It’s New Year’s Eve…
I’m waiting your arrival
To ring in the new year.
We dated years ago and
Despite our differences
I loved you so.
Parting as the best of friends
We still get together
On Saturday nights
And Sunday afternoons
And New Year’s Eves
When there’s no one involved
With you and me.
Sometimes I think, maybe?
Maybe we could love again?
Maybe it would work this time?
It’s New Year’s Eve
The call comes in:
You won’t be coming after all.
It’s New Year’s Eve.
from the book One Heart's Journey: Lyrics of an Imperfect Life
by Kate McGahan
Every grieving mother knows how old her child would be today. You know how old I would be now and how long I’ve been gone. The heart remembers everything. You are connected to me by the love that we share, a love that tugs at your heartstrings at special times. You might find yourself thinking about me continuously one day. You just can’t get me out of your mind! Maybe you even have a dream of me or receive an extraordinary sign. You look at the calendar and realize that it is the anniversary of my passing or my birthday. The heart remembers everything.
“One day without him…”
“He was still here this time last week.”
“I’ve made it through the first two weeks.”
“I can’t believe she’s been gone a month.”
“It’s been 2 months, 2 days, 7 hours, 35 minutes.”
“3 months have passed now.”
“5 months…152 days”
“I’m coming up on 6 months.”
“It’s my first holiday alone.”
“This would have been her birthday.”
We’ve been through one round of all the anniversaries of the heart. 365 days of “first times.” Oh, but it’s still complicated isn’t it? Leaving the first year behind, it’s like we lose that too. The anniversaries will keep coming. There will be days when you just aren’t feeling so strong. Maybe you go a park or a restaurant where we used to go and even though you might have a new friend with you, you are filled with tears and memories of our days together. It’s okay. Let them come. Those were the days my friend…
Creating new traditions is a very good way to move forward, to honor me and to honor the special days of the year. Sometimes you need to create new traditions for yourself when you are faced with loss---or if you are struggling with family issues and disappointments.
Anniversaries and holidays can be difficult at best when your life feels empty or incomplete. One of the things you can do for yourself during these times is to celebrate the life we shared. Do not mourn my loss. Celebrate my life. Create a lovely altar, light a candle. Say your prayers. Invite me to visit you. Talk to me. Tell me about your hopes and dreams. Reflect on the good times. Tell me you love me over and over again. Soak in the happy times of being blessed by someone in your life who loved you and who loves you still. Someone who taught you the meaning of love, not fear. Celebrate our love. Know that love never dies.
When you are visiting people over the holidays who might not understand what you are going through, take something tangible and subtle with you; something that you can wear or hold in your hand when you are you are longing to be with me instead of them. It's okay to talk about it if it feels like the right thing to do for you. It’s okay to not want to talk about too. Just tell them that. It can also be quite handy to excuse yourself so you can go to bed early. That's okay to a point too. You have a very good reason and you are learning at last to take care of yourself. Balance the holiday and try to stay balanced within yourself as you move forward to the next anniversary without me. Balance is the key to all healing. Time and support will take care of the rest.
When you are surrounded by joy and celebration it can actually make you feel worse when you feel worse. If you want to avoid parties and celebrations altogether you can volunteer at a soup kitchen or some other charity event. It often helps one to feel better when they help people less fortunate. You can also opt to stay home, but I will be hoping that you will be willing to share the holiday with someone you love and trust. Someone who lets you be you. Go easy on yourself.
The first of every month would loom ominously. She braced herself every time a new month approached. The August 1 anniversary was tough. Then a funny thing happened. December 1 arrived; sixteen months. The day came and went. On December 2 she realized she had not noticed. She felt guilty at first until she realized it was a sign of her healing. My life was the important thing and our relationship, now on new terms, was all that mattered. She forgot February 1 too! And March! She didn’t remember until after a whole week had passed! Who knew what would happen on April Fool’s Day? Well! She fooled me and remembered! This is how it will happen for you too,
in your own time and in your own way.
This post is an excerpt from our latest book, "Only Gone From Your Sight: A Personal Approach to Human Grief & Loss" Currently available on Kindle and coming soon to Amazon in Paperback!
IF YOU WERE A FLOWER: THE NATURAL CYCLE OF LIFE
An excerpt from our latest book,
"Even the tiniest perennial grows only to die. It comes back again and again when the season and the time is right. Even annual flowers grow seeds as they grow so that they can drop the seeds of themselves and live again year after year, life after life."
Nature continually reminds us of the natural cycles of life. If you were a flower, when the harshness of winter comes you would pull yourself deep inside to protect yourself from freezing, to prevent yourself from dying. You toughen up the outside, close yourself up and go deep within where you are always safe.
Then after quite a long while there comes a bit of warmth and a welcoming day brings with it the thaw. Spring comes and something inside of you stirs. You realize you’ve survived another winter. The ice melts away and you can feel the outside of yourself again. As the warmth so long gone from your life surrounds you, you decide maybe it’s worth blooming again for another season. Hope returns to your heart as you prepare for new life.
You begin to open again as the sun fuels your soul. Your energy returns. An infusion of life force comes to you, giving you more power than you have known since you went into hibernation. This power is the force that pushes you to develop your stems, to press through the soil, to stretch forth and reach towards the light again.
Sometimes Spring can make you an April fool, bringing a bluff! What you planned on, the rain that waters your roots so that you can grow again, turns unexpectedly to ice then snow and it finds you unsuspecting. You are vulnerable and alone, exposed and unprotected. Your tender life is threatened. In some seasons the storm will pass quickly and you will survive; other seasons you can be hurt so deeply that you must withdraw and retreat deep into your roots where you will take the remaining seasons off to rebuild yourself and prepare for the distant day when Spring returns and gives you another chance to thrive.
Despite everything in this year you have survived and in the next season you will grow hardy and beautiful, thriving for the harshness that once threatened you. The early blooms that sprouted, only to be frozen, pinched back by Nature Herself, are destined to return brighter and stronger than ever.
This is the YOU that has grown from the cold harsh winter of your loss. You are the flower that is destined to bloom again. You are the root. You are the bloom. You are the spirit; you are the soul that lives inside every living thing. With each passing season you become stronger and wiser. You go deeper and deeper within where your power can be found. Your roots reach further and further into the quiet nourishing protective earthy space that surrounds you. Look how far you’ve come from being the fragile shoot that first made itself known in the landscape of life!
Your colorful blooms will burst forth stretching now to the sky and you’ll show no fear because you know that no matter what happens you will adjust to the climate that surrounds you and you will be okay. It’s what you’ve learned.
And so it goes.
Now Available on Kindle
Coming Soon in Paperback !
Author Kate McGahan brings 35 years of clinical hospice experience and end of life social work into this uniquely powerful life --changing book! Kate offers her compassion, empathy and understanding which fill this healing book to the rim with substance, spirituality and love. Her empathy allows her to be the voice throughout the book of the one who is dying. This book was written to help the grieving reader to open their mind and heart to all the possibilities in the afterlife.
Learn to communicate with your loved one in new ways as you work together to get through the grief, keeping the powers of faith and love at the forefront. This book applies to anyone grieving the loss of a spouse, partner, parent, child, family member, pet or friend, no matter where they are in the dying process. Life is too short and too long to live under the cloud of heavy grief.
There is no “right way” to grieve. There is no “wrong way” to grieve. There is only YOUR way. Empower yourself with the guidance given in this book and you will find your way out of the grief and back into the power of a love that never dies.
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