Leaving Her Body…

Elizabeth Blue, Jade Beall, Elizabeth Meagher

Elizabeth Blue ~ April, 2012 by Jade Beall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One year ago today, the email below I sent to our close friends and family. Now I share it here, with those of you who have joined me on this transformative, healing journey.

As I prepared for this first anniversary of my daughter Elizabeth’s death, I anticipated it would be challenging. I’ve been learning how to care for myself, my needs, better and better throughout this time, so I asked close family and friends to gather, a very small group who knew and love Elizabeth (and me!) dearly, to come and spend time together.  We’ve spent the last couple of days telling stories, looking at photos, doing art projects with Elizabeth’s image, eating, laughing, resting, loving Elizabeth and each other…

We plan to begin the process of releasing her ashes today, spreading some in one of her favorite places in Tucson, with plans to spread more in Berkeley and Hawaii later, two of her other favorite places. I honor her and remember her every day, and oddly, today doesn’t feel as momentous or intense as I expected – I’m wondering now if the emotion will come when everyone leaves and I’m alone again…in this first year, even the hardest days have been fine, as I’ve watched myself experiencing emotion like never before, and always able to be aware that it will pass, that all I need to do is be present and keep trusting my heart. Thank you all for being here with me in this first year. Your presence from near and far, old friends and new, strangers and family, has meant so much. I am so grateful for each of you. Thank you.

Leaving Her Body

September 23, 2012

Dear Ones,

Elizabeth left her body this morning around 4:30 am.  She was peaceful, she knew I was right with her, holding her hand, talking to her and loving her. Something woke me at 4am, and I went to check on her. As I heard her breathing, I knew she was very close, and sat down to be with her.  I was thinking it could be a few hours still, so was about to lay down on the couch, when I heard her take one breath, and then realized it was her last one.  Her heart continued for a while…

Since yesterday morning her breathing had changed, and Greg (her dad) and I had spent the whole day sitting close, talking to her, telling her how much we love her, and how many people love her and have been affected by her.  She was mostly in another world, but every few hours would open her eyes, and was still so clear, with the same love and grace in her gaze.

I am so grateful for the gentle waves of these passages, that each new wave has washed over, giving me time to adjust, to accept, to move into the next stage gracefully, diving in deep and emerging with an ever more cracked open heart, and knowing there’s still more and still more….

As usual, we are doing something a bit unusual – we are keeping Elizabeth’s body at home for a few days, having cleaned, anointed and prepared her body ourselves.  We will have a visiting time here, for anyone who is in Tucson, if you want to say goodbye to her body, and connect with me and family.  She will be cremated in a couple of days.

We are also planning a large, public memorial service in 2-3 weeks.  We will honor and celebrate her life, with music, stories, photos and her poetry.  Do not feel you need to come and see her body,  it is simply a possibility if you want to say goodbye in this way.

More to come…

love and blessings,
Lucia

This photo is of her last night, still beautiful and at peace.

Elizabeth Blue, Elizabeth Meagher, hospice

Elizabeth Blue her last night, 9/22/12

Elizabeth Blue,  Jade Beall, Elizabeth Meagher

Elizabeth Blue, April, 2012 by Jade Beall

49 thoughts on “Leaving Her Body…

  1. Thank you for sharing your intimate and beautiful moments with her. Your description of your “cracked open heart” ring true with me. The gift of time and acceptance was not granted to me, so it is a lovely picture you have painted for me, to see what that might have looked like. Either way is hard. I would never have chosen either. Somehow though, the beauty of it chosing us shines through, as crazy as that may sound. To me, it seems, that you see that too, even though you are so early in your grief journey. It is amazing to me. Love and Hugs! Today as you spread her ashes I pray that you will feel her with you, and that God will give you a clear and undeniable message of love and comfort.

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    • Audra, yes the cracked open heart, I’m grateful for that! I agree, “the beauty of it choosing us shines through” – I see the gifts, I see the ways I’ve already grown and transformed, and I hope that continues, as her life and death are given greater meaning to me in this way. I did feel her with me yesterday, and so much love! blessings, Lucia

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      • aloha Lucia,

        I just want to say that not having met either you or Eliizabeth, I am deeply touched by your exquisite description of her leave-taking process. The spirit of your amazing daughter shines through the stories and photos, as does the infinite love between you two, The power and beauty of your words bespeak the poignant, transformational and inspirational possibilities of the dying process. I carry these images with me and feel Graced by them. Thank you Lucia.

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        • Aloha, thank you so much for your lovely words and presence. I can feel that you really have taken in this experience, and this love, and I am grateful that it has moved you. The grace continues to carry me and all of us… I am looking forward to meeting you soon! blessings, Lucia

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  2. Your process breaks and remakes my heart.Thank you so much for sharing this journey.It is some of the most beautiful writing I have read.You move me on so many levels and I am in full gratitude to you for your courageous and generous heart Lucia.Your daughter Blue must have been “a chip offa the ole block.” I can feel your love and I don’t easily say things like that.You have touched me in a very deep way.Thank you.
    I have been dealing with death and dying since childhood since my mother died when I was 10 years old and that was 55 years ago.At that time, we were dissuaded from talking about death and dying and things were covered up to leave us all in isolation and pain, alone.
    I volunteered at a children’s grief center and learned so much from the children of today. You need to carry your tale to these centers, to all centers that deal with grief and loss. It is so very important not to be left alone.I am humbled by your love and honesty. Blessings on your head, teacher.

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    • Lena, thank you so much for your kind and generous words! I am grateful you’ve been touched and can feel this love – it is not just for/from Elizabeth, it is for everyone. I do want to share our story and this incredible grace and reach more people, through my writing and my work (teaching and healing work) as well – thank you for your support and encouragement. blessings, Lucia

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  3. Thinking of you today, Lucia; I feel like I walked these last weeks along with you. I feel the peace and the heartache; so hard to hold them both, so weird and odd to have such opposite feelings simultaneously. But they are two sides of the same coin, no?

    I’m lighting a candle for you and Elizabeth tonight. To honor her, to honor you both. You are so in my heart, as is Elizabeth. What grace it is to have met you.

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  4. As I read this very heartbreaking and beautiful story, I can’t help but see the similarities in birth and death. You spoke of the waves that were washing over you and her and it immediately made me think of labor. It is quite poignant really. We come into this world on our own time and we hopefully are given the chance to leave it that way, although not always and clearly some of us leave too early. I can’t imagine the journey you are on but by sharing your story and your wisdom it has touched me and left me feeling hopeful and grateful. Thank you. I only hope I could do the same for my son and that someone will do the same for me. Namaste.

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    • Yes, the similarities between birth and death are remarkable! In fact, I have another piece I’ll share here soon about the process of waiting for death as feeling so much like being in labor…I am glad you have been touched and feeling more hopeful from our story. Namaste and blessings, Lucia

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  5. two time bc survivor here
    you’re daughter has touched me, because we all imagine the end, those of us touched by the pestilence.
    i would like to think that I’ve made my peace, as you’re daughter so obviously has.
    A million blessings, good good mother

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    • Thank you so much for reading and for your comment. I am glad you are a survivor, and also glad you’ve made peace – with whatever is to come…the more we can love and accept what is, the more we can enjoy each day that we have. blessings, Lucia

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      • Mind yourself. I personally never found anniversaries too sad or difficult. There was plenty of support around. It was the ordinary days I found where grief hijacked me. Hugs for now and then.

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        • That can be true – when we’re prepared and surrounded by support, like this first anniversary, it wasn’t so emotional, though birthdays this year have been more difficult. But some days I just wake up sad, and that is unpredictable – no story, no memory, maybe a dream I don’t even remember… who knows! Thank you for your heartfelt support.

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  6. Beautiful daughter, mother. Lovely heart, mother. I grieve with you, but may I also relive the grandeur of a loss soul of my own, here-only through your expression, as a writer, I have not been able to express? Thank you. So very sorry for this great loss for your family. For years ahead your daughters contributions anon.

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  7. Thinking of you and Zelie today. I am glad you are bing so gentle with yourself. I did not realize the tatto on Elizabeth Blues leg was a heart…pretty amazing! My niece calls her 4yo son Blue. I am not sure why.
    Just wanted to let you know how much I have learned reading this blog. Blessings and love, L~

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  8. Love is all there is and you have shown it each and every day through this journey. Thank you for sharing. This has been a beautiful and bittersweet journey. Namaste.

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  9. Dearest Lucia ~ on Sept 23rd and days following I will always remember Elizabeth and the pure, beaming, radiant and gracious love you and your circle of beloveds showered upon her physical form . . . makes my heart feel like bursting with light. Thank you.

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  10. My dear Lucia,
    These messages have been so special to me. It has meant so much to me that you have been willing to be transparent with us as you recount your journey during the last days of your precious Elizabeth Blues life. I have been so touched by your photos and stories of your love and tender moments during this the last days you had with Elizabeth. It is a beautiful love story… of a mothers love. Bringing a beautiful baby into this world, loving and nurturing her into an amazing young woman and somehow finding the strength to let her go long before it is time to say goodbye.
    You brought a beautiful radiant soul into this world, nurtured and loved her and you cradled her and held her hand as she returned home.
    You have brought so much healing to the world as you have had the courage to invite us to journey with you. You have shown us what love really is.

    The world is a better place because of Elizabeth and the light she shined. She will live on in the lives of those who knew her and those of us who have been privileged to know her through your writing.

    Lucia, I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing these beautiful messages.. I want you to know that i have been sending love and light to surround you and your beautiful family today as you remembered Elizabeth. I know she is with you today as she is always. She lived a life of passion and joy and I thank you for sharing her with us. Her light will shine on and the world is brighter because of Elizabeth Blue…and you!

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  11. My daughter died 4/10/2001. She was 38 years old and left her two sons to me to raise. Such a double blessing. One looks just like her, and the other has exactly her same personality and emotions . She was my only child so asking me to raise her two boys
    helped get me through all of the days since her death. I will think of you and pray for you
    everyday.

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  12. Thank you for sharing this story. You, Elizabeth blue, as well as Greg, have been and still are courageous and gentle the same time. To feel the heart amidst the pain, to see, or rather feel, the beauty of the togetherness in a period like this, takes mindful, deep, warm hearts. I took care of my granddad, together with my mom and grandma. From the moment he got diagnosed with ALS up to the holding him when he took his last breath and left his body. Indeed, the only word that would in any way suit that period is LOVE. The ever lasting impact of a shattered, heavy and at the same time glowing heart that just pounds in your chest throughout the real, tangible, harsh yet beautiful cycle of adjusting, accepting, moving into next stages, gracefully and at its own pace, has ever since benchmarked my directions in life. Thank you so much for sharing your astonishing story and showing me there are more people that somehow let love and real-ness complement the bitterness of loosing your very closest. I absolutely love you for taking a period like Elizabeth and you’ve been through like this and for wording it in this profound way. Thank you!

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    • Thank you so much for taking the time to share your beautiful words and the story of your time with your grandfather. It is truly an experience of love and grace, and when we can be authentic, honoring whatever emerges and taking time to be present with it, it can be a profound and life changing experience, filled with gifts beyond our imagination…”The ever lasting impact of a shattered, and at the same time glowing heart” – yes that is exactly it. blessings, Lucia

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  13. Your spirituality and support system are amazing. I feel so at peace here. When Vic died I became hysterical. Maybe it was because I let go of all the years of pent-up grief. I envy you your tranquillity. I lit candles for our girls last night. Hugs and much love.

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    • Thank you for lighting a candle for Elizabeth too! I do have amazing family and friends, plus many strangers who have supported us throughout this process with love, prayers, Reiki, and other forms of support – it is a miracle to feel this kind of love and presence in my life. I certainly still feel sadness and grief, but always knowing that it is not the totality… Sending you love and blessings, Lucia

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  14. I’m thinking of you ALOT in these last few days, and hoping our are coping well. I’ve shared your story with others, and thank you so much for sharing it. When I started reading this blog, I never knew at that time how much it would guide my own self, in a similar issue. I appreciate the way you were able to take the positive things away from this experience, and have tried o follow suite. Sending you another big hug:)

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    • Tia, thank you for writing and yes, I’m coping well these days. I hope you are doing well and feeling as peaceful as you can. I believe that when we can find the gifts in any situation, we are able to live from a place of gratitude and peace, and not always easy, but worth trying! blessings and love to you and your family, Lucia

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    • Thank you for reading and writing Dotti. I am grateful you can feel the love, and know the sacredness of both life and death. It is so easy to hold one up and forget the necessity and beauty of the other… blessings, Lucia

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