Saturday, 25 July 2015

On Losing My Parents, Keeping The Faith, Healing and Gratitude

six of cups rider waite tarot of the new vision
“Grief can be a burden, but also an anchor. You get used to the weight, how it holds you in place.” 
Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

On 7th July my father died. His funeral was two weeks ago, on Thursday, the 16th.

He was 93 years old, frail and wanted to go, because he was sick of his body slowly giving up on him.

With my father gone, I'm now an orphan as my mother died in 2001.

Most of us will have to endure the loss of our parents at one point in our lives. It's a daunting rite of passage borne out of the natural flow of life.

I can feel the gaping hole in my life. Even though I didn't always get on with my parents, I know they always loved me unconditionally.

There is nobody else, who loves me this way.

Unconditional love is a very rare commodity. Friends and lovers come and go, and yes, of course there is love, but it tends to come with strings attached such as compromises and adjustments.

If it doesn't work out, people move on.

But my parents never did, even though I did some crazy things in the past they didn't approve of. I always had their unconditional love and a safe haven to retreat to when my world was crashing apart.

I'd like to think they are still around somehow and watch over me.

But faith for me isn't just about something I wish or believe.

I am having faith in myself, knowing that despite my loss I am grateful and enjoy life.

I know that a new chapter has begun for me, and I keep growing and evolving, and there will always be change that needs to be embraced rather than resisted.

My broken heart will heal, yet a scar will remain, and that scar will teach me more lessons about life, love, compassion, impermanence, letting go and making the most of the time I have on this planet.

My parents will always be part of me. The way they brought me up is reflected in my personality today.

Both were victims of the Second World War, which affected them deeply. No doubt that burden has been passed on to me during my childhood, even though I am carrying a lighter load.

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
William Shakespeare,
Macbeth


Memories are invoked when looking through old photo albums. Pictures of my parents being young and in love, stylish black and white photos from the 50s and early sixties.

I will be sharing a few of them on Instagram, not just because they are about my parents, but they are such fascinating images from a bygone era.

Posting those pics won't be dwelling and being depressing, but it will be joyful and fun.

“Everyone grieves in different ways. For some, it could take longer or shorter. I do know it never disappears. An ember still smolders inside me. Most days, I don’t notice it, but, out of the blue, it’ll flare to life.”
Maria V. Snyder,
Storm Glass


I keep thinking about the way I grieve. Am I grieving at all?

Since my return from Germany, after one day of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, I have had the urge to get back to my work and my life. Just as if nothing happened.

Of course I cried.

Firstly, when I saw my father lying on his deathbed in the hospital, knowing that this would be the last time I would ever see him.

I spoke to him and stroked his forehead. When I felt it was time to go, I covered his face with the white sheet the nurse had pulled back earlier.

Secondly, at his funeral surrounded by family and friends, when I had to leave him for good.

There were a few tears in between, but otherwise grief hasn't overcome me. They say that grief comes in waves, and I know that there will be moments in which I will miss him terribly, just like my mother, who died in 2001.

But life is for the living, and I know there is still so much for me to do. All that knowing is the basis of my faith.

Healing and Gratitude 

Perhaps you are going through a similar situation. Bereavement requires healing. There is something you can do to help yourself heal.

30 Days of Healing

Very simply, pull a card from your favourite Tarot / oracle deck each day to explore "What can I do today that will help me heal?"

Here, you learn to nurture and empower yourself to help you move forward.

30 Days of Gratitude

Just like above, pull a card each day to explore "What can I be grateful for today?"

This is a good exercise to practice positive thinking.

I have created a special journaling sheet you can use for both explorations. Click on the link below to download and save it on your device. You will need to print it twice for 30 days of exploration:

Healing/Gratitude Exploration (PDF document)

The sheet is designed in such a way, that you don't need to write a lot each day; a powerful word or phrase is all you need, and it is easier to remember, too. Make it as practical as possible, so it is easy for you to take action.

If you publish the sheet with your writing on social media, please add hashtag #cosmicjournaling. I'd love to see how you get on with it, and your feedback is so very much appreciated.

This journaling sheet and so many more will be included in my new ebook.

Warmest wishes,

Christiane



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6 comments:

  1. Oh hun, I'm so very sorry. Warm gentle hugs from me, and lots of healing to you! I see quite a few parallels in your situation to mine, my own dad is 86 and my mum passed five years ago. What you say is so true. They are never truly gone, but it is a great transformation from a parent who's alive and physically present, to an ancestral spirit and many memories tugging at our hearts.
    Much love!

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    1. Dear Sibylle, thank you so much for your comforting and beautiful words. ((((Hugs)))))

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  2. First a warm and comforting hug for you Christiane!
    "a daunting rite of passage" Before losing a parent it is impossible to know how much this hurts. I've lost my dad 5 years ago and although the scar remains, living with it gets easier. Take it one day at the time and don't be surprised if grief catches up with you unexpectedly.
    Hugs

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    1. Thank you, Ellen. You are right, it will get easier with time. At the moment though I keep thinking I could have done more for my father during his final days to make him more at ease, and these thoughts hurt the most right now. I suppose that's part of the grieving process. Big hug to you too (((((()))))))

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  3. Thank you for this heartfelt post.

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    1. You're welcome, Leslie. Thank you for stopping by.

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