Grief and Healing

The Chaos of Grief

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In grief, we create distractions — working harder, drinking, writing, drugs, traveling, volunteering, gambling. Whether or not they serve the highest good for us, the distractions wrap us up like a warm blanket, creating a white noise around our screaming hearts.

I have several distractions shared between work, classes, my meditation and Reiki practice, writing my book, Sunday drives, volunteering and meeting up with numerous friends. For the last two years, just about every day/night has been filled with an activity. But there have been moments, when a pocket of free time finds its way to me.

And that is when I feel the “chaos.”

The physics meaning of “chaos” is “behavior so unpredictable as to appear random owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.” But the chaos of grief is that it was the result of a MASSIVE change in our lives. And the “unpredictable behavior” is a response to quelling the pain so that we do not fully lose ourselves. For myself I quell the noise by going to the casino.

When Derek was alive, we used to go to the casino only when my hand “itched” or when Derek had a dream of our number 123. And just as sure as we were of our intuition, we would head to AC to Empire and win a handsome amount. We would then treat ourselves to a celebratory dinner or brunch (if we stayed up all night) and would tuck the rest away for safe-keeping. Sometimes we would go to AC just to walk the boardwalk just enjoying the lights, music and energy of the place.

After he passed, when I hand would itch I would go to the casino and hear Derek direct me to the slots — I would play and stop just when telepathically he would say that the machines were done. While I was winning money, being at the casino felt empty  and yet I also felt anchored to a memory that had implanted memories of me and Derek deeply into myself. For me, the money did not matter as long as I was able to pretend for a moment that Derek was alive and with me. And so my “chaos” became driving to Empire Casino regardless of if my hand itched or not. Sometimes I would just sit and not play listening to the ringing of the Slot machines around me watching people win and lose. And sometimes I would play and lose big. Last night was one of those nights.  But as I drove the solitary road back over the Tappan Zee bridge, I heard my voice tell me that I was trading one pain for another.

I woke up with those words still ringing in my ears along with the song “Breathe Me” by Sia.

Just as portrayed in the video below, grief pulls all the “sides” of us out that are hurting and depressed — the child, the playful joker, the mother, the friend, or the lover. And in those moments when we feel like we’re falling we find support in outlets that do not serve our highest good. However, it is also important to embrace and celebrate those moments because in them we find our greatest strength. And we also realize that the work that we do for ourselves is not just for us but for all others who feel like falling.

So in the realization of being aware of my “crutch” I do not judge myself but lovingly know that every day is a new day to listen to our inner experience and reassure myself that whatever I have experienced in “that past moment” will not become my “NOW moment.” There will be many times when I will fall but I am now aware that each one makes me wiser and more graceful in navigating my choices. There are no mistakes in life as each event brings us into an opportunity to unconditionally love and accept ourselves and others.

 

Sia – Breathe me from PK on Vimeo.

Lyrics: “Breathe Me” – Sia

Help, I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And the worst part is there’s no one else to blame
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Ouch I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found,
Yeah I think that I might break
I’ve lost myself again and I feel unsafe

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Reflections: One Day Back

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During my Sunday drive, I stopped for coffee and saw a black Subaru with the license plate — “One Day Back.” What was special about this instance is that the first time I saw the plate, it was 1 year ago to the day I saw its return. And the question in my head was the same…”What I would give to hav1 Day Backe 1 day back with Derek.”

Today, marks the 2 year anniversary that Derek has passed through the veil. I had no idea that morning I would leave for work with him walking me  to the bus stop, that it would have been the last time I would ever see my best friend again. And while I have resolved within myself the guilt that I felt for leaving him I still wonder “what would today look like if he were here?”

I imagine that I would be walking to the bus stop that morning for work with Derek and our year-old daughter – Graecyn kissing me to have a good day. During the day, he would be running his marketing company, Mark Collateral while taking our daughter out for a walk through Hook Mountain — his favorite hiking spot. Throughout the day he would take selfies and then send them to me to show me what great of a day they were having. I would come home and we would spend the rest of the day together…happy…

That is only 1 scenario of the many ways I have seen June 11th play out if he were here…

This morning I woke up looking at the empty side of the bed and his ashes that rest on the mantle…and I come to the realization that that “one day back” will reside only in my dreams. And with that thought I cry hard resigning to spend this June 11th in bed. It was in that exact moment that I received a text from my best friend, Rachael it said:

It’s hiding but the sun still rose again today, keep breathing, keep living, keep shining your light. Derek is always smiling on you. So happy to see you today. BREATHE! xoxoxo

And I got up and booked a massage…

When I think of “One Day Back” I think of all of the amazing days that I “lost” when Derek passed. But then am reminded in moments like these of all of the AMAZING days that have I have “gained” and have manifested into my life in celebration of his life.

Because of Derek, I bravely look into the deepest parts of myself and move into a path of healing, grace and acceptance of all of me. My heart is fuller, more open and allows me to demonstrate forgiveness, compassion, understanding, generosity, kindness, cheerfulness, positivity, and love. I am more aware of my divinity and of the universe and how we are always held and supported. Magic exists in this world and I see it manifested every day

Because of Derek, I am a Energy Healer and Grief Counselor helping others navigate through the deepest and darkest parts of themselves.P1000637

Because of Derek, I have discovered the treasure of deep and satisfying friendships with amazing men and women who either through their own loss and grief or challenges have inspired me to keep getting up and bravely live life. It is my deepest honor to call you my family.

My heart is still broken and the pain is sometimes unbearable but I will not jump on the “anniversary train.” For June 11th not only represents an incredible physical loss but the start of an eternal life with Derek that that inspires and keeps me helping others.

When I finally got out of bed I found a card on the floor from Derek in which he wrote “I love you with the deepest part of my soul now and through eternity…We’re on a Journey Together…”

We certainly are on a journey and have been even before I met you…thank you for always reminding me that love never dies.

 

 

What I’m Watching: “Mr. G and Jellybean”

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A BEAUTIFUL story that shows how the pathways of grief is felt energetically and physically — but that deep emotions and love never ends.

I’ll Love You For A Thousand Years

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Over thirty years ago, a little boy from Connecticut dreamed of being friends with a brown-eyed girl with red suspenders and pig tails. In the Bronx, that little girl knew that she would be with a boy with sparkling blue eyes. And when she finally met him for the first time, she told him ‘she was going to marry him’ to which he replied ‘thank God, I thought you would have found me crazy had I said it first.’

That night I was blessed with the gift of my twin soul connection – the other half of my soul. P100018000

Through Derek I learned that no matter how many people I’ve lost in my life, I had an enormous love to share with the world.

I learned that fear was a choice as I explored the world and the deepest and best parts of myself with wonder and enthusiasm. Derek learned how unconditional love can transform the deepest part of a being (no matter how hurt or damaged) into an illuminated being of love. I also learned how to drive really, really fast. J

It has been a year, since my illuminated twin soul has left this physical world. And not a day passes that I do not wish to look upon those sparkling blue eyes. But, as he promised, Derek has never left my side and in the last year, I have been blessed and have learned more than I ever could imagine.

 I’ve learned that:

Love Never Fails.” This was on the cross that I received from an anonymous sender the day Derek passed, but it speaks to the truth that true love, unconditional love lasts beyond this physical world and radiates forever. Derek supports me every day in the mundane and magical sense and my life has been forever changed.

I’ve learned that we are divine beings having a human experience. And we can make our choices in life either based on FEAR or LOVE. I may have experienced death more than most but I always strive to operate out of love and compassion.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, I have learned that I am LOVE and am LOVED. I thank God for my family especially at NBC and my core group who hold my hand every day, make sure that I am breathing when I forget how to and know when I say that “I’m Ok” that sometimes I am Ok but most of the times I’m not just trying to be strong and that’s “OK.” I am also blessed that Derek has guided me to meet “angels” who like myself have lost their soul mates and through the journey have taught me incredible strength, love and compassion. I love you all.

I’m only mid-way in my journey and have so much more to learn and be inspired by. The pain is still ever-present and I acknowledge that it will be a part of me today, tomorrow, 5 years from now or until the day I pass into the next realm. But the one lesson that I’ll never forget is that “I have loved Derek for a thousand years; I’ll love him for a thousand more.”

Signs and Messages: Dragonfly

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They that love beyond the world
cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies| William Penn

I had originally intended to make tonight’s posting about two books I have been reading — Heaven and Earth by James VanPraagh and Psychic Intuition by Terry and Linda Jamison. However as I started to type, I felt the need for some background noise and decided to look for a movie to watch. So, it wasn’t just a coincidence that I would open the video cabinet and see the movie title, Dragonfly staring right at me.

Since Derek’s passing, I’ve been graced with the presence of dragonflies. An insect that I may have seen only a couple of times in my lifetime, has been appearing everywhere — in front of my home, darting around the car as I commute to work; I’ve even seen them in the city.

Dragonfly at Bear Mountain

Their presence has been so noticeable I had to look up their symbolism: Dragonflies are a symbol of spiritual awakening, rebirth and immortality. When mating, dragonflies form a heart shape so they are also a symbol of love. The spirit of love is evident in this film.

In the movie, Kevin Costner plays, Joe Darrow, an Emergency Room doctor mourning the death of his wife in a bus accident in South America. Overcome with grief, he begins seeing signs of his wife trying to reach to him from beyond the grave — some of it revolving around a dragonfly which was representative of a birthmark on his wife’s shoulder and was her totem.

As  Joe, who is an atheist, tries frantically to make sense of it all , his colleagues and friends begin to worry that he is losing his mind. In a pivotal scene in which Joe is tying to make sense of everything, his close friend, Miriam (played by Kathy Bates) tells him, “You gotta do the hard stuff, like I did. Like everyone does. You gotta clean out the closets, empty the drawers… and take down the vacancy sign that says “Emily’s ghost is welcome here”…and get on with your life without her.”

Even when others tried to stop him, he persisted in the belief that Emily was reaching out to him.  As he began “opening his mind and heart to faith”, he was led to a small village in Columbia where he discovered that his wife had given birth to a child before she passed. When he sees his daughter he realizes that she too has a dragonfly birthmark. Had Joe listened to the ego instead of his intuition, we would have missed his miracle. “What she (Emily) taught me in life, she taught me in death…to trust, to have faith. Because as a friend of mine once said, “It’s belief that gets us there.””

Our loved ones are always around to support us with their love and guidance. However it is only when we put ego aside and believe that we are able to see their signs.

Derek used to tell me that we were a “power-soul” couple. While it is suggested that we have multiple soul mates in life, he knew that it has always been just the two of us through all of our lifetimes and that our love in this lifetime would be so strong that it would radiate beyond death.

Since, the moment of Derek’s passing he has been giving me messages of love and has been guiding me towards a journey of spiritual awakening. While the sadness and pain of his loss is very real, the last three months have been a miracle. I am blessed to have a guardian angel who has never left my side and who blesses me with signs and messages that re-affirms that love never dies. He is helping me to find my life’s purpose and to live life as authentically as possible. Had I listened to others and just moved on I would have missed this miracle. Because of the strength of our love I never faltered in faith, and because of that I see life differently — I feel life differently. I see and feel how our paths and its actions and inactions are all interconnected.

Even in spirit, Derek always has his arms wrapped around me and I welcome it with extreme gratitude. I feel his physical loss everyday, but I’ve learned that in death a new life comes into the world. In Derek’s passing, a new life of love has been born through me that continues to amaze me. “Love Never Fails” whether in this life or in the next and it is belief in the power of that love that gets us there.

Reflections: Elephants Mourn the Death of “The Elephant Whisperer”

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I just wanted to take an opportunity to share this beautiful and inspiring story that a friend just emailed to me.

Lawrence Anthony, a renowned conservationist passed away on March 7th. Two days later, his family witnessed the solemn procession of formerly violent and rogue elephants that traveled 12 hours to pay their respects to their rescuer.

Wild Elephants travel 12 hours to pay tribute to Lawrence Anthony. Photo courtesy of the Anthony Family.

 

 

While most mammals show only a passing interest in the passing of their own, elephants are spiritually recognizant of those who’ve passed over (even over long distances) and congregate to mourn those they love.

To read more about Lawrence Anthony and on this amazing story click here.

Hanging By A Thread

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In need of getting some fresh air to clear my mind, I went down the block to Nyack Beach. This weekend has been a difficult one for me as I feel Derek’s physical absence more than I have within the last 2 months. Someone once described the loss of a husband/partner with the loss of a limb. You can’t see it — but you feel the limb as well as the incompleteness of it being missing. It’s a terrible mental and emotional pain that doesn’t go away.

The “beach” which is really more of a hiking/bike trail with picnic benches lies next to Hook Mountain and is adjacent to the Hudson River. It’s always been a favorite Sunday ritual for Derek and myself to walk along the paths snapping pictures and enjoying each other’s company.

I picked a quiet picnic table to sit and read my new book — The Afterlife Connection, which examines a psychotherapists’ experience with afterlife communication and how our bond with loved ones is not just psychological. I was on a chapter that discussed how our loved ones are always around to provide signs so as long as we are open to the connection and can recognize their signs when sent. As I began reading a case study on a young woman reaching out to her father in spirit about a career decision, a bee landed on the book and started moving side to side as if it were reading the page with me. Not looking to get stung, I gently tilted the book down for the bee to move away. Instead of flying off it moved up and started walking up my arm — my instant reaction was to stand up which prompted the bee to fly away. If Derek were with me he would have instructed me to have my Off fan with me; with the reminder of him not being there to tell me this I began cry instantly. “I can’t do this anymore…I’m hanging by a thread, Derek. I need you.”

As I start wiping the tears away I noticed a few autumn leaves falling to the ground. I looked up and saw what appeared as a branch hanging in mid-air below a tree. Upon, closer inspection, the branch was hanging on some type of string. Maybe it was a fishing line that somehow became tangled with the branch and the tree or maybe someone put it there (although I don’t see what the purpose of doing that would have achieved). Whatever the reason, this branch remained as part of the whole tree and moved ever so slowly and gracefully even as the leaves were blowing against the strong morning wind. “Hanging by a thread”, the branch wasn’t in danger of falling. And I wouldn’t be in danger of falling as long as I held onto Derek’s hand. I smiled and whispered, “Thank you for keeping me from falling.”

Welcoming a Soul Back Home

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“I dropped a tear in the ocean, and whenever they find it I’ll stop loving you, only then.” | Anonymous

Why are we drawn to the Ocean? Is it the salt air or the sound of waves crashing against the shore? Or is it the wonder of its vastness and sight of a boundless world filled with life and mystery? For Derek the ocean was his home as it provided a source of freedom.

Atlantic City was Derek’s favorite place. He loved watching the life of the boardwalk — there were people dancing, eating with friends, going on rides at the carnival, taking pictures, running or quietly sitting on a bench patiently waiting for their next adventure.

We traveled to Atlantic City often — sometimes for a few hours or for a couple of days. Where there was water, Derek wanted to be near it. It was therapeutic for him and I just loved sharing those moments with him. During one of our trips to A.C., an elderly woman approached us asking us about a building that lay at the other side of the beach. As Derek started to explain, he stopped to look at the woman and asked to take a picture of her. She hesitated for a moment but then kindly obliged. He took several pictures and as he put the camera away he just started smiling at her. He asked the woman if she would stay and talk for a bit and over the next hour we stood listening to her story of how she came to America from Austria, moved to Seattle, Washington as she was in an interracial marriage and at the time it was one of the few places that made them feel welcome. She would later divorce this gentleman and raise her two children to New Jersey as a single mother and would work in one of the government buildings at the former World Trade Center. On the day of the 9/11 attacks, a voice told her to take a day off and go to Atlantic City. Now retired, she makes trips to A.C. to mediate. When she finished her story, Derek thanked her and gave her a hug. When he asked for her name, she said that she would give it the next time they met again. Almost knowingly Derek  said that it was a date and they would continue the conversation the next time he returned. With one last smile, she blessed us and remarked how beautiful it was to see us finally together and how our love would last through eternity. As she left and moved onto the boardwalk we almost couldn’t believe how quickly she was walking — it looked like she was becoming younger with each step as her body straightened up. When we could no longer see her, Derek took my hand tightly and said “We just met my guardian angel.”

That was the last time Derek would physically visit Atlantic City.

I asked a girlfriend to accompany me to Atlantic City on Sunday as I knew that he would want to be near the ocean again. It would be the first time traveling back there since Derek’s passing however as soon as I arrived it felt like home. All of the memories with Derek poured over me like love.

The morning before I left, my girlfriend and I walked out to the Tropicana, his favorite hotel, and walked out towards the beach. The day was overcast and a little windy. The cold water welcomed me as I walked into it silently releasing my wishes for Derek and a small container with his ashes in it. As if returning a “Thank you” the sun came out and shone brightly over us.

“Maybe Derek will swim to Europe.” my girlfriend said smiling. I jokingly replied that the currents would bring him to Bali — one of the last places he was wanted to travel to because it was so warm. As I looked out toward the horizon, I knew wherever he was going, he was with his guardian angel.

Love Never Fails

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“Love Never Fails…”

That was the inscription etched onto the tiny wooden cross carefully wrapped within an eBay purchase which I was not supposed to receive for another four weeks and delivered by a gentleman whom I never saw before. I had thought the inscription was a “cosmic response” to stressful events taking place within my life. Little did I know as I left the office to go home, it would be a message of faith and love from my new guardian angel.

My best friend and soul mate, passed away unexpectedly that day. And life has felt like a chaotic storm in the short month he has been gone. Every moment, conversation and image associated with my life, our relationship plays like a film reel as it wraps itself tightly around my mind as if afraid to be lost forever. I replay the events of that day every morning and live through the pain of his absence every evening. I feel all of it.

He had always wanted me to share the Story of My Life with others. In my short life, I have already lost my parents, grandparents and host of other family members. He was amazed how someone who lost so much and experienced tragedy so often could still smile and look to inspire others.  However this event is different and is preparing me for a new journey which promises to test my faith and spirit. I never imagined he would be a part of this story…

However I know that cross did not come to me randomly; so here I sit starting the first of many posts which I hope will help me through the healing process and spiritual journey with my guardian angel guiding me along the path.