When someone close to you is leaving this life, it is a time of beauty, anger, softness, fear, reflection, guilt, gratefulness, hurt, intimacy, depression, intensity, hardness, vulnerability. And each one of these is optional.
The process of grieving starts early, before the loved one leaves, and some carry their grief with grace and humility, others with hardness and resistance, and most wear their cloak of grief somewhere inbetween. Flipflopping from one emotion to another, one moment vulnerable, the next harder and tough, the next irritable, distracted and confused.
It is all normal. It is all the grieving process. It is all to be expected. There is no particular order. There are no rules.
We look for closure with the loved one. Sometimes that is not possible. They are not close by. Their decision makers, in their own grief, might be very protective and limit access. The dear one themselves might not be physically or mentally capable of dealing with the grief of others.
I notice in the spaces between sending love to my dear one who is leaving us that the need for others to speak their grief to the loved one is huge. To reflect and begin conversations with “remember when….” I see too how unhelpful this is and comforts only the person staying not the person leaving.
I see that the process of loving a person who is leaving us is one of discipline. Of letting go of all that we think we need in order to serve the one who is leaving in the best possible way. Sometimes that is to stay away.
The loved one who is leaving is on a journey that we will never understand completely, not until we undertake that journey too. In all humility we can only watch and help as they require. Whether it is a chocolate bar or a foot massage or a conversation of such frankness and intimacy that it leaves you reeling.
This is such a precious time. I soften myself and leave myself open to the hearing and the sensing of what is needed. Transition is often not something of a moment but of moments, perhaps of days, perhaps of weeks. I sense my dear one leaving, becoming transparent, the spirit emerging, a beauty that defies appearance.
Love to all who have lost loved ones, and to all who will.