Are you a parent or do you know a parent that has experienced the death of their child?
Welcome to “Modern Life-Keeping” where we discuss ways to thrive in today’s world. I’m your host, Lori Cristine.
The first episode of the series “Living after the death of a child” is for parents who are searching for answers, inspiration and soul strategies following the death of a child, listen in now to find out how our loved ones are closer than we think.
We are never separated from those we love.
Suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, my daughter’s presence was removed from my life in an experience I couldn’t imagine, but had always feared.
This experience made of parents’ worst nightmares illuminated the power we all have within ourselves to choose the thoughts we think. What follows is a narrative I wrote six weeks following the death of my daughter:
It felt as if my heart had been viciously ripped out of my chest and thrown onto the ground as I stood and watched in horror. There my heart lay, barely beating, vibrating with fear and sadness. Pain from the ensuing hole in my chest radiated out of me, as if trying to reach down and reconnect with my heart. It felt like an out of body experience as I watched my life change right before my eyes.
Shocked and numb, speechless in the magnitude and breathless from the blow, all I could do was stare at the literal and figurative fallout. I was helpless to do anything but go through the motions, whatever they may be. Suddenly and sadly knowing exactly what people mean when they say, “your life can change in an instant.”
The pain I had in my chest was an indicator of what needed my immediate attention: My heart was broken. Standing there, I had a decision to make – and It would be only one of many crossroads I would face, as inevitably my life would continue. I could stand there observing my barely beating heart and wallow in the deep physical pain, agony and fear, perpetuating the role of victim, or I could pick my heart up off the ground, place it back where it was meant to be, and give it as much love as I possibly could.
The outcome of each choice was drastically different from the other. I definitely didn’t want to get into the ambulance and head to the ER with the potential for irreversible heart damage. My heart was broken, but still beating. I was sure that I didn’t want to hurt like this for longer than I needed to. I know all too well that this type of pain is the impetus for a self-centered, self-created, tormented life of pure HELL. Frankly, this self-inflicted hell is the only hell I acknowledge – the one we create within and around ourselves, usually derived from unhealed anger that turns to bitterness and disdain.
I shuddered at the darkness of this alternative, bent down and picked up my heart from off the ground where it lay, barely beating, lifeless and pale. Choosing to pick my heart up from off the ground would be one of my biggest acts of self-love to date, and the best way I had to honor this transformational experience. In that moment I made the choice to see this as happening for me and not to me.
With courage, love and trust, I am able to see the death of my beautiful 19 year old daughter, Keara as one of my biggest gifts from her. My heart being ripped open was the perfect opportunity to heal it. I identified with no other choice but to see what I needed to see, hear what I needed to hear and know what I needed to know. I made a conscious decision not to perpetuate darkness. I have always been afraid of the dark, so, if given the choice, I will walk towards the light.
With the decision to heal my heart, it was time to explore the baggage I had been storing and carrying around with me for decades. Even though I had already been sorting and purging for years, I had still another layer of old dusty, outdated beliefs and patterns to examine. This layer had been hidden in such cloaked darkness that it took this explosion of my heart to see it.
I needed to shine bright light on the patterns of thinking hiding in the underbelly of my mind that no longer served me. You can imagine with my heart wide open and completely vulnerable, focused only on giving constant reminders to itself to breathe, the toxic patterns that showed up in my life. These toxic patterns knocked on the door of my soul as if they were long, lost friends here to mourn with me. This was anything but the truth.
It became imperative for me to sort through the toxic patterns and separate them from the productive and sustainable ones, while blocking access to the door. This was a bumpy and unstable path wrought with deep emotions, pain and insights, as well as a clear knowing that learning to manage grief is one of my life lessons. Clearly, Keara agreed to help me with that.
I knew that if I wanted to stay connected with her more than in my memories and heart, I was going to have to face my fear and denial, and really do the hard work to be an open channel for the essence of her soul to flow. All of the hard work I had done to date was nothing in comparison to the work required to move through this experience.
What many quickly began to label as a “tragedy” was in fact, a gift from Keara. A blessing. It was not a tragedy, it was destiny. It was life. And, choosing not to heal from the grief I felt for Keara, did not feel right. Viewing Keara’s death as the worst thing that could ever happen to me also didn’t resonate with my raw and exposed emotions. The last thing I wanted to do was perpetuate the dark, negative and ugly thoughts and feelings that were emanating from the reaction of my ego to this life changing event. Afterall, this was the biggest opportunity of my life to change my thinking. Why if everything else was changing, shouldn’t my thinking change too?
It felt right to honor the death of the physical presence in our life of beautiful Keara by facing reality, putting my heart back together with the love and gratitude that I feel for Keara, and moving forward on my journey, which included a son. Afterall, I had the gift of Keara’s physical body that carried her angelic soul for 19 years. I am grateful for that gift! Her essence will always live on in me and through me, as well as through her brother, cousins and others she left here on earth.
As a result, the last six weeks have literally been the longest six weeks of my life, and I do not say that lightly. In 51 years of life I have had a wide range of experiences. Notably, Keara was born with a life threatening cancer, for which she battled a long, hard 8 weeks before turning down a road of recovery. But, it was never truly a full recovery because something like that follows you around, writing all over your soul in various but penetrable ways, not to mention the possible implications it may have had in her sudden and unexpected death.
I experienced the illness and death of both parents, one with substance abuse disorder and the other with serious mental health disease, as well as a 30 year unhealthy relationship, ensuing divorce and house move. By far, these past six weeks have been the most profoundly mind altering and heartbreaking of them all. There is something so final in death. Something so utterly sad about it being your child.
I will continue to work through this, being open to opportunities and moving forward, healing my thinking, my beliefs, my patterns. I am using the love, memories and essence of Keara as inspiration to continue on my journey. I am thankful for this major power boost – a byproduct of this profound life changing experience. An act of love from Keara, and from the universe. A door opening for an opportunity to do the deep shadow work needed to improve my life. And, if going through this door means sustaining a connection with Keara, then I have knocked that door down and I am eagerly waiting on the other side so that I may be guided by the pure love of her spirit. I am all in with as much mental clarity as I can muster each and every day.
Because on the other side of this door, I feel her love and how much she wants me to give and receive love. She truly wants me to be happy, and I know she is where she is supposed to be as everytime I picture her, she is smiling from ear to ear. She is not apologizing for leaving me because it was all part of her destiny. She doesn’t tell me she is sorry that I have to experience this heart-breaking truth. It’s all part of my destiny. I honor and accept that, however hard it may be.
Keara is still with me, it’s just different. So, as I adjust to my new life without her physical presence, I learn to release, not just in the “what doesn’t serve me way” but also in the “it never belonged to me in the first place” way. And, I practice seeing, feeling, hearing and knowing when she is connecting with me.
And as a result, this new life has greater clarity, deeper depths, more certainty, love, peace and wisdom, facilitated and allowed to actualize because of and alongside Keara. I am forever grateful for her. The lessons that she has taught me are too many to count, and I am speechless that she literally keeps teaching me lessons even after graduating from her earth school.
We are each unique and have the free will to grieve in the manner that we choose. For me, I know with certainty that choosing to remain in a perpetual state of sadness and victimization will only block me from living my best life. I have done that for too many years already, and I won’t do it at the expense of the life of my daughter. There is absolutely nothing that I can do to alter the reality that Keara is no longer sharing an earthly experience with me. I choose to expand my thinking and choose thoughts that help me feel peace and love. The bonds that we share cannot and will not be broken because her body ceases to exist. Separation is afterall, just an illusion.
Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of “21st Century Parenting” brought to you by Keara Kisses.
Separation is just an illusion. We are never truly separated from those we love.
In Episode 2 of our series on “Living after the death of a child” we will explore our perception of death.
For more information visit kearakisses.com.
Until we meet again, keep wondering.
These blogs are written from my personal perspective. I have over thirty years of experience investigating, counseling, assessing and understanding the nature of humans. I look forward to creating a connection with you and sharing reciprocal positive experiences, comments and feedback about your life experiences and opportunities for growth. Please feel free to comment below. Positive comments only please.