Today, the first day of spring, is in many ways the ultimate day of new beginnings.
It’s also a reminder that every day is a new beginning, especially if we embrace that reality…
The paradox? Each new beginning involves a loss of some kind. A death, either literal or metaphoric, or both.
Night and sleep relinquish their seductive pull to allow light and wakefulness in.
Winter’s earthy darkness surrenders its nourishing heaviness to the bright, expansive growth of spring.
What we eat, whether plant or animal, dies in some way in order to give us all continuing life. Our feelings and relationships and life situations shifts, grow, expand, contract, and constantly change. Change is the fire, the fuel, of growth. We die to our old selves in order to embody our higher selves.
One of the big questions, then:
Do we ever really lose those we love, particularly those who touch our lives in a positive, life-affirming, beautiful way?
One month ago today, I lost someone very close to me.
She was like a mother to me, and perhaps because we didn’t have the burden of biology and expectations connecting us, we were able to love each other more freely and openly than some mothers and daughters can.
That love and kindness gave us both so much healing. It continues to heal me to this day.
We chose to love each other, when we really didn’t “have” to. This empowered us both.
Zeinab was essentially my mother-in-law, but really, she felt like another mom to me. A mom who is like a loving sister, a respected elder, a quirky aunt, a funny friend, a beloved little niece you dote on and spoil, and just another woman. Simply and complexly…just another human being. We two felt oddly free to be ourselves with one another.
If I’m being completely honest, we lost one another in this earthly life three times…
First, years back, when I left Syria after being there with her for several months. I always imagined, and hoped, we’d see one another again in the physical realm. We never did.
Secondly, when her son and I broke up.
Finally, when she passed away, just a month shy of spring. And of Mother’s Day in her country. And, a month shy of her son’s birthday.
But again, I asked myself, and you: do we ever really lose those we love, and those who touch our lives in a positive, life-affirming, beautiful way?
This question has been on my mind a lot in the last month, and I have to say, “Only if we chose to.”
And even then, that “loss” is highly debatable.
In my case, debatable because Zeinab absolutely lives on in me in the lessons she taught me, the lessons I was in some cases more open to receiving from her than from anyone else. And in other unique lessons as well. We communicated with very few words. (Language barriers can be quite useful sometimes. Words often get away of shared energy, intuition, and connections).
As full of love and life as she was, she was no saint. She never pretended otherwise. She was just real. Real and present and so open to happiness. So honest about her pain, both emotional and physical, and still, so giving of her heart, despite, perhaps because of, her pain.
I can still hear her voice and her hearty, unapologetic laugh.
She loved to laugh and a dirty joke as much, if not more, than I do. She would get ticked off sometimes and fuss at me, (and I at her!), but we would laugh, sometimes cry it out. Or both!
She also had a quiet, yet deeply connected, spiritual life.
That made her all that more angelic to me…to know and see that somebody could be real and human in this world and still have a spiritual side, a real connection with the divine. That resonates.
That I could screw up and still feel loved…that’s an ongoing lesson for me. One she really helped me start to grasp.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the outward form, we disconnect from the inner truth. After eight kids and numerous grandchildren, you could say Zeinab had the motherhood and wifehood thing down. Instead of acting and living from a place of what a woman “should” be, she mostly just lived, honestly, wisely, and unapologetically.
So many of us are alive, but how true are we to ourselves. Do we ever really LIVE?
I know I haven’t always. At times in my past, I have barely existed. Held on by a thread to life. Didn’t even care if the thread got severed. Prayed for that, in fact, more than once.
Yet, through my own numerous struggles and losses, and through standing, sometimes falling and crumpling, with loved ones in their hours of darkness and light, I’ve gained a new respect and reverence for life.
And you know, if we lose somebody in this realm, which we all inevitably WILL, just as we, someday, will be lost to many in this realm…
We can choose to have them live on in us. We can absolutely invite their light and love and positive energy to resonate with us and through us. That way we all continue to give to the universe through ourselves. We unite together. We embody new beginnings. We transcend.
Our grief and broken-heartedness can be an opening to our higher selves, and a poignant reminder of the humanity of one another. Instead of hiding in the shadows and depth of the pain and darkness, let these energies pave a transformative pathway to your light.
Yes, we mourn and grieve. Deeply, reverently so. Out of love and respect for the departed, we honor them yes, through grief. Yet we also honor them by allowing what they taught us in life to nourish and inform us. We honor them by continuing to grow. We honor them by staying present and by intensely living.
I love you Zeinab. Thank you for all your love and kindness, and for all you gave to and taught me. Even in the pain of losing you in this realm, you’ve given so many insights to my soul and to so many others. I promise to do my best while I’m still here. I pray for your beautiful soul often, now, and into infinity.
Love and light to all,