TURNING THE CORNER OF GRIEF
Written by Aziza founder, Laila Ghattas
Recently I experienced a small miracle. Actually for me it was not so small.
Quietly on the weekend, I could feel a life force moving back into my being. The dull grey energy-depleting fog had evaporated.
I was turning the corner of my grief.
The death of my beloved pets within 4 months of each other, the first one without warning last September, created shock wave after wave to disrupt my daily activities. Then his brother in January, just before I left for Bali, with sweet gentle most loving last days together because he let me know. Opposite to the trauma of his brother's death, my eldest passed peacefully after helping me through the initial grief of my first loss. Our loss.
I had the buffer of my two months in Bali, busy with new fabric designs and facilitating the annual Bali retreat. It was easier to feel my boycats present with me in spirit. I was in a place that did not hold association with their presence and was relieved that for the first time I didn’t have to worry about them back home as I had for so many other winters.
But coming home, being home, staying home, day in and out, well that brought a relentless of awareness of the physical emptiness I could not have prepared for.
There was so much to do, so many work related tasks and decisions. It came as a big surprise to me, and a looming threat, to not have the energy I’d always counted on to move forward, get things done.
For the most part I’m disciplined in my self-employment. However I found myself gazing for hours in the garden, or making lists I didn't touch, sometimes curled up on the couch, only too aware that a familiar pounce beside me to join under the blanket didn’t come. It would never happen again. I heard no adorable crunching of kibble in the other room. I didn’t have to check kitty litter before clients came for sessions. Each time I came home and opened the front door, there wasn’t a beloved face looking up at me and then running to the kitty door in the back to be let out.
The hundred intimate details of the daily habits and pleasures we shared were relentlessly absent.
Certainly I had enough spiritual grounding to know they were here in spirit.
But in the physical world, my physical space was radically changed and negotiating it was hard. I didn’t like it one bit.
These boys were my children, we were family. If you’re a pet lover reading this, you get it.
Frankly I was surprised how long this listlessness lasted. They were my first pets as an adult. We all grew up together in this house we made into an enchanted home.
Sure I got some work done, the house clean enough and the garden weeded here and there. But not nearly to the degree that was timely, that had seemed necessary as part of the forward motion productivity plan for the year.
Involuntarily, 2015 has become a year to mourn the loss of a way of life I treasured for the last 17 years. It became a year to redefine my life in my home. To evaluate what I need and want and how to get it. A year to explore my inner life even more thoroughly.
The most important decision I made each day was to be gentle with myself. To put down my ambition. To ask for help. To reach out for support on all levels so that I could just be sad when I needed to be sad and not worry about making a living.
It’s taken nearly 4 months since coming home from Bali to feel, really truly feel, the profound sadness lifting. Lifting and evaporating in a way that seems different than the relief I enjoyed here and there throughout the first half of the year.
What’s shifted is that I’m accepting my boys are now here in spirit. I’m not resisting their physical absence. The change in daily routines no longer hurt. More often I simply remember the amazing life we shared together.
The opportunity that I have been given this year is to feel the fullness of the LOVE that lives all around and within me, and you.
I’m not sure I could have attained this bliss had I not hung in there with my sadness, made the space, chosen my emotional needs as priority rather than push myself to finish work lists.
Choosing to generously afforded myself tenderness, kindness and patience.
In Bali I had experienced a whole new level of Divine connection while working with my Shaman. My heart was opened wider than ever and bathed in glorious light. I was so grateful for the experience that grew deeper and more meaningful with each passing week I was there.
When back home this spring I wondered if I’d made this awakening up. Why was it so fleeting, where had it gone, how could I feel so discouraged about everything after feeling so positively expectant just a month before?
What I realize now is I never lost the connection. This gift of Love was always there supporting me through the darkest parts of my journey. Whether I felt it or not, it's like the sun behind overcast skies.
My connection shone through during the days I was available to enjoy friends, movies, good meals, nature. There were times I was aware that underneath my loss, I still loved my life. I just missed my boys.
Happiness has returned to me as my natural default. That’s my miracle. I missed it as much as my boys. This doesn't mean I don't feel negative emotions. Just that I've come back home to myself.
I’ve accepted the transition of my pets in my life, and my new sense of home. Life energy is growing inside me daily. Sweet clarity unfolds in its wake.
The abiding gift in this painful experience is knowing I am complete no matter what my external life gives or takes.
My joy comes from an eternal source that is available to comfort and fill me up no matter what is going on.
My beloved boys helped bridge me to a level of self-love I never experienced before. Which is poignantly ironic since I thought so much of my happiness was derived from and dependent on us being here together.
Love doesn’t die with those who leave. Even when it feels like it.
The real gift of hanging in with unfolding grief is feeling the embrace of this Divine Truth as the corner of pain is turned.
Written by Aziza founder, Laila
Ghattas July 2015