Listening To My Body

My body’s talking to me, and being loud about it.  Tensing up, aching, being off balance.  It’s been doing this for the past week.

I’m listening and I know what’s going on.  It’s all about my Mom.  The first anniversary of her death is nearing, and my body remembers.  It’s calling for her and she no longer answers.

Last year, right from the start, the grief for my Mom was physical.  My body was pain, muscles tensed and cramped, nerves agitated and on fire.  I took medication to help ease and get me through, and it helped, but only time brought relief.

At first I wondered what was happening, then two weeks in I began to remember Mom caring for me through every childhood illness, helping me feel better, memory after memory after memory.

She wasn’t here to make me feel better.

I began to feel how physical my connection to her was.

Of course it was.

Her body created and nourished mine before I was born.  The whole of me relied entirely on her for life after I was born.

Of course my body—I, we—grieved for her.  I grieved for the hands that carried me, for the warmth I rested against, for the voice that soothed and reassured me.

There is no fast track through grief.  It comes and go as it pleases, and I will not, can not, close the door to it.  My grief comes out of the love I carry, and I would never close the door to love.

For me, the only track through grief is patience, kindness, and care.  Though the learning has been hard, I know now to allow my body to feel what it must feel, allow my heart to be broken, healing, scarred. 

This is another face of love, the face of allowing and letting go, giving grace and release to one I love and to myself.  Watching her take her path and branch away, as I remain standing, both loving and bereft, on mine.

I love you Mom.  Safe journey.

Everything Matters

A few months ago I listened to a webcast.  The speaker compared life’s experiences to climbing a ladder.

“Every rung is important,” he said, “Every rung is equal.”

At first, the idea of “everything matters equally” felt paralyzing.  Taking even the simplest of actions could be life-or-death in a world where all is so completely important. I might do it wrong.

Then I heard the words differently.

Everything in life has equal meaning. 

At first, this didn’t seem logical.  Holding a door open for someone and saving someone’s life has equal meaning? 

Yes, it does. 

Last Fall I was deep in grief over the deaths of my Dad and my cousin.  The feelings came and went, unpredictable tides that left me feeling helpless and lost.  On a day when things were especially colourless and I desperately needed to feel better, I took myself to the library.

As I walked towards the door, it swung open and someone came out.  Their arms were loaded with books, a balancing act, but when they saw me they paused and waited, holding the door open wide.  They looked me in the eyes and smiled.  I thanked them and walked through. 

Holding the door open for someone and smiling, a momentary gesture frequently repeated, nothing really in the larger movements of life. Except this someone, a stranger, smiled for me as if we knew and loved each other well.

That brief action was pure kindness, a connection that gave me light and space and breath.  I was offered a moment of love that buoyed me for the rest of the day.

I don’t know what happens as my actions and choices ripple outwards.  I don’t know who I affect every day in my life.

I do know I want my life’s touch to be as kind and loving as the gift I received that day.

If everything is important and equal, if everything has meaning, I choose to do my days with kindness and love for the people around me and for myself.