Though it has been almost five years, I remember clearly the moment my father’s spirit slipped from this physical plane into the great unknown. Even though he had been ill for some time, until that moment I had denied the fact that his death was on the horizon because I knew—in the darkest places of my soul—that with his passing many layers of grief and other unsettling emotions would be uncovered.
Beginning at a young age, grief has been a constant companion. I have experienced grief in many ways: I grieved the loss of family pets as a kid. I grieved my childhood through my teenage years due to different traumas I experienced. I grieved friendships that were in my life for only a season. I grieved the loss of family relationships because our journeys are not meant to be traveled together in this lifetime due to differences in perception of certain circumstances. I have grieved the spiritual connection with people I love who are still here but are lost due to mental illness and addiction. I have grieved the passing of grandparents and other family members.
I know that grief will meet me again.
I also know that I am constantly growing, and I am here to learn from and educate myself on the human experience. Grief is a constant lesson, and I would like to think that I have grown in the way I experience it.
I was eight months pregnant with my fourth child when my father passed on November 7th, 2013. On December 18th, I gave birth to my sweet baby girl. She spent two weeks in the NICU. Two weeks with me sitting, holding, and nursing this baby I loved so much, who I desperately wanted to be cuddling at home so I could be with my other children during the holidays.
For two weeks, I sat there—with grief. With anger. With resentment and regret. I sat there with guilt, confusion and disappointment, a complete hormonal mess.
During this time my best friend and my husband offered me their unwavering support and presence, and I’ll forever be grateful for the space they held for me. Though the lesson became clear. I had control of nothing and the only person who could begin the journey of healing was me.
Finding My Breath
So I found my breath. I would empty my mind for a minute or two and inhale slowly through my nose and exhale slowly through my mouth. Over time, the minutes became longer and a quiet voice would whisper in my ear, “You’ve got this.” In through my nose, out through my mouth, repeating this affirmation: “You’ve got this.”
I sat in the stillness of the NICU. I sat waiting patiently for my father’s quiet whispers.
“Just breathe.” “Be still.” “You’ve got this.” “Be grateful.” I carry those whispers with me and they are my mantra. They are my meditation.
When the waves of grief pass over me, I now greet them with stillness, breath, affirmation, and meditation. Meditation holds space for, comforts and helps heal the grieving soul, and for that I am grateful.