Reclaiming Your Joy After Loss
Monday morning my niece called to tell me that an ambulance was taking my sister to the hospital. I knew immediately that this was it for her. She’s had health challenges over the years, but up until Monday Morning, I hadn’t felt it was her time yet. Now it was. I wasn’t surprised when my niece called me to say that she died at the hospital.
I work with grief and grieving people every day, I write about it in all my social media, and I even wrote my book about it which launches January 19. And I thought I had a handle on it, that I could keep everything in perspective, but I fell apart yesterday.
I was thinking about when a week ago someone told me her friend just died. I found myself struggling for the right thing to say. Immediately “I am sorry for your loss” popped into my head, but I stopped myself from saying that. The phrase seems empty to me, something I advise others not to say. It feels like the “Have a nice day” in the world of loss. In that moment, I realized that people say it out of compassion not knowing what to say to truly offer comfort. And yesterday, there was no comfort to be found for me.
I always seem to be the one to do what I can for others and have a difficult time asking for help myself, but yesterday, I reached out. My dear friend Rose has been a chosen sister to me for years. She called, and I cried, and I could feel her support from way across the ocean on the mainland. She said for me to sit where I could put my feet stretched out in front of me, then that I should see her sitting across from me and putting the soles of her feet against mine. She said, “feel that energy,” and I did feel the energy in my feet that spread a warmth and comfort up my body. I had never done anything like that before. The uniqueness of the experience made it powerful, and I was able to inhale without tears.
Rose also sent me a link to beautiful music that was so comforting. You can listen to it on YouTube: “In Dreams” by Jai Jagdeesh. Music is so healing.
Then I heard from another dear chosen sister, Saundy, who said, “My heart goes out to you. I pray comfort of fond memories swell to far outweigh the pain of the loss.” Those words were powerful, healing words that brought comfort. I realized that I don’t ever need to think of saying “I am sorry for your loss” again, but that I can say beautiful things than can demonstrate love and support.
This morning I had to get out of the house. I picked lots of flowers from my garden: roses, hibiscus, lavender, crown flowers, and more. My friend Vic drove me to a lava beach called La Perouse. The weather was perfect, and the water was so clear that you could see right to the floor of the ocean. I scattered the flowers in the water and stood still just sending love out to my sister. After a while, Vic gently tapped my shoulder and motioned for me to look down, and there was a butterfly sitting on my slipper with its wings together. I carefully got my phone in position to catch a picture and stood there until it opened its wings to fly away. I felt that Linda had come to pay me a visit, and I knew all is well.