I know many of you have been following my journey with my dad. I wanted to let you know that he died peacefully, surrounded by family on June 1st. I was able to be right by his side.
I have been moved and grateful to have the incredible support of so many during this time. From my husband who keeps giving me extra hugs and foot rubs, to friends that have been helping with my kids, or offering a walk or tea, to the amazing staff at Source Yoga that have been teaching for me and holding down the fort while I have been away, to the many students I have received messages of love and condolences from.
I must write a special thank you to Shari, our incredible office manager at Source Yoga. Shari joined our staff only last fall, but she has jumped in, learned so quickly, cares so much about the community of teachers and students at Source Yoga, and is truly inspired about sharing the benefits of yoga. Shari has handled things at the studio with such grace and confidence. It has given me this time to be with family, and to take time for grieving.
This time and spaciousness for grieving has truly been a gift. So many times, after a loss, one is expected or required to rush back into the doings of life. I have even heard some say that it is preferable to immerse oneself in work or life to distract oneself from the feelings you might be having after losing someone. Many times, we don’t have a choice about how much time we are able to take off, whether it is due to work requirements or financial need. If you have young children, it is difficult to have space from the daily chaos and noise.
Culturally, we don’t offer much space for grief. We try to manage ourselves so that we can function, and keep up our pace, our work, our life. We end up mostly grieving in private, or we end up pushing down the rawness of feeling just to get through the day.
This journey of grieving is a powerful one and has its own rhythm that is not predictable. I am discovering there is no way through the experience of grief except to dive right in, and let it wash over me fully. And I am learning it is not always what I expected it to be. I expected sadness, tears, the feeling of loss. I have been surprised by moments of intense anger and irritation, a deep aching in my body, heaviness in my bones, whole days of feeling lost and aimless, tired. I lost my mom 6 years ago, and I have been surprised that the loss of my father has brought up grief from losing her as well.
Anne Lamott says, “…only grieving can heal grief…I’m pretty sure that only experiencing that ocean of sadness in a naked and immediate way do we come to be healed – which is to say, we come to experience life with a real sense of presence and spaciousness and peace.”
Each day, I am simply doing my best to greet what arises with the gift of space. The space to feel and be carried. One of the gifts of this time for me has been learning how to ask for what I need. Asking my husband for a hug or to make me a plate of food. Asking a friend to pick up my kids from school. Yesterday I asked my husband to handle the day while I got back in bed, with a heating pad and book.
I have often been the mom who does it all. But in this, I simply can’t. This experience has required me to surrender. I simply haven’t been able to handle all that I was before – work and kids and home – and still have the space I want and need to allow the ocean of this experience to carry me where I am meant to go. Luckily, my community around me has been a yes. Yes, let me take your kids for the afternoon. Yes let me bring you a meal. Yes, I will go for a walk with you. Yes, I will sit on your couch and eat potato chips with you and cry. Yes, let me help you carry the load.
So I surrender. I give up trying to do it all. I let myself slow down. I have been taking time to write, because that is how I best process my experience. It feels nourishing. Soul-satisfying. I share my writing to feel less alone, and when I open up about my experience, I hear from so many of you, saying, “Yes, I have been there too.” “I am going through this now as well.” It’s a little easier to bear the weight when we know we are in it together.
I know that there will be a returning soon to the regular doings of life. I will be grateful. But for now, I am taking time and space.
Time and allowing are the best gifts I have received. Thank you.