Personal evolution is an interesting thing.
One minute you were at Point A, and then you find yourself at Point Z, and you can’t quite remember going through points B through Y to get there, you just realize you are standing in an entirely different place.
Lamentations of the Sea will be out tomorrow, and after spending my weekend re-reading and proofing the book one last time, I can see how far I’ve traveled this past year.
Loss comes to all of us in many shapes and forms, but there was something about the tragic, sudden nature of Brent’s death that interrupted my life in a way that extended far beyond grief. It interrupted my sense of family. My sense of life as I knew it. My sense of belonging. My comfortability. My security. My assumptions about how life would and should look.
My core self and sense of identity.
Brent’s death was as disruptive as Brent could sometimes be when he was alive; that disruption taking my life, turning it upside down, shaking it- purging it of anything and everything that didn’t have true sustenance and weight, couldn’t hang on, stick, withstand the shake.
And now here I am one year later, and I have a lot more love and a lot more space where old attachments, suppositions, ideologies and obligations used to be.
I used that space to write this book, and as I sit here on the verge of its release, I have a sense that it is going to make its way into the right hands and hearts; offer good medicine for others who’ve also been turned upside down and shaken.
A year ago today I was on the island of Kauai trying to cope, trying to deal with my grief, trying to wrap my mind around Gone Brent Gone. Preparing to return to Alaska that evening; preparing to return and face the memorial, face the reality, face the unwanted passage of grief life had signed me up to take.
I clung to the island that day. Sat on one of my favorite beaches in Hanalei watching the waves crash in and out, trying to take the sun and surf and sand and palms into me, knowing I was coming back to face some supremely trying things. Not knowing the bizarre and awful surreality of those things or how grave and terrible the tasks of death can be.
The day we saw his body and said a final goodbye, I brought roses for each of us to give to him, placed a letter on him that wrote my final truth- told him I now saw what his soul had signed up to do in this life– honored him as best I knew how, tried to be there for my parent’s and help house their grief. Then I contained all of that and went to work and over-functioned, because that is all I knew to do.
Grieve, contain, show up for others and care take, over function, dissolve, devolve, cry, grieve, contain, over function- that was life at that time, a strange dance of going back and forth between states of self-organization and self-deterioration, and it broke something inside of me that needed to be broken.
Broke this sense of burden and obligation and responsibility towards being a care taker, allowing me to finally, finally see: It is not my job to mend somebody’s broken wing. It is simply my desire and my heart’s calling to honor that broken wing, send it love, and believe in that bird’s ability to find healing for their self.
Compassionate detachment is to remain fully present with another in their pain while letting go and separating yourself out of how you think the outcome should look. I began to learn to practice this in a way I hand’t known to do before.
I began letting go of managing others. Of managing situations. Of managing my image or how others might think of me or how they might perceive how I was going through my grieving process. Of managing anything other than me.
I began to make a lot more space for where I was at. I began to make more space for where other people were at. Allowed them to simply be who and what they are. Learned that sending somebody love from afar can be just as, if not more powerful, than trying to fix something for them in person.
Learned it wasn’t my responsibility to generate catharsis for other people or be the supreme nurturer people looked to in times of trouble. That everybody must find their own inner gurus, must roll up their sleeves and get to work on their own life, must become invested in doing their own organizing of heart and soul.
That there are sources and forces in this world, far larger than I, that not only will do a better job handling things, but are available to anyone and everyone- if they just ask. And that sometimes the best thing I can do is stop trying to fix, refuse to be an emotional custodian, and get out of the way and Let Life.
I realized for years I’d been running around, trying to be this wise women for all these other people, when what I really needed to do was stop, attend to myself, and just be a wise woman for me. Realized that saying “no” to another can be an act of love for them and almost always is a way of saying “yes” to something inside of yourself.
And somewhere in the middle of all that letting go, I became a better wise woman who was better equipped to truly love others. Allowing them to be who and what and where they are at. Allowing things to be what they are without attaching expectation to how it should look. Making space for the All of who somebody is; making space for the All of who I am; making space for the All in this Life.
I am a different person than I was a year ago at this time. My love is bigger. My heart is bigger. My understanding is bigger. My compassion is bigger. My breaths are bigger. My space is bigger.
I am bigger.
And however this book does, whoever else it travels too- I will always have this chronicle; this memory; this reminder of that disruptive, heart aching, soul shaping, life rearranging, self changing, horrible, beautiful, mess of a time-that will remind me exactly how I traveled from Point A to Point Z.