Accepting Loss

The first phase of grief is done alone. The initial shock of the experience takes a bit to sink in. It almost came in waves for me. As I grocery shopped one day, I had a break-down. It hit me all at once that I was shopping for one. My little basket looked so empty.

I lost all desire to eat. Hunger physically hurts but not when you feel like the emotional foundation has dissolved beneath you. It numbs and awakens at the same time. I've never felt so connected to Our Creator. The energy of Christ filled me and made all extremities tingle at the moment Mom's spirit crossed through the veil. It opened just as it does when a baby is born and covers the room with a peaceful aura.

I also felt a kind of rush through my entire body that eventually exploded out of the crown of my head. I leaned back and soon became aware of the brilliant energy so I quickly climbed out of bed. On my knees, I raised the palms of my hands up and absorbed all that I could.

Slowly, and out loud, I recited the Lord's Prayer as if my ears had never heard it. Each word resonated intensely with new meaning. I said, "Our," and understood that it was so important to understand that we are a pre-destined family. At 7 billion, we light the world with our combined spiritual energy.

No one chooses to be in grief. Sometimes events happen back to back. I lost my house to a fire and then faced the soul-bending losses of 4 family members back-to-back. My younger sister dying at 44 was a shock; her husband dying a year later at 44 also was an even bigger shock. A routine heart procedure led to his unexpected death.

My grandmother Rose's passing was not a shock at 95 but the timing was ridiculous. I didn't even travel to Medina, Ohio, for her service as I was homeless from a fire and just opening fully the Pandora's Box called alcoholism.

Before Mom died, she said, "You grieved Susan too long. Skip me." (As if I had a choice.) Today it is just past 90 days that she died in my arms and I can recall every moment as if it just happened.

Some of the more abrasive visuals have faded. I don't need to see another coroner retrieve another body in my life. It's business as usual for them but when it's your mother, it's ice water in the face.

A policewoman stood to my right and when I saw Mom's corpse being carried over the coroner's head to a stretcher waiting in the kitchen, my knees buckled. I leaned back against the wall but was too far away from it. The young, blonde officer that showed up after the hospice staff appeared caught my fall. I would have hit the ground as I was about two feet from the wall.

A few days after Mom's Air Force memorial service, that same officer felt bad to be presenting me with a notice of eviction. Two family members cancelled all that Mom built over the years in a few short weeks. Her animals were separated and scattered. I was so glad Mom didn't have to see some of her beloved rescue dogs caged at the kennels. They came from there.

The wisest thing I did to deal with intense, life-stopping grief was to reach out. I went to Mom's former nursing home every day for almost 6 weeks. Sometimes, twice a day. As my spirited partner Willie charmed nurses and residents to no end, I listened to advice by people who'd lived close to a century.

One lady shared, 'It's not what you had; it's what you have left. ' And I have 55 years of memories to reflect on and an incredible spiritual experience just for showing up. I was blessed beyond years, behind time; I was blessed with an increased faith direct from OUR Father.