March is a month of bittersweet memories for me. My son, my father and now my friend Debbie Farrell have all slipped away in March.
When people die we wish for one more hug, smile, laugh, dance, “I love you”. We feel we have lost them but really they’ve only stopped by for a while, touched us and left.
Some leave an indelible mark on us. We feel their physical departure as though a piece of us has been ripped away and we can tumble into grief. It’s just fine to spend some time there as grief is an expression of the depths of our love for each other.
But I spent some time wallowing in this place and that is when grieving becomes unhealthy. We can get pulled into feelings of guilt (why am I here and she’s not? or I should have done more for him.) or feelings of attachment (I can’t or won’t live without you.) or feelings of obligation (I’m not supposed to be happy)
When we hear it said that we must leave the past behind and move on we’re not talking about forgetting our loved ones. We’re talking about releasing the pain, guilt and attachments and allowing ourselves to continue to live happy, fulfilling lives.
Our memories are our gifts of love and gratitude for having had the pleasure of spending time with each other. Open them often and experience those delicious moments again. It can reawaken some of that sadness but that can feel sweet too.
I sing in a small choir that is currently working on a beautiful song by Eleanor Daley – In Remembrance. The words are so touching I’ll share them here:
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glint on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle morning rain.
And when you wake in the morning’s hush,
I am the sweet uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.
Here is a gorgeous performance by the Stanford Chamber Chorale
Let your self enjoy the memories and then go out and create new ones.