Have you ever lost your loved ones to death before? If you had, I believe this article will resonate deeply with you.
My father was my best friend, soul mate and mentor rolled into one. At 30 years old, I reconnected with him after years of resentment. Over 2.5 years, we completed everything in our relationship. We said all our ‘sorry’s, ‘thank you’s and ‘I love you’s. There is nothing unsaid between us.
It is quite difficult to imagine the level of connection I had with my father. Most people don’t even come close to that in life long marriages, let alone parent-child relationships. Let me try to describe it to you.
My dad and I could discuss about anything under the sun – from complex topics like science, religion, spirituality to something as simple as permaculture. One moment we could be dissecting the multi-layered concept of quantum mechanics, the next moment we would suddenly break into a song and poem. Full moons, sunsets, the sea and forests, these are the grandeurs of nature that we share an immense love for.
Many times dad and I walked silently hand in hand. We could be watching an angry thunderstorm unfold from indoors, or we were lost in the sounds of crickets at the park. It doesn’t matter what we do, or where we go. What matters was that we had each other’s company and we enjoy every moment deeply, while holding hands.
We would watch comedies together and laugh till we cry, or watch sad movies and cried until we laughed. Everything we experienced together reminds us of all the mistakes we had made, me as a daughter, him as a father, and how grateful we were to have each other again.
That is not my boyfriend, or my husband. That person I am talking about is my father.
If I said 2.5 years was enough, I’d be lying. It is too short. Like a kid whose toy had been snatched, I was angry when dad passed. I wish I had more time with him; I wish I could reverse the clock and stop him from going to the place where the accident happened; I wanted to strangle the person who caused his death; I wish I had the sensibility to wake up earlier and reconcile with him earlier, so that I can have 20 years instead of 2.5 years with him; I wish…the wish list never ends.
In the first year after his passing, I sold my apartment because everything in it reminds me of him. Footsteps in the corridor, the sound of keys, the door bell ringing all gave me hope that I would see him returning. After I moved out, his memories followed me. For almost every night, I played back the recordings of the songs I sang when I was out with him. Although I could not hear his voice, i could sense his energy from the moments of recording. It was the closest I could get to having him with me at that time.
Grief never really ends, as I’ve learnt. It comes in waves, often when we least expect it. 3 years after dad passed, the waves of grief began to spread out. In between there are gaps. Gaps for life. I feel life at a much deeper level. I feel people and their emotions; sometimes even emotions that they didn’t know they had.
Gradually, the waves of grief get triggered not only by memories, but new beginnings as well. A milestone in my work, a lover’s loving caress, a perfect sunset, full moon or an intense moment of concentration in nature, these too led to my missing of dad, and tears of joy. Sometimes it lasted a few minutes; sometimes it lasted several hours. In all these moments, all my senses were filled with God’s presence.
And I have come to realize that, as long as I want deeply connected, passionate, fulfilling relationships with people, I cannot avoid pain. I’ve lost count of the times which I’d felt incredible pain, through death or through breakdowns in relationships with people; but I would never choose any other way to live. I know I’d rather feel the pain and feel alive, than to avoid it and slowly die inside. No matter how badly my heart had been broken, there is nothing God cannot fix. Maybe there is nothing to fix at all; because my heart broken does not mean I am not whole. And since I am a speck of God consciousness, how can I be not whole?
And thus I leave you with my little nugget of dealing with grief. Don’t be afraid of it. Face it, go fully into it. Let it engulf, overwhelm and break you. When you are through, pay attention to the bareness, vulnerability of your heart. Stay in that openness, and operate your life from that openness. That is the space of love, from which no acts of violence or terrorism can arise. That is the space from which you too will hear the music that is God’s love song.
(Article is an excerpt and edited from 2013’s version)
(C) Copyright Linda Loo