On February 18, 2012, my mom’s kind and generous spirit left her human shell and headed home — to the place where all things are one. Today, two years later, I can say in truth that I no longer consider this event a “loss”. How could I, when I have gained so much? From now on, I will simply call her passing what it is: change.
Don’t get me wrong, I had my struggles with this change. For a long time, this change felt like a deep loss in my heart, that I didn’t quite know what to do with. Change is hard to deal with and accept, especially if we have built elaborate ideas of what a future may look like with someone. We become very attached to those ideas. Change can also be hard when we want to hold on so tightly to moments of the past, longing for them and suffering when we feel we don’t have those moments any more.
But I have persisted and worked very hard at overcoming my struggles with this change. Now, when I allow myself to deeply access each moment without her physically here, I understand that I can actually strengthen and deepen my relationship with her – beyond what I ever thought was possible. Over the past two years, I began to see how truly interconnected and intertwined we are. I am because she was/is, and she was/is because I am. I am 1/2 her and 1/2 my dad. Everything they have taught me and exposed me to is a part of my existence. There is no way to separate them from me.*
This is the beauty in looking deeply at the true connection when we lose someone. This true connection will never cease to exist.
So, I can choose, today, to get lost in the concept of “loss” – Or I can choose to continue to live my life, embodying the bright and beautiful qualities in my mom that that the world adored in her — and I can choose to do the same for my dad. I can choose, today, to understand my mom’s struggles and unskillfulness and learn how to overcome them, both for myself and for her, and for all our ancestors past. And I can choose to do the same for my dad who passed in 2002.
The past two years have changed my life so much. My eyes have opened to beauty that perhaps I was only briefly touching before. This change has allowed me to experience life more deeply. I have grown closer to my sister, my family. I watched my niece come into this world. I have felt true love and allowed myself to be vulnerable in ways I never let myself before. I have deepened connections with so many dear friends. I have developed connections with new friends struggling with similar change. I have gained so much. I can never again call it loss.
Thank you to my mom, to my dad, to God, to the universe, and to my spiritual teachers for showing me that there actually is no death or loss, there is only change.
* An note added to this article to honor those who are adopted, consider that you are 1/4 each of your biological parents and 1/4 each of your adoptive parents – or whatever ratios feel good and make sense to you.