A couple of days ago I mourned the passing of my mom.
It was the anniversary of her death and each year around this time I feel anguished. I so desperately wanted this year to be different. I needed for it to be different. And it was.
The pain was still there, but I did something a bit differently this year.
First of all, I launched my new blog Memoirs of Memory Lane.
It is a blog that is not focussed on me, but on you. It is about honouring your life, your story and your legacy. It is about documenting our stories in bite size, tangible chunks that honour the life we have led, that immortalises the wisdom we have to impart.
I am especially proud of it. The engagement that I have had, as well as the support, has completely and utterly blown me away.
The passing of my mom inspired this new project. It has been an incredibly positive way to channel my grief.
Then Mr D surprised me by taking the day off. We have decided that he will take the day off every year. Because no-one should have to grieve on their own. Especially as I don’t have any family of origin close by. My dad lives in the UK, my sister in South Africa and my brother in the Caribbean. We are far flung across this incredible globe. We are also separated in our grief.
Mr D asked me what I would like to do for the day.
All I knew is that I did not want to be indoors. I am indoors a lot, and this day I did not want to be indoors.
We decided to visit my friend Mrs T. She lives about a 45 minute drive away, in a semi rural village. The drive is along an open road with countryside either side of you. All you can see is the open fields and blue skies above. It is beautiful. And cathartic.
We visited, and laughed, and ate beautiful home made muffins, and drank beautiful tea, and sat in the glowing warmth of an open fire because it was winter, but sunny outside. It was healing.
Then we went to my favourite beach – Kilcunda Beach. It is a big beach, with rugged rocks, and sand dunes. It is not really a swimming beach so it is not as popular with tourists, which means we pretty much had the beach to ourselves. It is my happy place.
As soon as I arrived, I looked out, breathed in the salty, healing, replenishing sea air. I let it slip down my nostrils and into my lungs. I felt my lungs expand. I felt the calm settle over me.
I looked at Mr C. I loved him so much for bringing me here. I loved him so much for loving me, for understanding my grief, for understanding how damaged I am and loving me anyway. I loved him so much for not seeing me as damaged, but as someone he finds beautiful and kind and soulful and for constantly telling me so. Love filled my heart and for a moment grief stepped aside.
We walked onto the beach. The sand was wet from the rains and there was a nip in the winter air. I sat on a rock and looked out onto the ocean. Seagulls screeched and flew about. It all seemed so free out there and in the sky. I opened my arms, I closed my eyes, I thought of my mom. Grief stepped back inside my heart, but it was good. It wasn’t gripping, or crushing or soul destroying. I was leaning in and it felt good.
Mr C came over and sat next to me. He put his arm gently around my shoulder. I placed my head on his shoulder and I let the tears flow.
“I miss her so much,” I said.
“I know,” he replied.
We stood up and look at our shadows. Two people, as one.
And then I wrote in the sand.
We talked and I remembered. I spoke of how my mom loved the ruggedness of bracing weather, of how when the wind would howl and whip at her, she felt more excited, more alive than ever before. As the wind picked up, I remembered how my mom would have held her face to it and felt more alive.
Dusk was on its way. It was time to leave.
We walked back up the stairs, my heart sad but a little lighter. We liked it here. I loved it here. My heart is at peace here. On the way home, I looked at the open road and found a calm I didn’t think I would experience this day. I honoured my mom and found my calm.
Grief is and always will be a part of my story. I know that and accept that now. And this was a really good way to honour that.
Until next time,
0 thoughts on “HONOURING GRIEF IS THERAPEUTIC + HEALING”
For me, marking the occasion each year is an important part of the process. We started a tradition the first year after my dad died that we have a weekend at our farm where bikes are ridden, bonfires are lit, and bullshit abounds. We don’t necessarily talk about him 24/7, but by doing the things that he loved to do we keep him close and his memory alive. We will have our fourth of these ‘wazza’ weekends in a fortnight and I hope the tradition continues for many more yet. I’m pleased you found a way that worked for you to mark the day. It’s hard, there’s no question about that, but agree. it is cathartic to do so. Perhaps its the space that we allow ourselves on the anniversary to truly feel, rather than just having a quick cry then getting on with it for the other 364 days of the year.
What a lovely way you have of honouring your dad Rachael. I think if I still lived in the UK close to my dad we would almost certainly do something together that my mom loved. xx
What a beautiful way to honour your Mom, Sarah. And what a beautiful relationship you have with your man.
Over the past two weeks I have been with my Mother in law who has advanced parkinsons. The last time I was with someone in a similar way was when my Mum was near the end of her battle with cancer. It has been a very triggering week. But like you, the beach called me. I was at the very beach I’ve been walking along every day when I heard the news about my Mum passing away. I’m sure I felt her spirit fly over me. It’s an important place for me, staring out into the vastness and letting my soul pour out all that longing.
Thank you for writing about your mother grief. It always gives me space to share about my own and that is so helpful.
Hugs to you.
Oh Rachel, I am so sorry about your mother-in-law and I can fully understand how that would be a trigger for you for the loss of your mum. Please do take care of yourself. Grief has no time limit. My father-in-law will still tear up when he speaks of his dad who passed away some 30-odd years ago now. Much love and light to you sweetheart xx
This is so beautiful Sarah. I write Xavier’s name on every beach I go to. I think those little rituals are so important. Keeps them close. Much love to you – I think it’s sort of nice (in a sad way) that our dark dates are close together. I have certainly drawn some strength and recognition from your words.
There is something so significant about writing something in the sand. I guess it is a metaphor for life really – the transience of it all. I must admit, I also thought it was a nice (in a sad way) that our dark dates are so close – like we understand in different ways what we are going through. I’m glad my words have offered some strength for you – your prayer flags in particular have done the same for me xx