The Dead Relatives Guide to Living

Earlier today I saw a post on social media about the discomfort in buying and wearing swimwear. As I quickly read it, I was suddenly taken aback by a female voice in my ear “Tell ya, wish I could still look awful in a bikini”

It stopped me for a moment as I heard the melancholy in the soft voice.

I let her continue.

“You’ll wish you had when you get here. Had done what you wanted to do instead of worried about what people might think. You’ll wish you had done it anyway”

Her name is Jane. I don’t know who she belongs to or why she chose to intrude on my morning scrolling. But I do know that she wanted to share some points on living while we are alive. So here is her list word for word. Nothing is changed.

“You’re so scared of what people might think of you. You avoid so many adventures because you’ve been taught that you might be judged. You are afraid to sit in the middle of a restaurant because you feel guilty for eating; all because of a few pounds?  All because someone, somewhere in your life told you that you that you had to be perfect. And perfect people don’t eat cheeseburgers. We can’t eat cheeseburgers here, damn, we can’t eat a thing here. We have no need for that kind of nourishment. But, listen to me. My human memory would love nothing more than to dog down a chocolate shake and salty fries.  You are missing out on the incredible experience of sating your soul by ordering salad and water just to fit in. Eat. Be mindful and moderate but stop punishing yourself by not enjoying what will fulfill you.

How many times have you missed out on the adventure of a beautiful summer day? Arriving in the sand to find forty under 30’s out there in bikinis you decide that you don’t look good enough so you sit sweating like a defrosted turkey on the beach? Seriously, I am not kidding around here. You miss out on some of life’s best memories because you have a few rolls? Stop that ridiculousness right now. Get out of your own way, find a suit that covers your dimples that you hate so much, and share them with the world. No one is looking anyway. You are all too busy worrying about how you look to everyone else to care.  While no one is busy looking at you, you are busy avoiding life. Get it together. You need the sunshine.

How many times I found myself wanting to join in on the music. I would walk through the streets and hear songs on every corner. All I wanted to do was to dance but I was afraid that someone might see me and find me odd. How I missed a chance to just feel free for a few minutes. Don’t do this. Dance. Tap your foot, shake your bottom, tap your fingers..but do something.  You’re standing there as stiff as a board fence and you KNOW you wanna dance. Why aren’t you dancing? Take advantage of the fact that you are strong and healthy and you CAN dance.

Speak to each other. You came to the world smart. You know who is good to speak to and who you should avoid. When you feel pulled to reach to someone DO IT. Your own soul self knows what they need and what you can do to fill that need. Stop believing that you are not allowed to engage strangers. That stranger might be the one person that you need to change the course of your life. You don’t know. Stop assuming. When you feel called to respond, respond. Change your day and change theirs. It’s your job. It is your job to respond to what your soul requests. Your soul knows. Your brain gets in the way and messes up some amazing encounters.

Sing. I don’t care if you can’t sing. Not too many humans can so you are in good company. I don’t know how many times I stood in church and watched the parishioners whisper and glance about the room in shame.  That’s not singing! That’s not raising the roof and creating a choir. That’s pushing away your integral right to use your voice for something amazing. I always sang. Loud. Poorly. But my face shone and my spirit grew.  I felt motivated and alive. All from opening my mouth and letting my voice come through. It’s been some decades since I last did so. And no one remembers. That’s what you all forget. No one remembers you couldn’t sing. But everyone remembers that you did. Think about that.

No one remembers what you did poorly. Everyone remembers what you tried to do that made you shine.

Your memories, when you arrive to this place should be full. Your memories should include the worst fishing hats and the smallest catch. They should include the full dozen attempts to swim and sank each time. They should include your shorts and the hairy legs you forgot to shave. They should include your smudged lipstick, your less than perfect makeup and your less than perfect hair. They should include every time you tried to live your passion no matter how small the try was. You didn’t fail. You passed because you tried.

You let yourselves down. Every day and every moment. By glancing around the room fearful of judgement. By not trying to try in case you fall. By not singing because someone might be listening. By not smiling because someone may not smile back. By not being all that you can be on this journey because someone else can be that better. By not giving into your desire to laugh, to dance, to cry. You let yourselves down. By not seeking to learn, not seeking to teach, not seeking to speak. You let yourselves down.

Stop it.

I wanted to sit on Santa’s knee in my adult years. I wanted to challenge the thought process that only children were permitted that wistfulness. I stood year after year at the end of the line pretending to be someone’s parent. My legs wanted to walk right on over there and perch grinning wildly as the photographer snapped the photo. I never did that. I waited and waited for another mature adult to go first. They never did. I often wonder how many other adults waited behind me to see if I might go first.

I died at 65. I stood in line at 64. And said next year.

I am asking you to live. Without fear of living. To be silly, unpredictable and wise. To dance like everyone is watching you. To sing like everyone is listening. To find the worst bathing suit possible and saunter onto the beaches like you belong there.

Because you do. You belong here.

A favor for an old woman who grew old before she learned to live young?

At Christmas this year, find a Santa. Get in line and sit upon his knee. And take a picture for me. Grin wildly. And share it with everyone that you love.

That’s how to live.

We don’t ask for much on this side of life. We are afforded every beauty that we avoided in our human lifetime. We are loved deeply. We love each other deeply.

But we don’t have cheeseburgers. And we don’t have Santa lines.

That’s your job now.

Make us smile over here by living voraciously over there. Say hello to Santa. Tell him Jane sent ya”

Jane….

 

In love in light…dance…sing…eat…live…

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lavenders Blue – Children And Death

Every family is unique, and every family will make the choice to deal with this in their own ways. There is truly no right way, but there is the only way that is right for you. So take from my thoughts and then make your own decisions when it comes to the young souls in your keeping.

“Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
Lavender’s green
When you are king, dilly dilly,
I shall be queen

Who told you so, dilly dilly,
Who told you so?
‘Twas my own heart, dilly dilly,
That told me so”

 

Maybe I learned about death and found comfort there in my early childhood. Back in the day where beloved pets were not delivered to the veterinarian for cremation but instead carried lovingly to the back yard for burial. Where we would create our own cross from bits and pieces found in the barn, and with black ink, memorialize the name in a less than perfect way as our marker would never smoothly glide over the knots on our barn board.  Over time, the name would fade, and one day you would find yourself driving by the old place and wondering if the cross still remained. I still do this to this day, If you see me slow in front of your home; chances are..I left a piece of my heart there in your care.

Children for the most part don’t have the opportunity to express grief in this value anymore. Rules and regulations have taken away from our chances to provide a valuable and much needed lesson to our littlest humans. So we must find new ways to include them in a process that is important to their emotional well being into adulthood.

Every family is unique, and every family will make the choice to deal with this in their own ways. There is truly no right way, but there is the only way that is right for you. So take from my thoughts and then make your own decisions when it comes to the young souls in your keeping.

In my work I am often asked to involve children in a parent’s reading. I love this opportunity to bring forward some peace to the eager little faces that I am sitting with. But, again, it is not for everyone and I would strongly suggest that you made a decision such as this as a family.  Very often, during the course of a session like this, the kids are so excited to be able to share with me what they have encountered since the family member died. It becomes a safe space of sorts for them to finally say that Grampa was there to visit last night. And it’s incredibly beautiful to see how they shine with their stories.  You don’t need someone like me to engage them in this conversation. You can simply sit with them, perhaps at the graveyard, perhaps at the kitchen table, and allow them to share something that will create a soft spot for them and some healing for yourself.

My children were very early introduced to the conversations surrounding death and grieving. I will use my daughter specifically because much of the death in our families occurred at times where she best recalls them. My boys were significantly removed from the time frame.   My daughter’s hamster was buried in a yard in a sombre ceremony that we permitted her to create. For a small child she was incredibly respectful of the importance of saying goodbye to her little friend “Hammy”.  Over the years to follow she lost several people, so that on the day where her beloved Nanny Shirley was facing the prospect of immediate death, my daughter was prepared.  She was 12 years old, and on a holiday with friends when that day arrived.  The very best I could offer for her in that moment was a phone call to speak with the woman that had been one of the brightest lights in my daughter’s young world.

I was present with my mother in law as this call took place. And I will never forget the maturity with which my young daughter handled what would ultimately be their last conversation.

“Hi Nanny….how are you feeling”  was her first response to which my mother in law responded “Not so great Megan”.

Her next question almost knocked me over.  Not only in it’s simplicity but in it’s straightforwardness.

“Nanny are you going to die?”

The response to this was equally as simple and honest.

“Yes Megan I think I am”.

I will not share any further of the conversation but am comfortable now saying that this word share was an integral part of the grieving process for which she would begin just a few short hours later. It allowed for her to find some peace and to better emotionalize the days and months to follow.  And it allowed for her to understand that love simply never dies.  To this day my daughter still sings the words to their favorite song to her own children and reminds them of a love she once shared with someone beautiful

Not every parent will find opportunity such as I have had to share this process with their young ones.  And for the most part that is a good thing isn’t it. No one wants to have to help a little person grieve, but it ultimately will become a part of their journey so perhaps consider preparing them for that while they are young.

Talk about death openly. Include them in decisions surrounding the impending death of a pet. Include them in conversations surrounding the deaths of friends. Let them ask questions and answer them honestly.  Take them for walks through graveyards and help them to understand the beautiful and soft nature of the quiet that you find there. Bring a picnic and sit among the headstones. I love to take my granddaughter to our local graveyard with bags of apples to feed the many deer that walk quietly through the space.

Create a comfort zone around the subject of death and dying. Ask them to draw pictures of what they believe it looks like. What they believe heaven might look like.

There will always be an opportunity to begin the process of teaching them to heal. Whether it be a school mate or the next door neighbor that suddenly isn’t there anymore to wave good morning. Using tactics such as “They went away on a long holiday” while easing for you in finding the right words, are a lost opportunity to provide some lessons early into their lives.  We can learn ourselves how to more appropriately respond to grief when we allow children to show us the way.

Kids are incredibly resilient and curious. Once they have absorbed the understanding that from the physical perspective someone is gone, they will move onto the next part of the process of asking questions. It is amazing how many answers you find while you give them the answers you didn’t know you had.

There is nothing more beautiful to me than watching a small child, not pressured, not coerced, when they tip toe to the casket…and leaning in they pat the hands that they loved…or stretch as high as they can….to drop a kiss on the cheek that lays there.  In this lies no fear at all. Just a simple understanding of love in it’s purest form.

And for them…this is goodbye…

Until we meet again….

A kiss goodbye.

Teach your babies not only how to live. But teach them how to live beyond death. Allow them to help you with your own pain. They are truly the closest things we have on earth to angels.

And they know the way.

 

 

Lavenders blue..dilly dilly….

Love…

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Gilded Cage

Perhaps I was born this way and the experience was no more than a reflection of that. Or perhaps it was intended to become the lesson the entire time. All I know is that I am tired of climbing up and out of uncomfortable places in my effort to not be harmed by them.

A simple post by a friend today prompted this blog.

“I would rather have peace in my life, than the need to portray myself as perfect to everyone else”

I am not perfect. I am flawed. And I am learning to recognize that.  And in that recognition peace is the desired result.

 

I’ll never forget my grandmother, or Nanny, as she preferred to be referenced.

In some whacked out way she taught me one of the most important lessons in my life and it’s taken me 53 years to finally see it.  It  occurred in an elevator in what I believe was a department store somewhere. I have zero recall of anything standing out that would assist me in providing more information than this. I think in part because the shopping experience that day turned into a nightmare of epic proportions as we found ourselves trapped behind the gilded cage of an old school lift.  It truly wasn’t as terrifying in retrospect but to my tender ears, the sounds of my Nanny screaming and shaking the closed cage was more than enough to make me wary of anything that locked me inside.  In fact, I believe I have struggled against anything that holds me back from escape ever since that event. Up until this very moment I have encouraged the threat of heart failure in my refusal to be trapped anywhere. Have you ever walked 10 flights of stairs at my age? It’s no easy feat. I congratulate myself at the very top once I manage to stop hyperventilating.  “You did it. You’re free and not dead!!”  But…it hit me today….is that freedom?  I went back to our gilded box for a moment and by removing the fear of it I am able to see that the inside door had opened. The elevator had managed to creak  its way up to our desired floor and all that was now separating us was a cage. Beyond the bars the face of a security guard who looked baffled and fearful that my Nanny might actually rip them from their holdings if he continued to do no more than stand staring.  He reached for the outside bar that would release us from our little prison and I was pushed out with all of the speed of a boy blowing spit balls by my frantic guardian.

There was nothing to be afraid of at all. I can clearly see through the bars that life existed beyond them. In her haste for escape my Nanny had missed the obvious handle, that, when lifted, would pull the doors aside.  Because she was afraid. Because she was afraid she saw only a box.  And boxes have frightened me ever since. And whether from a physical value or a psychological one, I have refused to be caught in anything that would prevent me from breaking free.

Perhaps I was born this way and the experience was no more than a reflection of that. Or perhaps it was intended to become the lesson the entire time. All I know is that I am tired of climbing up and out of uncomfortable places in my effort to not be harmed by them.

The problem with tight places is that you learn to engage all types of escape methods. The first of course is avoidance. If you don’t step in then there is nothing to get out of. Of course life doesn’t allow for us to choose because sometimes we have no idea that we stepped in until we hear the cage click behind us.

The other method is to put one foot in to test it and leave the other in the safe zone beyond the bars. You never get the full experience of what’s inside the space because only half of you is immersed at all times. Do you know that I spent almost 3/4 of my adult life holding the bathroom stall door closed with the tip of my shoe? I kid you not. Trusting no locks at all to release me, I turned the simple act of urinating into an Olympic sport. I suppose the universe prepared me by allowing me to have feet that stretched that far.

The last method is to avoid all coaxing to slip into a box. This one I am incredibly proficient at. This method I learned early, likely long before the elevator incident even occurred.   How I learned it is inconsequential at this point in my life. What I do know and now recognize is that I will not be drawn into any box of anyone’s making.

The one box that I have always struggled with is the box that should feel safe.  The box that includes love.  I have it right here beside me all of the time, but tend to avoid it like a distrustful cat might avoid the carrier. I will come close and sniff the edges but I will circle for days before even considering placing a foot inside.  And the whole idea of placing my entire self into that space….well that simply terrifies me. You may after a long period of time get me in, but any indication at all of not trusting the lock and I will arch into the corner and scratch you in my frantic race to escape.

This has made the typical life an uncomfortable one.  Especially when you consider that I went the typical route with it. I married at 18 and had three kids by 28. Every single person in this typical family created their own version of what our boxes should look like.  My box was a whole lot of loosey goosey.   With no less than five exits I knew I had a way out if I needed it. My husbands box included walks on the beach holding hands and making plans for a retirement I wasn’t at all convinced would manifest because in that existed a promise. And I don’t do promises.  Because promise represents an expectation and expectation is the most powerful lock to escape from.  I have presented quite a challenge for those in my life that love me.

And so the universe presented for me an atypical way of peering into the boxes that I have sidestepped for decades.  A chance to see that something beyond fear exists and that it is beautiful.  A peek into your worlds, the memories that you hold. The love that I have discovered in many of the “heavens” that I am privy to viewing.  And I am slowly beginning to learn that some of you are just as afraid of your boxes as I am.  And that others just simply don’t understand my boxes at all.  And that’s OK.

I am simply purely grateful knowing that not all boxes are unsafe. And I thank you for that. All that have trusted me with their own boxes.  You have given me the faith that I needed to build a box of my own making.  Where my own love bounces back at me and reminds me that I am worthy of it. Where I can finally learn to stop scratching on my way out, curl up and know how to not only give love…

But to accept it.

And that right there. Is the secret to life.

Unfurl your wings. Push open the door.

And fly.

 

Thanks for listening.

Sending you love….and learning to accept it back…bear with me. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tears I Am Too Tired To Cry

I swam in the feeling for a bit before I decided to write this. As I waded in, it all came back to me, the experience of exhaustion came over me and I remembered how healing it is to let go…

“The most painful tears are the too tired to cry tears”

If you’ve grieved any loss in this lifetime you will understand these words.

They were just shared with me a few moments ago by a friend struggling in her memories with no opportunity for further memories to be made…not in this lifetime at least and not with the loved one she misses.  It’s the most profoundly painful moment to take part in. The knowing that nothing is bringing them back.

And the tears rush freely until they stop.

The most uncomfortable tears are the tears that stop falling even though your shoulders still shake with your sobs.  Your soul wide awake and begging for release; the physical body too worn to produce the moisture to provide the exit from the pain. It’s the perfect imbalance intended to drop you into a slumber that you will wake from the next day.  Your arms wrapped tightly to the pillow that you pulled to your chest as you fought to find comfort in something, you wake confused not knowing you fell asleep at all.

Imperfectly balanced.  And perfectly needed.

I swam in the feeling for a bit before I decided to write this. As I waded in, it all came back to me, the experience of exhaustion came over me and I remembered how healing it is to let go.

And I found gratefulness to have been the person she shared her words with. Because she reminded me that letting go is the most healing gift we can allow for ourselves on this journey.  That vulnerability with self first is the only way to peace and that stoic denial of this natural need leads only to death of the soul itself as it scars with each blow that we “handle”.  And each blow does not have to mean death of someone we love.  Blows come daily.  In words unspoken, in promises broken, in physical disconnections, in loves lost, in dreams destroyed, in needs that can never be met and in directions we didn’t see coming.  There are a thousand ways to scar the soul.

There is no weakness to be found in crying so hard that your tears just stop.  No powerlessness in unconscious taking over and the drift into sleep that you won’t remember falling into…

Here, there is only strength…

When your eyes dry out, when you can’t squeeze one more drop…

It’s because you are here. In that place that you are too exhausted to release the pain. The place where the flow reverses and you are open to allow the tears to move backwards. Backwards to sooth the scars and to saturate your soul in the love that you have denied it while handling everything that is slowly breaking it.

Fall apart. Do it often. Stop handling each discomfort and filing it off to create a hardness in a soul that deserves tenderness.  Fall apart.

Cry so hard that you’re too tired to cry.

Fall to pieces.

Cry so hard that your tears fall backwards.

You deserve to love yourself enough to water your own soul.

 

In love….in tears….in gratitude of small reminders.

Tania. xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Healing In Helpless

“You just kinda stand there staring right? As your mind races for words, your mouth forms the beginning of a syllable and nothing falls out.  You stand staring and helpless.  You could bake cookies, you could go shopping. You could do a thousand things that distract you into believing you are helpful. But when it comes right down to it, you are helpless. There is absolutely nothing you can do to change the outcome. Helpless is the most painful feeling in the world. And….. it is the most needed.”  Tania Thomas

“I am dying”

If you haven’t yet experienced the swell of helplessness as it rises into your chest wall….you one day will.  It is an unfortunate side effect of choosing to live this lifetime. The painful downside to loving, to giving, to affecting and to being.  Unlike scrapes and near misses, we can’t fix this with peanut butter cookies and kisses to make it all go away. It is an ending that will be happening no matter how hard we try to change it.

It simply is, and there is no greater lesson in trust and in releasing the need to control than in the lesson of letting someone go.

Our first response as the listener of these awful words is the EGO kickback. We recoil immediately and feel as if we have been verbally attacked personally. We want to rush in to offer something that will change the way the words sound. To argue that the words are incorrect. And the next words will inevitably follow.

“There is nothing else they can do”

And boom we go right back to the spine stiffening and the anger that accompanies our feeling that there IS something else that we can do. Because everything in this world is repairable right?  But no. Now there is nothing you can do to stop the train that is bearing down as you struggle to release your feet from the tracks of which they have suddenly become tied to.

This will happen, this is happening, and you can stand there with your plate of peanut butter cookies and tears begging the engineer to stop the wheels. And ultimately you will find yourself pulled down into the ending with nothing but crumbs to help you find your way back.

Receiving news of the impending death of someone we love is the worst possible news we ever want to hear.  The pain of hearing the words can far outweigh the difficulty of saying the words.  Those sharing these words with us have had some moments in between then and now, in between the doctors downcast eyes and difficult conversations, the dying have already reached a place of being able to utter the words without feeling the need to make them anything less than final. They have, in fact, somehow managed to feel the helpless themselves and have turned it into the knowing that there is nothing left to do now but to live until they don’t.

I’ve heard this a thousand times over “Oh no you did NOT just say that”

Oh yes they did just say that. And your disbelief of what you just heard doesn’t make it any less real for them…or for you. We don’t want to hear these words. We can’t accept hearing these words because it means that there is nothing we can do to change them.

We can’t fix something for the first time in our entire existence. The human life does not come with warranties and we have become accustomed to warranties on everything. If we can’t fix it we can replace it. If there is a way we will find one. If we can’t fix it we can refund it.

Death doesn’t work this way and it’s the biggest struggle of our lives to come to that understanding.

There is nothing we can do. We are utterly helpless. We feel guilty because we are angry at the universe, at the doctors and sometimes at the dying, because they are giving us nothing to work with.  We run about baking cookies to feel normal, we shop for their favorite things hoping that they might try harder to stay. We pour over memories of vacations and make plans for the next vacation and we include them because we are terrified to let them believe for one moment that we can’t fix this. We use hope as our band-aids and dreams as our kisses.

And that’s where you are helping. Even when you don’t recognize it yourself, your hopes and your dreams are what help the dying to understand what love looks like. Love looks like not wanting to let go of something that has created your world. Not wanting to release someone that made you laugh, made you think or made you learn something new every single day.

We love our hardest when we have nothing else to offer. And this is a gift, not a curse, not a karma, not a punishment. It’s a gift. To be present, to be wholly involved in the process of not fixing. To be fully immersed in the simple act of loving is not helpless at all. It is beautiful and it is needed.

And one day…..

You will see this through the eyes of those you can’t help at all.

“On the day my loved one died, I moved him to his final sleeping space. He sat on the edge and he gazed at me and begged me to not leave him there. And I promised him that I would not leave him there. And my heart ached because this was the only help I could give. Twelve hours later he left that space. And I kept my promise. I had nothing else to offer but to love enough to let go”

Let go in love.

No regrets over what you believe you couldn’t do.  Because LOVE is all you could do.

 

In love…in light…in band aids and kiss it betters…..

 

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s My Grief And I’ll Cry If I Want To

“She had been gone for a good ten years when he found me and his shoulders showed sign of a decade of tears. Curled forward and hopeful he gazed toward me as I began to create the channel that would ultimately bring me to “his one and only” as he called her. Each time he would say those words I would watch as his hand came up to his heart. This man had loved this beautiful woman for nearly 60 years and her death was not going to change that experience for him….”

I was talking to a friend today who reminded me the importance of allowing grief to be a personal experience and not one open for debate on how it is handled. Our chat took me back a few years to a story that I have never told.

“I’m just a girl, standing on her toes, waiting to be kissed…”

 

Several years ago, I met a wonderful man in his mid 80s. He had decided on me after researching for some time seeking someone that could potentially connect to the wife he had shared his journey with for all of his adult life.  His first reading ever, he arrived looking a little uncertain but clearly eager; his eyes sparkled as I welcomed him into my world. I have never forgotten this gentleman and I am certain that by now he has been reunited with his girl that he missed so deeply.

She had been gone for a good ten years when he found me and his shoulders showed sign of a decade of tears. Curled forward and hopeful he gazed toward me as I began to create the channel that would ultimately bring me to “his one and only” as he called her. Each time he would say those words I would watch as his hand came up to his heart. This man had loved this beautiful woman for nearly 60  years and her death was not going to change that experience for him.

I began to bring forward some words that he had been patiently waiting to hear; she spoke of good times and bad times, of laughter, of shared memories that were both wonderful and painful. She shared stories of picnics in the back yard and how it always irritated her how he folded his socks. He smiled and he nodded as I watched him flip back over time with her.  As I glanced up at him I could clearly see his wrinkles soften and his manner change to that of the 20 year old that fell in love at a naval dance with a pretty little thing who refused his advances.  I will never forget her words

“You gotta make them work for it remember”

And he laughed as they fell from my mouth. Oh he remembered. He remembered.

As we neared the end of our session she leaned in close to me and told me that she was still standing on her toes for his kiss. That she wanted him to continue to kiss her every single day until the day she saw him again.

I relayed these words to him and watched the first tear of our time together as it rolled down his cheek.

Our session was not ending here.

I pressed him on her words and he told me that he had blown her picture up to life size after her death. He had then hung that picture on the back of their bedroom door. He had positioned it so that he would still have to lean down to kiss her. They had never spent a day apart and each morning started with that kiss, and each night ended on that kiss. And this was the one thing he couldn’t give up even in her death. My heart blew open watching his face as he told me this story. I couldn’t stop my own tears as they filled my lower lashes.

I was completely unprepared to hear his words that followed.

“My family tell me it’s time to get over this”

This is what he had come to hear. He had sought out his first reading to hear that it was still OK for him to kiss her. He needed her to tell him that it was OK because the family felt it was holding him back.

I can well recall my initial response and how I blurted out the words

“How dare anyone tell you how to grieve something so beautiful!”

He continued to relay to me how friends and family couldn’t understand his decision to keep her clothes in the room that they shared. How the bedspread, thin and worn, would not be replaced. How her pillowcase had not been changed. How her toothbrush still sat beside his own in the bathroom. How her slippers still sat on her side of the bed as if she would slide into them the next day.

All these things a familiar place for him to return to after a day in the world without the woman he loved for so long. And he had been admonished for holding onto things that would not bring her back. Admonished for allowing grief to consume his life…or at the very least…their bedroom. Made to feel that he wasn’t progressing away from his pain.

My heart broke for him as he shared his litany of little joys that kept him connected to her. The things that others told him to box up were the things that kept him alive. The only things that he had of a story that spanned decades and a lifetime that no one could understand except him.

This love story reminded me to always be gentle. To always remember that grief is not a package deal included in the funeral that comes with a guarantee that we move on and forget. It reminds me to allow for others to process their pain and their loss in a way that works for them and not in a way that works for those around them.

Grief makes us uncomfortable.  We find ourselves at a loss for words or we simply try to deny its existence. We shake our heads at those that are stuck in the past and refuse to box it up. We want to offer words that encourage forward movement and often those words can become demanding.

“Oh dad for Gods sake, it’s been five years, we have to sort this out!”

Grief frightens us. It reminds us that one day we will be in this same place. And we don’t want to honor that possibility so we make demands of others to lead the way and show us how strong we can be when that moment arrives for ourselves.

Grief makes us selfish. It doesn’t allow us to allow others to feel what they need to feel and to be what they need to be to get through each day from now until then. Because of our own discomforts we don’t want others to feel it because we can’t handle it.

Grief is not an option. Grief is a requirement. There is no escape from it, it will happen to you. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But one day you will find yourself staring at the toothbrush on the bathroom counter and remembering how you tasted toothpaste on their lips as you kissed them goodnight.

And no one has a right to take that memory from you.

Grief isn’t a lesson to learn. It’s a love that endures.

We are not here to handle the grief for others. We are here to support them in how they choose to handle it for themselves.

Somewhere in the spirit side, a pretty little thing is standing on her toes with her face turned upwards….

And a tall man in love is bending down to kiss her.

 

In love. In light.

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mama Mama Mia!

Happy Mother’s Day Mama’s.

Medium Tania Thomas

**I wanted to write a Mothers Day Blog that was sensitive and soft. Full of pretty things like flowers and bunnies.  And then a Facebook friend’s picture rolled up on my timeline. Baby grinning…puked all over mama…and I burst out laughing…and decided…lets keep this real. Thanks to this amazing mum for allowing me to share her photo**.

Mama Mama Mia

There she was. After getting her to finally cry the doctor handed me my first born baby. I glanced downward and my first thought was…

“Good God…I’ve birthed a unicorn”

She was an interesting shade of purple, with two bruise marks on her forehead from a difficult forceps delivery.  Arriving into the world much earlier than expected , her limbs far out did her body weight and I seriously thought I’d just pushed out a purple filly.

Our first week was spent under the watchful eyes of hospital staff as…

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