Author Vicki Harrison wisely described grief as an ocean, saying “It comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”
As many of you know, my mom passed away several years ago. The initial grief hit me like a tidal wave, but in the seasons following, I have learned how to swim.
However, expert swimmer though I am, there are times when my grief feels like it will drown me. Like it will pull me under into the deep, dark ocean and I won’t ever get a breath of air again.
I call these “bubbles” of grief. They float into your life on a wind or a wave and all the sudden, the loss feels new and shattering and raw as the first day.
Sounds awful, right? If you’ve been there, you definitely know it can be. However, I have come to believe that on some level, ‘grief bubbles’ are like little missives from beyond…little handwritten letters just for us, inviting us to a deeper communion with the Divine. The pain, rich, raw, and all-encompassing as it may be, brings us back in contact with the ones we’ve lost in a real and tangible way.
Yes, there is an invitation in the pain…but how do we accept it? How can we RSVP to something that feels like it will shatter our very beings?
That is the question I asked myself when I was laying on my friend (and life coach) Susan’s couch enduring a ‘grief bubble.’
I was crying like I hadn’t cried in years. Emotional pain that was so great it hurt my very body. Grief, so deep, so familiar, so haunting. Why was this happening to me, I wondered. In recent years, I had been at a 1 or a 2 on the ‘mama missing scale’ (as I dubbed it on my Oprah Radio Show), so why was I back at a 10?
Was it stress? (Yes, I was working hard and not getting enough sleep). Was it hormonal? (Yes, I was perimenopausal and that wasn’t helping.)
But it was also something more than that. I wanted my mother to see me, to read my recent book Quantum Love, to discuss the transformation that I underwent since her passing, to be part of my spiritual life and to witness my growth. After all, she was the one who raised me to open and analytical, and she was always my willing companion in spiritual growth.
But now, where was my companion? Was I to make this journey without her for the rest of time?
As I sat there bawling, Susan didn’t comfort me or try to make me feel better. She just held compassionate space and allowed me to let it all out right there in her living room. As the flood of emotions slowly subsided and I sat there raw and sniffling and fully open, Susan asked me a question that changed everything, “Your book is all about how we are all made of energy and energy never dies. Do you ever feel your mother’s energy?”
A new flood of tears released, as I wailed, “NO!”
In that moment, I realized part of the intense pain and grief I was feeling was based on that internal belief. My belief that that I was somehow incapable of feeling her.
Susan suggested I move into what she knew I referred to as my open hearted state and from there ask my mother to hold me.
As I reached out across time and space to call my mother in, I felt a warming sensation at the top of my spine that slowly radiated outward down and through my entire back. It was a feeling of being cradled from behind. Without me saying a word, Susan (who is one of the most tapped-in people I’ve known) said, “I’m seeing your mother holding you from behind like you are on her lap.”
Researching and writing Quantum Love has not only been professionally gratifying, but it has given me the most invaluable and precious gift: The realization that I can stay connected to my mother at all times. That, anytime I choose, I can connect with her on an energetic level and feel her presence.
And I am not alone. As I’ve been promoting around the country, I’ve met so many people who know exactly what I’m talking about. They can FEEL their lost loved ones, often at random times. But, as I’ve asked questions and done my own experiments, I have collected a few keys to unlocking this amazing door:
1. Complete openness to all possibilities. Sometimes life ‘breaks us open’ (such as during times of loss, grief, fear or great joy such as birth) but if we are spiritually aware, we can choose to live in an open-hearted state without external forces pushing the issue.
3. Invite your loved one in. Imagine that you are preparing a space for them in your mind. Is it a couch in the living room of your childhood home? Is it a quiet table laid with two cups of tea and your mother’s favorite scones? Allow yourself to imagine the details, but remember to focus on feeling love and appreciation not only for your loved one, but for the opportunity itself. For the world around you. For the ability to be present, to be connected, to be here in this very.present.moment.
4. Bring to mind their essence. You may imagine their hair, their eyes, their smell…but try to think beyond the physical plane. What colors come to mind when you think of your lost loved one? Use something other than your eyes to see them, to call their being forth. As I felt warmth near the base of my spine, you might feel tingling in your hands as if your hand is being held. Maybe you will hear a ringing in your ears as if a bell has just gone off. Maybe you will feel the faintest shift in the atmosphere. A feeling of déjà vu.
Perhaps it’s something you can’t even put in words.
That’s okay. You don’t have to. Just sit back and accept what comes. And release the rest. Just like a beach does with the waves. Let your mind be as willing and as silently watchful as a sandy shore. And let your heart pull you closer and closer…