Yesterday, while searching through my email for correspondence with another client, an email from 2013 popped up in front of me. I did a bit of a double-take, because I recognized the name, though it had been five years since our session.
I wouldn’t normally reach out to a past client like this when we haven’t had contact for years, but I kept thinking about reaching out, getting these little nudges – which are usually invitations to experience something neat, on a spiritual level.
So I sent her a quick hello, in as respectful a way as possible, and suggested that perhaps, this was her dog’s way of saying hi after a few years. Sometimes they like to take advantages of little connections like this.
Turns out, the pup’s birthday is next week. While this beautiful dog had left her body, she still wanted to reach out to her human mom, and remind her.
It was very sweet, and pretty cool! One of those tiny little miracles I enjoy so much as a part of this work. You can’t *make* them happen, but sometimes if you listen to the little nudges, and reach out carefully and respectfully, neat things like this can happen.
Today, is also my mother’s birthday! I have a little reminder set up in my calendar, because I don’t want to ever let a December 12th slip by without remembering it’s my mother’s birthday. I like to just say aloud, Happy Birthday, before I do anything else with my day.
I would say my mom is having a good time in spirit. I often feel her around when Sweetie and I are travelling or having a good time – I hear her laugh, layered with the laughing of others. I feel her in the company of my grandmother, her mother, and my great-aunt. I think they like to travel together, or tag along with us and I’m sure the other family members when we’re enjoying ourselves.
It’s neat, how happy I always perceive her to be, and she wants us to know she’s just fine.
It’s so interesting that birthdays seem to be a good time to connect with our loved ones in spirit. I think it’s because we are thinking of them, and often the memories are lighter and happier on birthdays, than on other anniversary dates. A lifetime of celebration creates a lightness around their birthdays – a dynamic energy that’s often full of love and cheerful memories.
I also think it’s easier for *them* to connect with *us*, when we create space for lightness and happy memories. It takes a little discipline sometimes, and I will admit, my friends, I can get into a habit of being a tad morose on grief-related dates. But I have some positive advice:
A friend of mine visits her grandfather’s grave on his birthday and eats a butter tart, which he loved. I thought that was a great idea, so I’ve *also* had butter tarts on the anniversary of my mother’s death, as a way of doing something positive and creating happy habits on these important days.
I also happen to really enjoy butter tarts myself. I spent a winter once, working on a recipe until I perfected it. Perhaps I’ll post that later on!
I found I really needed to *do* something, because it does not do me, nor my mother, any good at all to allow myself to get depressed every year around dates of sad events, or dates which REMIND me of sad events. It’s a lot to carry, and I’ve been working on letting it go.
As I mentioned before, sometimes we *need* to carry our grief with us for a time. We don’t want to let it go too soon, because in a way, the deepness and length of time we grieve is a way of honoring what that person or animal friend truly meant to us.
But grief is also something you develop a relationship with. You don’t have to fight it, or get rid of it, or get over it. I personally welcome grief, especially in the beginning, because I know it’s helping me to get out all the feelings that demand witness. Grief helps with that.
I also know my sneaky little brain can get into habits of thinking about the same things every day, or at certain times of the year, and I have learned that it can be a positive thing to engage these thoughts and negotiate with them, or re-purpose them, so they’re not something that’s simply happening to you, making you helpless and miserable, but instead something you can interact with, and actively engage, even incorporate into your life.
My mother died in April 2015, and today she would have been 67. This morning, that thought made me sad. Relatively speaking, she died young, certainly before anyone expected her to pass. Of course, her birthday made me a bit sad this morning; that’s okay. But do you think my mother, laughing and travelling in spirit, would want me to feel sad *all day* on her *birthday!?* Every year??? OF COURSE NOT.
So for her sake, and my own, I have been incorporating these new little rituals in my life, on these significant dates, so that I can tell my body and my brain that while we can still feel sad, we can also celebrate, connect, and care for ourselves and those we have lost to spirit.
(Whenever I’m talking to myself, I seem to always shift to the plural form, “we”, which usually means my spirit form, my brain consciousness, my body, my dynamic layers of life experience, and all the people I’m connected with – including you, my dear reader, because we are surely as connected to each other through this blog as two trees on opposite edges of a forest, connected through a mass of touching roots.
I just realized that I need a happy ritual for my mother’s birthday. What should it be?
Today, December 12th, and although St. Nicholas Day is December 6th, I have pretty vivid memories of getting little presents in my polished dress shoes on the same day my mother received her birthday presents. There were sometimes red and white carnations, or a poinsettia from my father, and often there would be chocolate chip bundt cake.
Maybe that’s what I’ll do. I’ll make that bundt cake recipe. I need to get a bundt pan.
And I should pick up some stocking stuffers for Sweetie and wrap them!
Tonight is especially lovely, because we have the “Sail Past” in Ucluelet. It’s this charming community tradition where locals decorate their boats in Christmas lights and sail around the harbour, shooting off fireworks! It’s quite delightful and part of the charm of living in this small little town. We have lived here for NINE years now!
Anyway. I guess I’m writing this post to reach out to those of you who may be missing your loved ones in spirit, especially this time of year. I know it’s hard. It’s not easy for me to talk about how tough it has been at times.
I’m so grateful to my friends – so many of whom I made through this blog, who have literally shown me how to have positive, happy feelings on days when I might otherwise be inclined to be sad.
I’m so thankful, and I love you all!
Happy Birthday Mom, and Happy Holidays, my friends!