It is What It Is. And yet it has taken me some time to be able to chat with you about it.
I have chatted with many and received much love. But there has been something about talking to you all that has had me choked up. I have had many thoughts of how I would honor what it is, but haven’t committed yet to any of them.
Except this. So here it is…..
Not well thought out but matters of the heart never are.
My grandmother passed away two weeks ago today.
She was 96 and the love of my life.
The fact that she had such a long and wonderful life definitely has helped but still….people say “Wow 96 that’s a long life” and in your little girl heart you say…
Yeah but I loved her. But she’s my Grammie and she’s not here.
I want my Grammie back.
The day of wake I went to see my acupuncturist because I needed some lovin for a cold I had. As we talked about my loss, she reminded me that grief is a practice of letting go, acceptance and working through the yearning to cling to the physical world and have it stay the same.
In the days to come and even still now as we chat, I can feel my heart reaching out of my chest and my arms wanting to grab onto something that is no longer there. It is visceral and real.
The words of Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist teacher, come to mind. In her book The Places that Scare you she writes…
“That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent is the first mark of existence. It is no ordinary state of affairs. Everything is in process. Everything – every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate – is always changing, moment to moment. We don’t have to be mystics or physicists to know this. Yet at the level of personal experience, we resist this basic fact. It means life isn’t always going to go our way. It means there’s loss as well as gain. And we don’t like that.”
No I don’t.
I don’t like that life had to change.
I get it. The adult part of me gets it.
It is What It Is.
I didn’t like seeing her suffer at the end. I would never want that for her.
My grandmother was proud and strong. She lived in her own house by herself until age 95.
Strong yes…some would say stubborn as all Hell but still…strong and proud.
I would never have wanted her life to be prolonged so that the little girl in me could have my Grammie physically with me.
It’s just tough…you know. Life is not easy.
And that letting go part….that’s for the fecking birds.
I know. I’ve had to let go and accept A LOT and I know it leads to freedom. I freaking talk about it all the time with my clients. But still…fecking birds.
Last August was when things took a downward shift. She became ill to the point that living in her home was not an option. We all knew this was the beginning of the end.
In fact in August and many times afterwards, it appeared yes this is the end. And yet it wasn’t. She wasn’t ready. She struggled as much as we did.
Italian Americans value family like no one else except maybe the Greeks. LOL
5 children, 13 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren. She was not letting go.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist teacher, writes in his book No Death, No fear
“…This is what the Buddha taught. When conditions are sufficient things manifest. When conditions are no longer sufficient they withdraw. They wait until the moment is right for them to manifest again.”
This book is beautiful.
Han writes moving through the loss of his mother when he was very young. He felt the grief intensely until he realized that she was energy, as nature is energy and that she had returned to the earth. So in fact his mother was the earth beneath his feet in the field he walked. She was the wind that blew the trees.
I believe this to be true. While the child in me feels like my Grammie feels like she was taken from em, a another wiser part of me knows she is right here. She is with us as we speak. Oh look she’s offering you something to eat right now. Don’t say no. It won’t work. She will put a plate of cheese and crackers down anyway.
My mind and heart are full of memories. To explain what she meant to me is not easy. It never is when you lose someone who you feel like is so intertwined with the beating of your heart. How do I explain what it means to know that new people who enter my life will only see pictures and hear stories? That they will never be able to feel the warmth of sitting at the kitchen table over a cup of tea or glass of wine and chatting about life?
My grandmother loved the saying “It is What it is.” I have no idea how she picked it up or exactly when it happened. But as she continued to age, it definitely was on rotation about every five to ten minutes or so. I used to joke that my grandmother became Buddhist in her older age. She probably would not appreciate that one….given being Italian and Catholic and all but I found humor in it:)
Letting go is for the fecking birds. But it also is a part of the healing process.
When conditions are sufficient things manifest, when they are not sufficient they withdraw.
Despite moving through grief, I have taken steps in leaps and bounds over the past week. Lots to come soon on that front. Loss can have a way of propelling you forward and helping you take the steps you have been afraid of taking.
Life is short. Be a fecking bird and let go. Let the tears come down like the rain and wash it all away; setting the soil up for some good growth in the spring.
Life is a journey and it’s meant to be lived. Gram had to move on and so don’t we all. But as we move we never forget the teachings that life has to offer….
So enjoy the ride!
Cheers! Love you lots.
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