The Enormity of it All

The Enormity of it All

Lucia Maya, Elizabeth Blue, Jade Beall, Elizabeth Meagher

Lucia Maya and Elizabeth Blue, April, 2012.  photo by Jade Beall

Yesterday I was having lunch with a dear friend, who is very insightful and intuitive, and has two sons the same ages as my two daughters.  She asked me, with concern, for the second time in two weeks, if I was really taking the time and space to allow for the enormity of what has happened.  It felt like she was asking if I truly grasped the magnitude of what has happened to me, my daughter’s death a year ago.  I didn’t really know how to answer her and I still don’t.

On the one hand, I started to feel like maybe I wasn’t doing this grieving “right”, which I’m sure was far from what she intended.  As a mother, it’s such a familiar place to go: if this looks different, or is not what is expected by others, maybe I’m not doing it right.  Though much of my mothering has looked “different” (as is how I live my life), and I can see things I could have done better, overall I’ve mothered the best way I know how, following my heart and modeling that for my daughters.  Still, it’s easy to be vulnerable as a parent, to question if we’re doing the right thing. Guilt seems to come along with parenthood and the enormous responsibilities we’re honored with in bringing someone into the world.

What I said to my friend is that I feel like my main work now is healing through grieving, and taking the time to heal in whatever ways I can.  For me, this means a lot of time alone, listening to music where I often receive messages from Elizabeth, meditating, reading, watching tv on netflix for hours when I need to (all of “Orange is the New Black” during 2 really hard days). It means getting acupuncture and bodywork, talking to good friends, asking family to be around for difficult times, like birthdays and anniversaries, asking for support…It means saying no to many invitations and events, listening deeply to what I really want to do, and leaving when I’m tired and feeling full. It means spending time with my younger daughter, visiting her more often, connecting with her and wanting to be closer with her.

It also means seeing clients, offering the healing work I do, which I love – it helps me to focus on someone else, listening with my full presence, feeling like I’m in service and contributing, and it makes me feel better as I receive the Reiki as it flows through me to my client.  Teaching Reiki and facilitating healing circles and retreats also brings me joy, and is another way that I feel Elizabeth’s presence, sitting with me and supporting me, as I ask to be the clearest channel for the teachings to flow through. It also allows me the opportunity to share some of what I learned from Elizabeth about living and dying with grace, which helps bring some greater meaning to this intense journey of transformation.

It means writing, combing through my emails and journals, Elizabeth’s writing and photographs, and sharing these with all of you, listening for the guidance about the timing. Receiving feedback about how this affects you has been an amazing balm for my heart.

But, am I able to absorb the enormity of what has happened, that my adored and beloved and challenging and worrisome and beautiful and smart and difficult and adoring and creative and wise 22 year old first-born daughter has died? No, absolutely not.  Do I cry as I write these words? yes. There is no way I could absorb or take in all of this, even one year later it continues to seep in, little by little, day by day, and I do my best to stay present to it, to grief, stay present to Elizabeth’s spirit, stay present to my living daughter, Julianna, stay present to my partner, and mostly, stay present to my heart.

32 thoughts on “The Enormity of it All

  1. We all grieve so differently. It does my head in when people think you are not coping or grieving because they cannot identify with what you are doing.
    To me an outsider I think you are doing so well. Packaging up your grief some days and dealing with it others. Your blog for me is a wonderful way to both grieve and celebrate Elizabeth’s life.
    Sadly today we heard all results are worse than anything we could have thought of for my little warrior, it looks like we too will be grieving shortly. And there will be no pleasant pre death bonding. He will die in ICU, lacking privacy, 200km from the home he will never again see. Family will have access but even now that is very limited, with no one allowed to stay with him at night.Friends will never see him again. Heartbreaking.

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    • Dear Tric,
      I am so, so sorry to hear the sad news of your young warrior. I don’t know what rights the parents have in Ireland, but if they want to be with him at night, this seems essential! No matter his level of consciousness, he is aware, and all would benefit from having this time with him, however brief it may be. I’ll make phone calls to the hospital if they want!! I feel so strongly about this. I’ll continue my prayers for his family, and for his transition to be peaceful, with much grace. You are all in my heart.

      About my post, you said this so well: “Packaging up your grief some days and dealing with it others.” There are times when I have a client or a class and I am (mostly) able to put my own thoughts aside and focus on what is at hand, and then when I have the spaciousness to simply BE, I can feel, hear and express what I need in that moment. The trick is creating those times of spaciousness, which I’m very fortunate to have.

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      • We reached rock bottom yesterday…… and then he sat up and talked! Everyone is in shock, but we are taking it one moment at a time and really enjoying seeing his mum smile after a harrowing few days. Whatever will be will be but at this moment things could be a lot worse.
        Thanks so much, I really feel your support.

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  2. I think you are doing exactly what you need to do. It’s not really possible to take it all in. Things unfold in so many different ways. I am learning so much from you about mothering, life, letting go, acceptance, love, and quiet. Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us. I hope we can all apply these important lessons now, today. Love and kindness are balms. I hope you feel that through these virtual hugs.

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    • Deborah, thank you for your support – the love and kindness definitely reaches me through the ethers and I feel it!
      I agree that it unfolds so differently for each of us, with no predictable pattern or plan, and grief has a life of its own, that I do my best to surrender to, and do what I can to take care of myself (which includes letting others take care of me – a challenging concept!) while being in the flow…
      blessings and love, Lucia

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  3. My father passed away 6 years ago after an extremely painful illness. I miss him so. Still. But, like you and your beloved we talk. Through dreams he and I share.
    Grief is a puzzle. Some days it just sneaks in and bites you on the ass. Other times it’s roaring in and taking no prisoners. What I have learned is that it doesn’t leave necessarily. Just takes you to another place of understanding.

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    • Yes, exactly. Similar to what I wrote below about the waves, and I love your metaphor! It does continue to teach and bring healing in its own way. I am grateful you are here on this journey with me. blessings, Lucia

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  4. Lucia I so appreciate you sharing your process.
    My experience is that grieving comes in waves, some lapping at the shore and some tidal.
    I am doing taxes right now from 2012 when my brother died — what a mess — everything thrown in a box willy-nilly. I had a tidal wave today of tears when i was figuring the milage to the home, reducing my almost daily trek (his daughter did 1-2 days a week) to make sure he as card for, and the many middle of the night hospital visits. I saw clearly the path to Avamere, heard the music I would normally play on the way over: “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison, over and over, a mantra to get me through the hardest parts. I saw in my mind’s eye the number of times I have reached to write or call him at his home, feeling stupid for forgetting he is gone. Sixteen months and I can still get hit by a tidal wave.
    And I cannot imagine what it is to lose your child. Cannot imagine. Huggs.

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    • Thank you. Yes, it certainly comes in waves, some small, just lapping at the shore of my heart, and some like the big ones that grab you unexpectedly, pulling you under and holding you down until you are gasping for breath when tossed into the shallows again, never knowing quite when, or IF, that moment will come…

      It is interesting how the “things” can trigger the memories and then the emotion that comes with it… sending blessings and love, Lucia

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  5. Dear Lucia,
    May these words find you present in each breath.

    Thank you for being and sharing the vast realm of human experience you offer in this blog. I feel there is a profound teaching and learning about life, love and death being channeled through you and Elizabeth. I feel too that many wise ones chose to cross over to guide the current necessary rapid evolution of the collective human consciousness. I give thanks for your life, love and practice here.
    Aché

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    • Dear Regina,
      thank you for your gorgeous words, it makes such a difference to hear, and I am so grateful. You say this so well: ” I feel too that many wise ones chose to cross over to guide the current necessary rapid evolution of the collective human consciousness.” It is part of what makes this whole process bearable, to know that Elizabeth is doing work in a much more profound and wider-reaching way than she could while in body!
      much love and blessings,
      Lucia

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  6. We’re at 16 months now and the shock of my son’s absence sometimes crushes me under waves of panic and desperation… I can’t imagine that it’s ever possible to completely absorb and accept the new reality. It just doesn’t seem real. I keep wondering where he is and if there’s some as yet undiscovered way for me to get him back.

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    • I think we never can completely absorb it, it’s simply a matter of accepting and moving slowly into this new reality… Do you find it possible to communicate with your son? I ask Elizabeth questions and I hear her answer – it sometimes sounds like my own voice/thoughts, but mostly I know it is her. I can’t say how, I just do. Thank you for reading. Take care and blessings, Lucia

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      • I talk to my son, but I’ve never received any sort of communication or sign that I believe truly came from him. I wish I would, it would help so much. But I am glad to read about other parents’ experiences with signs, it gives me hope.

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      • I think part of it has to do with opening our minds to the possibilities… I’ve had a couple of readings with mediums (recommended by people I trust) who gave such specific and detailed information, that only Elizabeth and I would have known, that I am certain that she was communicating through them. I found that very comforting, along with the messages that she shared, of being happy, and about what she is doing now.

        I also found “Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander, M.D., very reassuring, as it tells of his experience of having zero brain function for a week, and coming back with amazing and beautiful experiences of consciousness while “dead”.
        I hope this helps!

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  7. No one can tell us how to grieve, as I don’t have to tell you. I think that often when people offer advice it’s to avoid their own discomfort. I stayed in for as long as I had to and talked about Philip dying to whoever I came across for months and months and months. The more we can stay awake to our grief, the more we’ll know what to do with it. And by no means does that make it “easy.” It just strips the extra layer of “I’m grieving wrong” from the grief itself. And how could you be in touch with Elizabeth without giving both you and her the quiet time you need to do that? We have changed, Lucia; we will never be the same – no judgment here – and the way we reflect the “outer” world changes right along.

    “The enormity.” I can’t even wrap my mind around that. It’s just as it comes, a moment at a time. And that’s more than enough to deal with.

    Love and blessings, friend.

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    • Yes, “staying awake to our grief”, beautifully put. We have changed, absolutely, and when I am in touch with that, and grateful for the transformation, that eases the feeling of something being “wrong.”
      A moment at a time…
      blessings and love to you, Lucia

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  8. You are so honest with your feelings, Lucia; and to me that is the key. When you feel sad you allow yourself to feel sad. When something is funny you allow yourself to laugh without guilt. The enormity of your loss and what you have been through will always be the enormity. How can it not be? But what I have discovered, in my own experiences with loss, is that with each passing day, with each milestone overcome, I become stronger and braver and more and more willing and able to celebrate the lives of those I’ve lost, with less pain and sorrow. But I do embrace both the sadness and the joy and take from them whatever they offer me. And peace comes.

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    • Yes, embracing the feelings, and for me, even more important, is questioning the stories (via The Work of Byron Katie). When I question the story that is causing me suffering or stress, I always see that I’m arguing with reality, and that can only cause pain, and it’s not necessary! Every time I do the work and ask myself the 4 questions, something unravels and shifts, and I notice I’m at peace…

      Thank you so much for writing and your support! blessings, Lucia

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      • I’ve never heard of The Works or Byron Katie before. I looked it up (because of your reply) and it looks interesting. Have you been using these questions and methods for a long time or have you just started recently? I’d love to hear more about how it helps you.

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      • I love The Work. I’m grateful that I had been using this process for a couple of years before Elizabeth was diagnosed with cancer, as it helped me stay mostly calm and present throughout her whole time with cancer, with treatment, and then into hospice and leaving her body. I highly recommend it and use it with clients in my work as well.

        What I find is that when I’m feeling stressed, or having an emotion like sadness, or fear, or anger that is sustained, I find the belief I have that is underneath the emotion. An example would be “Elizabeth shouldn’t have died so young.” And then I work with the 4 questions and the turnarounds, and when I’m done, I find that even if the belief isn’t totally gone (we can’t make our thoughts go away), I always feel more peaceful. I can always see that there are gifts and benefits to every situation…After a while I notice that I’m not having the same intensity of emotion, and often I can’t even remember what the belief WAS anymore.

        Something begins to unwind, or unravel in the process of doing The Work, that’s beyond the intellectual and emotional aspect – it feels like an energetic healing also happens. I hope this makes some sense… I hope you’ll try it. I’d watch her videos first and get a sense of how Katie works, then print out some of the “Judge Your Neighbor” worksheets from the site and try them. Let me know how it goes!

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