Present Tense

Time for the grief to go

I made a conscious intention a couple of days ago to let go of my grief.

There has been so much over the last 3 years, culminating in my mom’s death in December.  When we suffer profound loss, we tend to revisit it for a period of time afterwards.  Sometimes, for the rest of our lives.

I started wondering why?  Why do I keep bringing back these feelings of pain and sadness, not only in my mind, but in my body.  I can feel the pain as if it were happening all over again.  It’s like picking at a wound that has scabbed over, only to make it bleed again and again and again.

How can it heal, when it is re-opened?

I realized that part of it was guilt. Guilt that if I don’t keep thinking about these deaths, that I’m not properly honoring them.  A belief that I need to remind myself of their loss and their absence on this physical plane.  That I can’t talk to them or hug them or apologize or encourage.  And I feel guilty that their absence also gives me a certain freedom. Especially from parental and family expectations and obligations.

Another part was fear. Fear that if I don’t revisit and remember, that they will fade from my memory as if they were never here.  Fear that I will forget how profoundly they affected me and how fiercely I loved them and they loved me.  Especially with the dogs, since I have other dogs now.  It becomes difficult to keep the dead ones in my consciousness; they all start to meld together.

So, I’ve been picking the scab; often in the quiet of  middle of the night.  I would wake up and remember.  They are gone.  Then move on to the day they died and the circumstances of their deaths and then I felt it all over again.  Almost as if it were happening in that moment.  And it felt terrible, but I rationalized it by telling myself that I have to keep their memory alive.  I have to feel that pain.

No more.  That scab has to heal. No more picking.  No more bleeding.  It will most certainly leave a scar.  But, scars don’t bleed and we often display them with the stories of how we got them. Usually, with a smile because we know that we survived and no matter how awful the wound, we did heal to a certain extent.  We healed enough to tell the tale of that scar.

I’ve shifted over to positive memories.  Funny, joyful, instructive, emotional, happy, silly and yes, sometimes sad or challenging memories.  A well-rounded remembrance of our lives.

So, that’s where I am.  Healing.  Isn’t that where we all are?  Everyday?  One wound may still be fresh, while others have scabbed over and many are well earned scars.  This is our life on planet earth. It hurts, but we get another day to make a life…and then another and another and another.

Allowing my grief to move into a new stage involved a release and an emptying that leaves me open and ready to what is coming.  It’s been a long process, with so many losses piled on top of one another in a fairly short time.  I’d never really had to deal with death in such an intimate way until 3 years ago and I was ill prepared.  A very steep learning curve that culminated in the honor of seeing, hearing and feeling my mom’s last breath.

But, it’s okay.  Lives end. They begin.  And what we do in between is what matters to humanity.  Make a decision to heal your wounds.  Ask for help, seek out tools and practices.  Don’t keep making yourself bleed over and over.  We have an innate ability to heal physically that is so apparent.  What may not be as apparent is our innate ability to heal our spirits as well.  The first step is intention.

I wish you well.  Feel free to reach out.

April 18, 2017 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. hope all goes well for you on your healing

    Comment by WordCatcher | April 18, 2017 | Reply

  2. Thanks for this, Jane. I’ve suffered many losses over the past few years as well, including losing my mom in December also. I’m going to keep all of this in mind starting today, as it’s a very enlightening way to look at grief. We cannot get them back, and I feel powerless many days. It’s definitely time to focus on how we can make our days here about the people and pets that are here with us now.

    Comment by Linette | April 18, 2017 | Reply

  3. I’ve been there too Jane. Husband, mother, good friends… Acceptance is the final stage of the grieving process. It doesn’t mean we stop remembering, it just means we move into a different level that doesn’t hurt all the time. All the best to you.

    Comment by Pam O'Malley | April 18, 2017 | Reply

  4. As I visit my mother in BC every other weekend or so, I know what is coming. You have helped me look at that in a better, more healing way. I understand that with both my parents it is the gifts that live on through my brother and I, and the nieces and nephews and their kids, etc. You get the point. When the house fills up for thanksgiving, or Christmas I marvel at what they both created. I often think about what everyone has accomplished, is accomplishing and will accomplish. The thousands of people that will be positively impacted by what my parents started. When I think of that I cannot help but feel pride and give a smile. Thanks my friend.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd | April 18, 2017 | Reply

    • Tim
      You know what’s coming and when she is born into spirit, it will truly be a blessing. Keep that in mind. Her soul will be soaring, rather than imprisoned. In fact, maybe it’s already soaring and only her body is still here. Take care…much love, my friend.

      Comment by janelondon | April 18, 2017 | Reply

  5. I was so close to my mother and she passed away when I was 28 years old. I remember thinking after she was gone how strange it was that this immense trauma took place but when I looked outside, the world kept on moving despite it. Life continues to move on, always inviting us to catch up and live with the world and its beauty again. Thank you for sharing this.

    Comment by TL | April 18, 2017 | Reply

    • My sense is that losing a parent when you’re that young is a whole other challenge and wound. I’m sure that trauma was very hard to process and move on from. Thanks for taking the time to write.

      Comment by janelondon | April 18, 2017 | Reply

  6. This is beautiful and I see my future in your words (I haven’t lost my parents yet). Any words of wisdom or advice that you wish you had heard a few years ago – noting your comment that you were ill prepared? Thank you!

    Comment by Carol Ho | April 18, 2017 | Reply

    • Carol
      I don’t really think there is any way to prepare other than a spiritual practice of some sort. I had the stirrings of one and have been meditating for years, but it was the death of a dog, my dad and then a dear friend that really jump started my exploration into death. I’ve written quite extensively about these incidents and my reactions, beginning in fall of 2013.
      Perhaps you could look at some of these posts for an idea of what may help. Wishing you the best and thank you for the comment and question. Take care

      Comment by janelondon | April 18, 2017 | Reply

  7. When my mom passed, the hospice worker shared this with me.
    (Sorry that the author was not given credit on the handout she gave me; therefore, no credit is given here.)

    A Cut…

    is numb before it bleeds,
    it bleeds before it hurts,
    it hurts until it begins to heal,
    it forms a scab and itches until finally,
    the scab is gone and a small scar
    is left where once there was a wound.
    Grief is the deepest wound you have ever had.
    Like a cut finger, it goes through
    stages and leaves a scar.

    Comment by Glenda Sinks | April 18, 2017 | Reply

  8. Beautifully said. My husband of 34 years passed 14 years ago, and I’ve gone through everything you spoke of, and have come out on the bright side of life. I appreciate the love we had, and I appreciate my life now. Thank you, Jane

    Comment by Rosemary Gentry | April 18, 2017 | Reply

  9. Love love love

    Comment by Kelly Nees | April 18, 2017 | Reply

  10. wow, very beautiful and heartfelt post. I’m sorry you’ve been going through a rough time. You’re very strong for moving through this and working towards a place of healing. wish you the best

    Comment by speak766 | April 23, 2017 | Reply

  11. Hi Jane. Missing u here in Denver on the radio! It’s just not the same without you. I think you should be on the Dom and Jane show remotely from where you are. LOL. I do hospice work and I too have lost both my parents. No one ever loves us like our parents did, so I feel you. I help teach bereavement classes and here’s a wonderful exercise that you might want to do. You’re a gorgeous writer so the exercise is writing. You answer four questions and it’s sweet and helpful to get us out of the grief some, but, we grieve because we love. The questions are number one what I wish I could have told you. Number two is what I wish you could have told me. Number 3 is what I can no longer do now that this change has taken place and number four is what I CAN do now that this change has taken place. I have found this to be extremely helpful with my own grief. I hope it’s helpful to you. Fondly, Suzann

    Comment by Suzann Thomas | April 29, 2017 | Reply

    • Suzann
      Thanks so much for taking the time to write. I will try this exercise very soon…I think that someday soon I may want to look into volunteering for hospice. I feel as if maybe I can offer something.
      All the best,

      Comment by janelondon | April 29, 2017 | Reply

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