Life and death and everything in between … it’s the essence of our existence on Earth.
Birthing is endless. Eighty babies each week are born where I live. That’s 11 – 12 babies each day of the year; over 4000 babies a year.
And then begins life and the act of living, a ride of ups and downs in bobs and bounds. Wants, desires and needs; repulsions, successes and failures. There is joy and happiness and fun too, moments of elation and some of deep desolation and chasmic depression. Positive and negative emotions and learning how to cope with those and the challenges thrown at us are an inescapable fact of life. And sitting at the foundation of all life is love. Sweet, deep love and love gone awry.
Life truly is a roller coaster ride, or as Forrest Gump says, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.’
I always see that box of chocolates without a cheat sheet to identify which chocolate is which. Some chocolates are covered in gold wrappers to entice, while others appear plain and smooth, uninteresting. One bite into either can lead to a surprise, sometimes a jackpot, while others are spat out in repugnant disgust, never to be sampled again.
There is always an end to the sampling though, no matter if there are a million and a half varieties or three, to choose from. In life, that end means death.
Birth and death are inevitable, as necessary as breathing, drinking and loving. They are guaranteed. Birth can be one of the most joyous life events, just as death can be one of the most destructive and ravaging. And like the chocolates, there is no cheat sheet on how to deal with the passing of someone dearly loved or the grief that follows.
There have been many souls leaving this Earth around me lately, and some near misses. Even those near misses can be challenging, especially when they happen to those so close to me and I wonder if it’s a type of grieving I must process.
I feel for those grieving and for those that still grieve years later. Grieving can be so long and drawn out for some and sadly, a process that never ends. It can feel as though stuck in a quicksand that does not release its grip. For others, it’s an instinctive and subconscious process that must be had, step by step, day by day. It’s a huge adjustment to live without someone who has always existed, been so caring and trusting, a confidant and someone to lean on for support. A massive abyss appears where once a garden of the freshest and most succulent flowers thrived.
Sometimes there can be regret too, regret for not saying and doing more, for not being more. That can be like biting into the most bitter of chocolates that leaves a second acerbic, lingering after-taste.
Adjusting to life without someone so prominent in our lives, where yesterday they breathed and spoke, can be like living in a twilight zone of somewhere yet nowhere. What’s next, where to next and how to release from the anchoring within that strangle-hold quicksand?
Sometimes there is no light at that moment, not even a glimmer. Until at some point, a flicker will appear. That may be within days, or years, and could last a second, a day or more.
I’ve come to realise too that just because the physicality of a loved one is missing, they’re not truly gone. Their soul lingers around me as shadows or come to me in dreams. After thirty plus years, I still feel my father’s presence, especially when I’m feeling troubled or stressed.
It’s important to feel all the emotions, feel the sadness and loneliness. Feel those moments of joy, past and present. Feel the anger. Feel scared and anxious and don’t shut any of those feelings down.
I think that’s the key. Allowing oneself to feel the range of feelings and understand it’s okay to feel those. Accept what is. Know that we’re loved and supported and that there’s help if we need it. Lean on people. That’s what we humans do, as social creatures with well developed social system.
So sample that next chocolate with someone by your side.