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expansion of self holds loss and grief

 by Judy
April 3, 2016

I am just driving home and all of a sudden I feel the loss of my mom. It is experienced as the sense that something is not there anymore - a space that is now empty - a space that held so much love and care. It was a constant space, my mom, who was always there to speak to, share good news with, just laugh with. That space which for much of my life was taken for granted; a given, not fully appreciated, is gone. At those moments, it’s hard to even articulate the fullness of what one is missing. It’s not as if I lived with my mom for most of my life - I didn’t - and I didn’t even see her that much. I lived in different states and even in different countries at times, but she was always there in the background or foreground of my life and she had a big impact on me and still does.

And it’s not as if I didn’t know she would someday die. I was very aware of this at a very young age as death has always been very strongly in my consciousness and yet no matter when it happens, it’s a jolt to one’s being and a loss, a big loss. At least for me and from what I have heard, for many others as well.

The other day I had to make plans for what in the Jewish religion is called the unveiling, that is when the stone is unveiled at the cemetery within a year of a person’s death. I had never dealt with this before and was finding the woman I was speaking with at the cemetery very difficult to communicate with. When I finally got off and I had not been feeling that emotional on the phone, I just burst out crying. It didn’t last long but it hit me - I am dealing with my mom’s gravestone - she is gone.

So in sharing this with you, I also want to share that most of the time I am so totally fine and actually, as I wrote about in my previous essay, deeply happy. How can the two coexist? But they do. The loss and grief do not in any way exclude this happiness and perhaps even gives more weight to it as I am brought deeply in touch with life and with my self.

I was thinking the other day that we imagine we are single human beings, single entities in this world and we are and we are not. I feel more and more this expansion of who I am. Yes, I am uniquely me and I am also a part of my mom, dad and brother - they are in me, surround me, alongside of me and although invisible to the eye, they are there. And then there are all the people who mean or have meant something in my life; good friends, friends of my mom, relatives - aunts, uncles and cousins - they are all in my sphere as well. Everyone live or not alive anymore are in the sphere of who I am; people who touched me in some way and continue to touch me. Then who am I?  This is not defined by physical boundaries; the skin around my bones, muscles, blood and organs. I am so much more and so are we all. Can you feel what I am trying to express? And then when we meet new people who we immediately connect with, be they black, white, yellow, red, old, young, fat or thin, we feel this human connection way beyond what we understand.

And maybe we can even include the nature around us like the transcendentalists or romantics did or any of us who has a connection to nature - the animals, trees, sky, clouds…they are also apart of us. We are not separate and never have been. We also are the inheritors of so much beauty and wisdom from teachers, writers, artists, musicians, philosophers, religious leaders…the list is endless. Significant human beings, past or present, who have had an impact upon us.

Something about this contemplation and its truth expands consciousness, expands one’s sense of self and gives more and more space to experience loss and grief; to not run away from it and at the same time allow it to pass through oneself very naturally.

In this expansion, one is both alone and not alone at all. In this solitude, communion with all life deepens and we hold the loss of those we love in a vast context; not separate from the earth, not separate from wisdom and beauty in all its forms and most importantly not separate from our fellow brothers and sisters.

Feel free to share your thoughts


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