This week my thoughts need to be put on paper (or you know, the online world). No video from me this week - though know that I'm sending you lots of love and connection from behind my keyboard.
You see, we've had a tough one this week. My darling husband Ben and I and our two kids were called to the north of our fair state just over a week ago to make final decisions about his grandmother who had collapsed the night before. She had been feeling unwell, rang 000 while she was having what we now know to be a heart attack and she didn't have a heart beat when emergency services arrived. They brought her back and she was on life support in the ICU when we reached her. She was in a place where she hadn't spoken to her children in a number of years, but was close to my husband, our family and his brother. So Ben was the first port of call for what to do for anything medical. A heavy conversation and a heart breaking decision for my darling man.
With the support of his Dad, the youngest of her children, Ben made the decision to let her peacefully go. They sat with her until the end and two hours after the machines went off, she went off to join her darling husband who had passed ten years before.
Our almost four year old son saw his Daddy, Mummy, Pa and Uncle cry a lot that day, and in the days following. He cried and grieved more deeply than I've seen him experience in his short life, even though he didn't really understand what Gran being dead really meant. Our 16 month old didn't understand what was happening, but felt the pain of her family and cried alongside us all. Both kids were on Daddy's hips as he delivered the eulogy at the funeral he organised a week later - they couldn't watch him cry and not be there to hug him.
Death has a way of changing us.
Whether it is someone who has lived a long life, or someone who was robbed of years of experiences still to come - I don't think we can say goodbye to someone we know and love without something shifting inside us. Grief, hope, sadness, kindness, love, motivation, inspiration - there can be any combination of feelings, but we never remain the same.
The question is - what do you DO with those feelings?
I've so often walked away from a funeral, or wake, or my own goodbye for a friend or family member and sat with those feelings, of being 'changed' - and not really done anything with it. Just put it on the shelf, so to speak, and gone on with my life - grieving, but not making any decisions that create change, or bring more joy, love or laughter into my life.
Other times though, I've found resolve to do the things that I've always wanted to - we've booked trips we've always talked about (admittedly it may be after too many glasses of wine, post-wake and spending a little too much on flights.... oops), we reconnect with those we love and make more time to spend with them. We've enrolled in courses, or in my husband's case, started a new business that he's always wanted it. We've taken the loss of our loved one and their life, and made it represent one more good thing in our lives.
Don't let these feelings pass you by.
It sounds really cliche, but I think that's because it's true - live every day as though it could be your last and focus on creating your dream life. It may not happen straight away, but you'll be focusing on a life that you will enjoy creating, one step at a time. The best part is that if you take those feelings of joy, inspiration, love or even motivation from the loss of someone you love and focus on creating a life that you would be proud of, then it doesn't matter if you don't get to where you are going, you really are enjoying the journey there.
So after the darkness came the light. We spent a wonderful weekend with Ben's family and extended family and they nurtured and loved us and we them. We laughed, and cried, and ate and slept (a LOT!). We felt like we'd been bundled up into a ball of energy and love and released back into our bodies to go forth and take our resolve and love back out into the world.
So we decided to act on what we said we wanted to do as we said goodbye to Ben's Gran.
We made a commitment to ourselves and our family to spend more time together. Real time. Genuine connection. Not only did we make it a priority but we put it into our 2017 planners and made that time not negotiable, so that it doesn't slip away without us seeing each other for long periods of time. Every month we will drive the two hours north for at least one weekend to see my husband's family. Because they are important and family is one of my own and our family's core values - those things we hold closest to our hearts.
This weekend made us grateful for what we have, think about what we want and pushed us to take action - so that the distance is never too great for us to spend time with those we love.
Honour those who have left us by asking yourself what makes you happy - and do more of it. Simple as that. It can be inside work, it could be time with friends and family outside work, it can be volunteer work, a sport - whatever makes you FEEL good and more alive. Do more of that.
So farewell to this woman, one of the most fiercely independent and savvy women I've met. I'll look after your grandson/s and great grand children and love them fiercely. But I vow to also love myself and do what truly makes me happy in this world.
How can you honour those who have passed? Do more of that.