Endings and Beginnings

Spring has arrived in my part of the world (Southern Ontario, Canada), and it’s one of my favourite seasons. After the winter, we are shedding the extra clothes we need to keep warm, opening up the windows, and taking in the beautiful colors of new growth. It’s a time for aliveness and freshness. This has been a poignant spring for my family. My mother died on April 6th. She was 92, and we all knew that death would be near. It was what she very much wanted as she felt less and less well and was simply ready to move on. Even though we were prepared, there is a deep sadness in saying good bye.

She will dearly rest in my heart, always.

Endings and Beginnings

I am feeling the loss of her, remembering her, and reflecting. And at the same time, I am appreciating the new life that springtime, part of the cycle of life, gives birth to. This year, spring is when my mother chose to die, and a new great niece or nephew is preparing to be born. Both happenings are part of life.

As a culture, we embrace the joy of new life; we do our best to avoid death.  We use words like “transition” or “pass” instead of the word “die”.  Death is equated with loss and pain. When we face death, it is a time to be gentle and courageous, a time to allow all feelings that arise to be welcomed into the heart.

What would it be like if we recognized all of our beliefs about death and loss and questioned the truth of them?

What would open in life for us?

Would we look at aging differently?

Would we accept, as is, all the feelings that coincide with illness?

Would it help us open our hearts to everything that is part of life? Would we allow rather than focus on controlling?

In honoring death, we honor life. My mother had a great laugh and sparkly eyes. As the years went on, she stepped into her wisdom and remained practical and clear thinking until the end of her life. She loved to learn, she loved people, she loved exploring. Smart, caring, warm, forthright, likable, friendly, honest and so much more. She was, and is loved.

When we open our hearts to life and death, we can embrace all that is new and transitioning within us and for us. The parts of ourselves come to the surface, asking to be held in the heart. And from the heart, we can allow them to gradually die in us, in their own time. A freedom arises within that can take us into the Unknown.

This I honor: the qualities of being human show up uniquely in all of us and, as part of life. We are everything.

"Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands." ~ Linda Hogan (Native American Poet)

Practice:

Be with the questions: What is wanting to die within you?   What is calling you forward?   What is wanting to be born within you? What are you willing to lose for this?

 

*The painting is by Holly Friesen. You can see more of her wonderful art here.