It’s early, Felix still asleep on this hazy summer morning, cicadas humming after their mysterious emergence from seven years underground. I feel unusually resistant to writing, make a cup of tea, rouse Felix and send him off to wake up his aunt Adrian, who is visiting from Montreal to work in the garden.
From the outside, this summer has been good: a successful kids’ camp, reawakening the garden from a field of weeds, a magical music festival, parent-child soccer games with Felix’s team, fun times at the beach, progress with our charity and most astounding for me, cleaning up decades worth of clutter from the clinic and our living space with the assistance of several lovely helpers.
On the inside, things are murky…vacant…stuffed with unresolved grief over my sister’s death in December. I haven’t been able to focus enough to release it, even after talking to her twice through medium Laura Traplin—although it was hugely helpful to hear Lili’s words coming from the other side. Laura’s question, “Was your sister bossy?” made me laugh out loud with affection for this intense, talented woman who even as a spirit took control of our sessions. It was wonderful to hear that Lili wants to assist the work here, specifically on the subject of healing the brain.
Now Lili’s memorial is coming up, the results of months of meticulous planning by other people. I didn’t help at all, my mind solidly frozen on that topic. Getting ready to drive to upstate New York is like going into a chamber of horrors for me, although that is starting to change as I am finally forced to plan my speeches, a credit to the usefulness of these events.
The result of not processing this grief has led to great fatigue, irritability, depression and disturbed sleep. I go through periods of pulling into myself and not responding to the people around me. Emails and phone calls go unanswered. I sleepwalk through the days, forgetting things and being impatient with others. During skype therapy sessions with Josea Crossley I want to climb the walls, strangle her and run away, but they do help after all, taking me through small layers of pain and allowing me windows of peace. Most remarkably, even in the middle of all this stuckness, my digestion is starting to normalize after decades of problems. I am amazed and grateful.
During my brief evening meditations, I realize that all is actually well. I will emerge from this grief, my life is coming together, I have remarkable people around me, I will reconnect with my friends who will forgive me this absence and my body will recover to a better than ever state of health. Together with supportive staff, I am planning the next steps of the centre with more care and thoughtfulness than I have shown in the past and see it blooming in light, able to nourish people of all ages in this beautiful nature.
It’s 4am next day. The full moon shining through my bedroom window has brought me fully awake. Crickets and frogs seem very loud. I give up trying to get back to sleep and decide to finish this blog over cider and organic chocolate, smile…
Since starting to write yesterday morning, two disturbing things happened: a difficult meeting with Adrian and her father wherein I was not at all useful and making a blatant error in moving forward with the centre. Both events jolted me into once again facing my tendency to be manic, complete with delusional thinking. I went into typical despair, questioning my ability to run this place and complaining to all around me, a cycle that happens regularly, testing the patience of staff and friends.
Then I caught myself, dropped into my breath, stopped whining, corrected the work error with apologies to the people affected and reframed the perception of my daughter’s situation with more understanding, less judgement and a warm openness of heart.
Being upset about my inadequacies in parenting and work is similar to my grief over Lili’s early death. I have been blaming myself for not being sufficiently evolved to help her heal. Never good enough…not okay to simply be human and do my best. It’s not grief that is stuck, it’s unresolved guilt from expecting too much of myself—the grief is underneath…
It’s still dark outside. I sit and breathe quietly into this awareness, not for the first or last time I’m sure, but grateful to feel compassion and acceptance for myself in this moment. It has helped enormously to write, thank you for listening.
Hoping you are enjoying your summer and having your own insights during moments of relaxation…