August 31, 2023
Hey there, this is Lisa from Wei of Chocolate.
We’ve had a number of people contacting us lately about losing their loved ones.
Death typically isn’t talked about much in our culture, but we are finding that more & more people want to talk about it & need support with it.
It’s something that many of us have already experienced in this life already.
And there’s not a single human being who won’t experience it. First-hand.
We all will die.
And everyone we know will die, too.
Awareness of death has been more present for me than usual this week. Two years ago today, as I’m writing this, my mom died.
I normally steer clear of apps that feel like thinly veiled Big Brother, but a few years ago my phone was filled to capacity and I was afraid I’d lose all my precious photos. So I succumbed and put Google Photos on my phone.
Now I’m treated to Artificial Intelligence-curated photo collages and ‘Rediscover this Day’ collections. Sometimes they’re funny, or touching or sweet. This week, I’ve been reliving the last glimpses of my mom’s life, day by day. One day, Google Photos assembled some poignant photos of my mom in her bed, slipping away, and titled it: Bundle of Joy (!) 🤦🏻♀️
AI must have been listening, because since then, it’s prompted me to add my own titles.🙄
My dad died in 2020; he was 94. My mom died in 2021; she was 93. They both died at home with me & my small circle of support. We were so lucky to have each other. All of us.
I lived with my folks for almost two years before my dad passed away, and was by their side through their decline — right up to the end.
So in no particular order, I want to share with you some of the things that either helped me or that I came to realize through the process:
You can't really estimate or underestimate the time that it takes for adjustment after losing someone special. You just don't know.
Each time we are faced with grief, it gives us the opportunity to open our hearts — again & again. The funniest things can trigger it.
Radishes always remind me of my dad. I told him that once, and he thought it was funny. He didn’t particularly identify with radishes.
Last week, someone at the office was borrowing my Mom’s electric scooter because he fractured his foot. She’d forget to put the arm rest down when she jetted off in the scooter, hunched over the handlebars — which would send me running after her to flip it down before she fell out. In the final years of her life, she lost both her legs, so it was a pretty big concern. So when I saw Ray scootin’ around without the arm rest down, it made me laugh at my urge to run after him.
When it comes to our parents, we’ve never experienced the world without them in their bodies — they’ve always been in our lives! So naturally, we have attachment to that form.
Yet, when our loved ones leave their bodies, it's really a liberation from that small flesh vessel into a very great vessel.
Their energy doesn't go away. It never goes away.
While there is the loss of the visual connection to the form that we knew, there doesn't have to be the loss of connection to their energy — to their essence that remains.
In the beginning, it's often really present. For the first few days, weeks, months, you can feel their presence with you.
We can connect with them in that way by finding quiet space — by opening our hearts. You can feel them. You can talk to them. You can send them love, peace, joy, happiness & gratitude. You can make offerings to them, like flowers.
All of that can be sent and received in that space — it doesn't require the human body.
There's so much comfort in that.
Another other thing I found really helpful is the notion of space.
Before I went to live with my folks, I would go visit them in Florida. And then come back to Phoenix. I went back & forth a lot.
My dad would always get sad when I got ready to leave Florida. One day we were sitting out on the back porch of their home, looking out onto the little golf course that it backed up to.
As we were both looking out, I asked my dad to tell me what he saw.
He said, "I see the bushes, and the trees, the golf tee ..."
And then I asked him, "Do you see the space?"
He said, "What do you mean?"
I said, "The space between the trees ... the space between the bushes. Do you you see that space?"
He said, "Yeah, I see the space."
Then I asked him if it ended at the road.
He said, "No, the space doesn’t end ... it keeps going."
I said, "Yes, and that space is the same space that reaches me in Phoenix. And so when you're on one end of the space, I'm on the other end of the space. We're connected by the space."
He got a little tear in his eye. Because when you hear something that’s true, you feel it in your body like that.
We are all held within this vessel of space. And that never becomes untrue.
So when someone leaves their body, you're still connected to them — you're connected by the space. We're all still held within that greater vessel.
Anytime you want to, you can rest in that knowingness — that sense of expansion. When you do, you can feel the space outside your body — to the right, left, front, back, above, below. And you’ll recognize that we are all held in that vast spaciousness. And all of our loved ones are there also. The ones that are still here, and the ones that have left their bodies.
I remember clearly feeling flickers of guilt when my dad died. I also felt it with my mom.
Quite objectively, there was nothing more that could have been done to extend their lives.
But even so, there's that tendency to beat ourselves up a little bit or to question & wonder ...
"What could I have done to prevent this?"
"How could I have stopped this?"
"Could I have given them more time?"
It’s important to remember that you don't have to buy into it or give it weight.
Just because it arises, doesn’t mean that it’s true.
In those moments that your mind is playing tricks on you, you can just generate some compassion for yourself.
Feeling guilty is apparently a normal reaction — but it’s not rational or logical.
As a society, we tend to interpret death as a failing.
But that’s just not true.
A couple of months before my mom died, she asked me if she should call the cremation people, and let them know she was coming soon. I assured her that that was one thing she didn’t have to do herself!
Death is like birth — it’s a part of life.
Using flower essences through the entire death & dying process is so helpful & so supportive — for everyone who’s involved: the ones dying & the ones staying.
For today, I will share the flower essences that are really supportive for the ones left behind:
Sacred Heart: soothe your grieving heart; surrender into self-love, elicit poignant beauty despite change; feel supported with godmotherly love; soften the edge of deep sadness; take exquisite care of yourself
Open Heart: awaken vulnerability, curiosity & openness to what’s next; reintegrate fragmented parts of yourself into balance; soften resistance to share what’s on your heart
Boundless Wisdom: perceive the preciousness of every moment; embrace discomfort as a key to awakening; feel deeply supported in times of major transition; strengthen in ability to embrace change, hope & lightheartedness; understanding that the transition was perfect & divinely timed
Divine Within: tend to yourself & make nourishment a priority; experience true love without attachment; dissolve uncertainty & fear of the unknown; activate gentle, tender, protective love toward yourself
Infinite Love: magnify gentleness & tenderness; tend to & heal wounds of the heart; navigate painful situations with strength
Inner Peace: feel grounded & stable; see the light at the end of the tunnel; feel like you have a foundation of support to stand on; experience more adaptability in times of change & transition
Fierce Compassion: activate deep healing of the heart with self-compassion & softness; magnify ability to be gentle with yourself; embrace yourself with motherly love, warmth & protection
Also, chocolate: to ground & nourish your system
There's so many more things that I could share — but I will leave it at that today.
If you find any of this helpful, or want to hear more more about caregiving, end of life, death & dying, please let me know!
If you know someone grieving the loss of a loved one, feel free to send them this.
On the other side of the space,