Life’s Twists and Turns

Time is a funny thing – how it passes slow and fast at the same time, or stops all together. Has it really been five months since I last posted? Well, yes, it has.

A fog rolled in late in December disguised as my mother’s deathbed. This was her second visit here in six months. And, as she does, it would also be the second time in six months she would find her way back to the flow of life. As a daughter, I feel wiped out by those visits to the brink. Her departure is inevitable, we know, but even so, are we really ready for her to go? With her light restored, I left for my annual month in Perdido Key, Florida – quiet surf, sun and sand.

As I started my trek back north, I learned my father was ailing and he passed away in the wee morning hours of Valentine’s Day. It has been nearly 3 months now and it still seems strange. He was 85. He lived a long and rich life. He was in pain. It wasn’t bad that he passed. It’s just that life is different since he transitioned. We held a private family service in late March so the month between his death and the service were unsurprisingly foggy, and it continues.

I feel grateful that my work life is flexible so I can allow myself the breaks that grief and change need. I have enjoyed the misty mental states of these many days. I keep an incredibly slow pace which helps, too. I started the year with the intention to clear out the needless things. I can say with certainty that losing a loved one enhances the “needless” filter. Funny how the Universe aligns to your intentions.

It was 35 years ago that I found myself in a similar place with far less life experience and no sense of the attunement I had then and have now. My beloved grandmother died at the young age of 71. Her love and her absence were my sole focus for weeks and it felt like I lived in another world, a better world. And then life crept back in. I am here again and wondering:   How does one keep this connection when life is calling you back in? Does one have to answer that call?  Is there a better call to seek? How do I keep the ground fertile for this call? For now, holding these questions helps me stay in step with this connection, clarity and knowing.  

Some of you likely know that just over sixteen years ago, I quit drinking with the great support of AA. In the rooms, I heard often the wise counsel to “do the next right thing.” This simple teaching is a reminder to take one day/hour/moment at a time, especially when under the duress of the urge to drink but also always.. It’s a powerful practice in narrowing your focus and seeking your wisdom, “What is my next right thing?” It’s in the worry beyond the next right thing that access to wisdom is reduced. When sharing this with clients, I often use the metaphor  of driving in the fog at night, your headlights show you just enough of the road ahead for you to proceed, and at slower speeds. Don’t let the dark and the fog distract you, for you can see enough to proceed one step at a time.

I will admit there is joy in the fog and support in simple soothers like the colors in our budding spring, abundant birdsong of the season, a deep breath, a long forward bend, sharing tea with a friend, and the loving notes and calls from friends who know grief and change are not single-moment events. In the sadness and wonder of this loss, I feel so clear-minded and connected to the energy of the Universe. This is the difference in me 35 years later. More please.