person is just there instead of here?
My journeys that followed, my mother would find ways to insert herself, trying to help and be part of them where she could. Mean while in this world, I would receive calls, texts and other notes from my sisters having moments where it would hit them hard that mom was gone. I been feeling like an observer verses a participant in their mourning. My heart hurts because my sisters are in pain, but I think I’ve also been a little jealous. I could see they are also healing and I’ve been just spinning in my confusion and the surreal-ness of it all just seemed to be growing.
As a now practicing spirit talker, my understanding of life and death was already changing. Mom’s death unlocked a door into huge new relationship with this understanding. The word “gone” changed. “Gone” from where? “Gone” to where? “Gone” from who?
A few months ago I hit a low when my mom showed up in a journey for a soul retrieval I was about to perform. I asked my mother to leave, that I needed to mourn her. She understood and left. I felt awful and relieved all at once. Guilt settled in and I kept thinking, and still do, about all those that would kill to see their loved ones like I do. I wondered if mom hadn’t shown up after I had mourned her, if this would have been easier? But, I don’t like to live in would-of’s and could-of’s. I actually get that from her.
With my mom gone now from my spirit work, I hoped I could quickly squeeze in my mourning and move-on. Most who have lost a love one knows this doesn’t work, and yet I worked hard at it. I tried to desperately to trigger it. I would flip through photos of mom and recount great memories with her. I even relived her last 3 days – which were absolutely the worst memories in my life. No one should watch their love one being eaten alive by cancer. Yet, I’m just one of millions who have. I was desperate to “crack”. I so wanted to feel her gone. I would force the memory of the morticians taking her body away to remember she was gone. In the end it only just made me physically sick with the memory of her pain. I still didn’t feel like she was gone. Because she wasn’t.
Our loved ones are never gone. It’s taken me a while, on this not so fun roller coaster, to realize I’m not going to feel her gone because she is not for me. She is very much with me. What I now can mourn is the end of the relationship we had. The “this worldly” contact with her. I mourn the loss of family gatherings where we all could enjoy conversations that include her loving harassment of all of us. I mourn watching my mother and father exchange affections and then drive each other nuts next. I mourn the loss of what used to be, but I don’t mourn my lost of her, because I did not lose her.
I can’t say realizing this has made it suddenly better, but it helped make me shift to where I do see healing ahead. My mother must have sense this too. A few weeks ago I was in the middle of teaching a small group when a text message came through. (Note: I always silence my phone, but a “beep” came right on through.) My message was from a friend whose grandmother was in hospice. She text me her grandmother was struggling to die. My compassionate group immediately said they would wait. A quick journey to grandma’s room I saw her “door” to cross was open and her deceased husband was there to greet her. All main pieces were in play, so I asked grandma how I could help. She immediately said, “I’m ready. I can feel the pressure of everyone saying I can go, but I’ve been so alive my entire life… I just don’t know how to die.” I didn’t know what to say. I told her with a smile, “Honestly, I didn’t know either.” I told her I would ask her loved ones to back off just a little. It was at that moment my mom returned for the first time since I asked her to go. She looked at me and then directly at grandmother and said, “I can help you. I know how to die. I can show you.” She then looked back at me and said, “I got this baby, go back to you class.” And like the good kid, I did what my mom told me to do.
Deep in a meditation with my small group, my friend’s grandma came back through wearing a party tiara that she had been given at her birthday party weeks earlier. She was looking through her door and then looked back at me and ask, “Can I take my tiara with me?” I couldn’t help but giggle and said, “Of, course.” Later I found that she had crossed at that moment.
In all my reading on Shamanic Practices, I yet to have found the guide to mourning your own loved ones. I’m sure it’s there, and if not, it would have been handy. Mourning is different for all of us, and I think patience and our own deep listening on what we personally need to heal is the bottom line. With a little helps from Spirits and my not-so-patience method, but eventually deep listening, I have discovered a new relationship with my mother has begun, a new twist, but with the same mother-daughter love from where we left off.