Continuing on from Part 1…
My experience of grief with losing my brother was quite different. With my sister, even though in a way her passing away seemed more sudden, she was more at peace with whatever the outcome of her surgery was. She knew the risks and had come to terms with it. She and our family had a few years of her being on a waiting list to prepare for this. Of course that only goes so far.
When my brother was diagnosed with esophagus cancer, his experience and our family’s experience of walking through that was very different. It was a short time frame to come to terms with what was happening and there was a lot of pain that came to the surface in the process. I wasn’t as close to him, but it was still very difficult.
I found myself getting very angry, and because of the situation we were dealing with, very protective of my parents. I was able to let go of that enough to be able to take time once in a while for a phone conversation with my brother, who lived halfway across the country from the rest of my family.
When he passed away, the funeral felt strange. My parents made the effort to visit him and his family at least once a year, but the rest of us hadn’t really developed much of a relationship with his kids, except for short phone conversations at Christmas and Easter. It almost felt like we didn’t belong there. Later that day, when all my relatives were together, my siblings and I felt a strong need to get away. My younger sister and I were staying with her brother-in-law and his partner. They invited us to bring our siblings over and created a space for us to cut loose, away from all our relatives. I think we were all feeling the same thing about how strange the day felt, and we were all feeling our grief and didn’t know what to do with it. At least we were together.
I ate my way through this one. Chocolate brownies or anything else chocolate I could get my hands on. Ten extra pounds were added on relatively quickly. I gave myself permission. Somehow it comforted me. One can never go wrong with chocolate.
One of the things that I have experienced with grieving is a feeling of complete exhaustion, and wondering if it would ever leave. When my sister died, I wasn’t working so I could stay in bed as long as I needed to. I didn’t have that luxury when my brother died, but I don’t remember needing to as much either.
The one thing I know, from going through this a few times, as I said this in the first part, is that I got through it. I am okay. The emptiness I felt when I lost my siblings is now filled with other things. Eventually grief passes. I once heard someone quote a well know bible verse “Lo, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” he pointed out that it didn’t say to stay there.
I am in a place now, where I am watching my parents as they age. My father is ninety-two. His stamina and ability to get through major health issues amazes me. He’s like a cat with nine lives. He is changing more rapidly now. Sometimes, he stares into space, like he is completely somewhere else. He is forgetful, his hearing is going, he fixates on things that he wants done, and they need to be done now! I know it is just a matter of time. I experience grief when he is ill and I am reminded that he will be gone soon. I will grieve when his spirit finally leaves his body. My mother sometimes suggests that it could be her before him. I find it difficult to imagine either one of them on their own without the other one with them.
I am grateful for the time I have had with my parents. My dad had a heart attack when I was five and I didn’t think he would live until I was an adult. I am now forty-six, so every day is a gift.
I think of the time we are in, where everything is changing and shifting so quickly. We are changing and healing and expanding our consciousness. We are letting go and allowing new into our lives. Life comes to completion and new life is created. Grief and pain and loss will be experienced and we will find strength and healing and something new when we find ourselves on the other side of it.
Stay tuned for Part 3.
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Leah Schroeder is a Reiki Practitioner www.lifeforcehealingservices.ca and Financial Advisor. “I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For most of my 46 years this has been and currently is the place I call home. I have been working as a Financial Advisor for the past 15 years educating people about their finances, helping them restructure and reduce debt, invest for the future and properly protect their families. A strong sense that there is something more I am supposed to do in the world, a fascination with energy and a series of intuitive nudges has led me to begin practising Reiki. I have a desire to learn and practise other healing modalities, as well as serve children and empower young women around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and stories with you.”