spirituality

Loss and Grief

Finally getting around to posting my New Year Post, off to a late start, but the Chinese New Year starts February 1st, so maybe I am just aligning with that energy 😊

Here’s my latest blog post…

Gosh of all the topics to start off with on a new year! Or is it? It is the end of a year after all. It could be worth grieving over – another year gone. It is a usual time of reflection for sure. Another year passing can be a time of remorse on many levels, by time passing us by quicker than we would like. I definitely don’t think I am the only one that feels like this year in particular, has gone by quickly.

Grief is one of those emotions that people would like to avoid at all costs. There are so many instances in life where we can face grief – death of a loved one, or furry friend, a marriage, a friendship, loss of a job or way of life and even our home and our belongings through various tragedies. This 3D life is not an easy one. There are many instances of great change and loss that can impact us on a very deep level.

The first time I experienced true grief was when I lost my dog of 14 years, a Weimaraner named Bailey. He had been my faithful companion of unconditional love that we all are gifted with if we choose to let animals into our lives. When he passed, the emotional pain was unbearable. It is hard to recall just how hard the emotions were, but I do recall waking up in the middle of the night remembering that he had died. I remember these waves of emotion and this sinking feeling set in. But then, oddly, I would feel this wave of what felt like love, rush through my entire body as I lay on my bed. I always thought that was Bailey sending me love. Later, I heard when we experience grief, our spirit guides send us a wave of energy to help raise our energetic vibration. Even if it wasn’t Bailey sending me this love, I knew he was still around – he would show up in my dreams. It was so comforting. He was younger in the dreams, and I would throw a ball and he would go catch it. (And yes, I am getting emotional as I write this remembering my sweet dog even though it has been 6 years since he passed.) When he died, it was right before Christmas time. I was supposed to travel for the holidays but could not bring myself to go and pretend like I was okay when I was not. I remember sitting on the couch, feeling unable to do anything. It was such an odd feeling; I literally couldn’t make myself get up. Normal things would take me twice as long to do. The feeling of being so unmotivated and so unenergetic was foreign to me.

I remember complaining at that time, to my mom that I just couldn’t make myself do anything and she told me that I just needed to ‘force myself to get up.’ I know she meant well, but when you are experiencing something like that – it just doesn’t work that way. I found out that grief mimics depression. I had seen commercials about depression where these people were just sitting on the couch and their dog was like ‘take me for a walk’ and the owner wouldn’t get up and it was just sad. Well, I finally understood that feeling now and could totally relate!

Through life, we experience various instances where we have a loss in life. But what I have become acutely aware of lately, is that life keeps on going. Our lifestyles don’t really allow us to properly grieve. We have to get up, make that bed, dinner, go to work, attend to all of our responsibilities. Is that okay? What should we do? What can we do?

We all have our own issues, our childhood traumas and relationship traumas that we all carry around. But what about grief? Just pile that on to the rest of it?

My ex told me later that it took me a year to heal from losing my dog. I wish he had told me that sooner. Was I depressed for a year?? I do remember it was a difficult time – was it a year??

Recently, I had a loss of a different kind, which is the driver for this post and honestly one that I am shocked at myself for even having, but it is showing me the extent of loss that we may encounter in life. And I’m still processing it – to be totally honest.

Back in February of last year, we had a long cold snap of below freezing “Snowpocalypse” as many called it. I don’t recall how cold it was exactly, but as a Southerner, not really having to deal with this situation too often, I didn’t realize a lot of things I should have.

One of my passions is plants, especially tropical plants. Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies. When I moved into my current house in 2011, it was the first time I had a yard, and I was beyond excited to finally plant stuff in the ground! In fact, I couldn’t sleep at night because I had this huge yard, and I couldn’t decide on the layout for the gardens. I finally developed a plan and immediately began developing the flower beds in the spring of 2012. From then until 2021, I had planted many, many plants. Some I lost and replanted and as I later realized a gardener is much like an artist and is never satisfied with their work. I had a lot of learnings through that time period. But I eventually got into fruit trees, and I got a bit obsessed and planted things too closely because I wanted so many trees! Over the years, as the trees matured, I finally got fruits!! I had planted a few varieties that produced tons of fruit. One very small fruit tree would produce at least one hundred oranges.

I had created my own Tropical Retreat! I had two decks surrounded by greenery, palm trees, fruit trees – it was heaven to me. What was even more interesting was that I had originally been interested in the plants and flowers but was shocked to find just how exciting it was to have created a habitat! I had tons of little critters – like lizards, dragonflies, butterflies, moths, and birds! I loved to just sit outside with my morning cup of coffee or in the evening sit with a glass of wine. I had NO IDEA just how much the plants were giving to ME – just through their beauty.

So, you know where this story is going…

So, in February of 2021, I lost all of it. Granted, I had a few plants – my Ligustrum, my hibiscus, even my white birds of paradise eventually came back. But my palms and all of my fruit trees – probably around 20 – all gone.

It was truly devastating. I had a tree trimmer come out to take a look and he cut down the palm tree, my huge clumping bamboo (Bambusa gracilis), the other trees. I told him to hold off on the fruit trees – maybe they would come back? But no, they did not, so he had to come out a second time and take those down as well.

10 years of love and labor – all gone.

I sat outside and just cried, several times. It made me realize a few things. One is that I form unhealthy attachments, I think. I knew that I was too attached to those trees. They were my babies. I knew that if I were to move from this house, it would be too difficult for me to leave them there.

One day in April, during Spring migration – when the neo-tropical migrants come back from Central and South America and make their way back, I was standing in my living room looking out at the backyard, crying.

This is what I find so great about life – as I stood there crying, feeling horrible about my yard, FOUR birds came right to the window where I was. Two painted buntings (very colorful birds – but these were young and not yet in their full plumage) and two wrens. It was almost as if they were giving me a message of hope. That even though my yard was destroyed, it was almost as if they were letting me know, that they knew that I had tried to create a habitat and they still showed up to it. Although this wasn’t an energetic wave like I had experienced before, it was truly an uplifting experience that was not lost on me. It was not a coincidence! The Universe gives us signs and synchronicities when we need it.

I have yet to figure out what to do with my yard. I haven’t been motivated to plant anything or deal with the dead roots from the fruit trees. And I’m okay with that. I did plant a bunch of annual rye grass this winter, so my yard looks like the Scottish Highlands with super tall, super green grass. At least it’s green!

I don’t know the answer to dealing with these curve balls that life gives us. All I know is that it is a process, and each experience teaches me more about myself. The one thing I do want is for people to accept grief and to feel free to share, which is what I am doing. We are all dealing with various losses in life, and it isn’t always the death of a loved one that causes us to mourn. As we navigate these highs and lows in life just remember that we came to experience this earthly life and all of its challenges. It isn’t always an easy ride, and it helps us to grow in ways that we will eventually understand. Until then be patient with yourself if you are experiencing a rough time. It will get better!

In love, light, and gratitude,

Heather

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