All my life I had been fearful of endings.
Endings meant I would have to change the way I did things.
Endings were uncomfortable. I did everything I could to hold on to things for as long as I could.
And then Leah died, and I experienced an ending that I couldn’t undo.
It was an ending I hadn’t prepared for. It was my most profound lesson as my grief journey progressed; learning how to say good-bye to people, places, and things that were no longer a part of my life, or that I had outgrown.
My grief journey opened me up to what was possible when I welcomed the initiation that I wrote about in an earlier blog, and in chapter 8 of my book. It was not a lesson that I learned easily, or that I wanted to learn. It was so much easier for me to hold on to the thing than to face the feelings, and then do the work necessary to say good-bye to things that no longer served me.
Everywhere I lived I had boxes and boxes of stuff that I couldn’t get let go.
Everywhere I lived was cluttered as I delayed decisions to go through the piles to release old stuff.
Saying the ultimate good-bye to my daughter caused me to come face to face with my fear of endings.
I was called to leave a job that was no longer in alignment with who I was becoming, or the life I was meant to live. I had to take a stand for myself and risk my perception of what may happen if I left that job.
Our perceptions of what may happen can keep us stuck for a long time. Mine sure did.
Saying yes to the initiation of Leah’s death was not an easy task. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. And it came with huge rewards.
During our last move I let go of Leah’s school papers and report cards. I let go of wedding dresses, and baby clothes, and so much more. As I opened all of the boxes, all of the emotions that I hadn’t faced came pouring out. The good news is I now know how to meet those emotions.
I gained a new understanding of endings. I felt lighter when I wasn’t carrying around years and years of old outdated stuff. I found that I had made space for new and wonderful things to enter my life, and that I had more energy for them.
Endings are sad, even if they are welcome.
It’s in learning to honor what we are letting go of that we receive the grace necessary to move forward and open our heart and lives for what is coming next.
Imagine the image of a closed fist. If someone handed you a beautiful gift, when your fist was closed, you wouldn’t be able to receive it. What if you opened your hand ready to receive the gift?
My fear of endings was similar to having a closed fist. I spent so much time with my fists clenched and my body closed in around itself that I didn’t even see what was being offered. Now I can see what life has to offer me, I meet each day with an open heart.
What a wonderful gift.