On this day of remembrance, September 11, for all of those who were brutally ripped away from their loved ones, may we all take a moment in silence and remember those that are gone, but also do not forget those who are still here and grieving. Reach out with compassion to them, and anyone you know who is grieving, sit with them, ask them how they are doing and listen, hold their hand, give them your full attention and let them feel the love of your heart spreading out like a soothing balm. Love and compassion are what those of us who grieve need, and please do not be afraid to ask what we need! Show up with love and compassion and what a gift you will have given to yourself and the world.
Just when you think you have reached the place where you know how to deal with grief, the sky falls and you are left to pick up the pieces once again. You start to question all that you are, and perhaps that is a part of the experience, you are after all not your thoughts. You thought you were a good, loving supportive parent to your child after his father died, however just today you were reminded once again how much you failed. Your heart is aching, you feel the weight of bitterness pulling up a chair and settling in. Just when you think you have reached a new door, you are tossed right back. There is so much to learn, and the work is staring you in the face. (You are not your thoughts). In fact, it is smothering you and you feel as if you cannot breathe as your heart is racing and your head pounding. You have done it again, given away your power and voice, didn’t hold your ground and now your child has taken you down and you are locked in a room staring down all the familiar emotions of grief yet again. You wonder how you arrived back at this door and feel a tad sorry for yourself because you have worked so hard and diligently to move beyond this point. You immediately recognize what you have done to get here, and that is a step into the light and where the real work can begin again. What you didn’t expect were all these feelings of loss.
Grief is a difficult partner; it never gets comfortable and is constantly thrashing about, turning you inward, upside down and sometimes kicking you to the ground. I am down for the count, better settle in and acknowledge it is here again in full force, and perhaps for my child as well. It is after all our season; we begin to count the days inching toward “the day”. We both know it, and yet here we sit mired in pain. I do believe it will be easier to get up this time because we have more tools, and time has softened the hard edges, but it still sits there in wait for us both. These next few months will be a challenge to get through with so many pivotal events such as birthdays (all of ours), the eighth anniversary of his death, the holidays and not to mention the beginning of yet another school year for my son without his father.
May he find the grace not to hold me in blame or be angry because it’s me that is here and not his father, or actually that we are both not here. His perfect world came crumbling down that day, but it wasn’t perfect I know that and I hope he does as well. For me it will be a challenge to stand tall and not let his pain of grieving knock the air out of my lungs, and poke a hole into my already bleeding heart. I will try not to shut down. This grieving process is rough business and I have work to do, much work to do. Calling on everything that is meaningful to me for strength and courage at this time, and knowing I will survive, as will my child. This place called grief is always lingering just outside our door, and try as we might not to welcome it in, it enters just the same and we must learn to sit with it and hold ourselves with compassion and love.
Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.
It is with great interest that I reread this piece, as on the day of September 11, I was trying to protect my son from the unfolding horror and kept the television off before he went to school, sending him to school in what I thought was a more peaceful state. However, once he arrived there they watched the events develop all day and when he came home he was angry with me for not sharing with him before he left for school (he was in Grade 4). I am once again reminded, that we cannot protect those we love; we can only give them our love and compassion.