Acceptance

Accepting and embracing what it

Reflections on Grief and Joy

A three-quarter moon glowed pinkish-peach from the rising sun’s reflection on its shadowy surface, as it made its decent towards the horizon. Alone, I stood on the beach taking in the luminescent beauty of the moon, and the glimmering platinum ocean. The early morning light created a symphony of colors as the blue from the sky peaked through the fog, creating a metallic bluish-silver color.

The sand was smooth without foot prints, except for the occasional spiky claw print of a seagull. Bundled up with a scarf, hat and jacket on, I walked slowly from one length of the beach to the other, about half a mile, stopping occasionally to take in the quickly changing scenery and watching as the waves gently rolled and crashed. Their sound soothed my broken heart.

It had been eight months since I had separated from John, after being married for 17-years. Despite the separation being my idea, I was devastated that we hadn’t been able to resolve our differences. The grief was unbearable at times, especially since it was compounded by the loss of my dog and letting go of my dream of having a baby. Now, I was also letting go of my life […]

The Courage to Let Go

“Enough is enough. It’s time to let go,” my body told to me.

A month earlier, I had woken up with the flu. I was nauseous, tired, and had a fever. I was also in the midst of yet another early miscarriage with terrible cramps. Trying to have a baby was taking a huge toll on me. It was becoming clear to me I needed to stop.

I had held onto hope for so long. Even though I was getting older and my window of fertility was closing, I had a dream several years ago that I would have a baby when I was forty-five. On both my mom’s side and my father’s side of the family, there were women who had babies well into their forties. Also, I frequently felt the baby’s spiritual presence with me, and assumed that it would come into life form and be a part of our family. It’s what my heart wanted.

Now at the age of forty-six, the thought of surrendering my dream scared me. What would happen if I stopped trying? I would surely never have a baby. Will I regret not trying harder? Who would take care of me in my aging years […]

Angel on the Other Side

Saying Goodbye to Bucky –  Part Two
(Scroll down to previous post for Part One)

I thought I would feel relieved after putting Bucky to sleep, but I felt awful. Had he still wanted to live? Did we let him go too soon? Why did this happen this way? I hadn’t been ready to let him go. Perhaps if we had waited, I would have been more prepared. I regretted making such a quick decision.

For several mornings, I woke up sick to my stomach. Bucky wasn’t asleep on my meditation chair, but tufts of his fur and fragments of litter were still there. His food dishes and litter box were sitting out. I felt a huge void in our home and couldn’t believe he was actually gone. It was like experiencing a nightmare from which I couldn’t awaken.

I was astonished by how deep the pain was. How could such a small being make such a huge impact on my heart? I missed Bucky terribly…being able to hold and cuddle him, pet and kiss him, baby and nurture him. I was his protector and mommy. He was my companion and comfort, and offered me an outlet for my affection. He needed me […]

Saying Goodbye to Bucky – Part I

Waking out of a deep sleep, I heard my husband, John, shout, “Karen, you need to get up and see this. Bucky can’t walk.”

It can’t be that bad, I’ll just roll over and sleep a little more.

“Get up,” he said. “You have to see this.”

Grudgingly, I got out of bed and saw that our cat, Bucky kept falling over as he tried to drink from his water bowl.

Bucky was 20 years old. Since I never had children, he was my “baby,” sweet, gentle, timid and affectionate. I loved to cuddle with him and pet his soft gray and white fur. As the runt of his litter, Bucky had outlived his brother, Spanky, and his next feline companion, Kitty. He was the least adventurous of them all, although, having moved ten times in his long life, he experienced plenty of adventure.

Blind and arthritic, Bucky had recently become incontinent and developed a terrible smell that bathing didn’t help. Was his time near? He didn’t appear to be suffering. I hadn’t even considered putting him to sleep. He kept my lap warm while I wrote in the morning, slept in my meditation chair next to me as I worked during the […]

By |October 24th, 2012|Acceptance, Grief and Loss|

Read More

Celebrating the Cycle of Life and Death

The cycle of life, death and rebirth is so rich and beautiful. When someone or something dies, someone or something new is born. Life is forever expanding and expressing itself. If we remain open and awake, we are able to celebrate it in all of its forms.

Recently, I received news that my 97-year-old Grammie was on hospice and dying after a fall from her wheelchair. Even though she was old and I knew her time on earth was coming to an end, I was still heart broken. I wanted one last chance to see her.

While driving to her assisted living home, I went over and over in my mind the things I wanted to express to her…how her life had made a huge impact on so many, what an amazing person she was, how much I loved her. I felt sick to my stomach and had a lump in my throat as I didn’t know what to expect. Would she be awake and conscious? Would I be able to communicate with her? Would she be in pain?

I knocked softly on her door before entering. She was unresponsive, sleeping heavily and looked similar to my father the day he passed […]

By |August 3rd, 2012|Acceptance, Grief and Loss|

Read More

Rising out of Despair

Dark, murky, lonely, hopeless, disconnected from God/Spirit/Light, I feel heavy and helpless like I’m drowning and it takes too much effort to swim to the surface. I sink further and further, into the darkness, into despair. Perhaps I will just stay in the darkness, underwater, where it is peaceful and calm. Where I can be still and my heart can rest and heal from this recent early miscarriage.

I muster the courage and strength to do this writing. I know in my heart, I am not alone. I can reach out to a friend who is familiar with loss. I begin to feel lighter the more I write and am present with my experience. Perhaps I needed to allow myself to go into the darkness, and fully immerse myself with it, before I could begin to rise up into the light.

As I write, I see the yellow rose on my altar, the pedals fully open, extended, reaching up. I see hope in its unfolding. I hope for hope. I don’t want to remain bitter because one of my most cherished dreams continues to go unrealized.

Then I feel it…a spark in my heart, a small flame is lit. There is light! […]

Saying YES to Life after Loss

Relegated to the couch once again, bundled up in a blanket, not only was I in physical pain, but I was angry. It had been more than three weeks since I had gotten sick with the flu around the time of my father’s and brother’s anniversaries of their deaths (see previous post about anniversary reactions). Now, because of a lingering cough, I had fractured a rib. Why is this happening to me? When am I going to feel better?

I longed to be outdoors enjoying the sunshine and longer spring days. All around people were celebrating life. Music played, young folks walked down the street dressed in flip flops, bathing suits and shorts, headed for the beach, while I was stuck inside feeling sorry for myself.

Prior to this illness I had been feeling really good about the progress I had made with my health and with strengthening my immune system. For several months, I had received acupuncture and hadn’t gotten sick. Further, I had been involved in a business training program and had experienced increased prosperity. Now, my business was crumbling and my doubts were growing. Would I ever be able to sustain my health and energy long enough […]

By |June 22nd, 2012|Acceptance, Grief and Loss|

Read More

Don’t Hold Back! Re-engage in Life after the Initial Grieving Ends

By Karen Mehringer

Locked into my seat on the Double Shot ride at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, I grabbed tightly onto the handle bars and turned my head towards my husband, John, for assurance. We were facing the beach where kids played soccer and volleyball in the sand. Umbrellas, the colors of the rainbow, were set one right next to the other. Sailboats cruised around near the wharf. It was a gorgeous sunny warm day. As the ride pulled us straight up 125 feet into the air and then quickly dropped us, leaving my stomach in the ethers, I screamed at the top of my lungs. It shot us up and down one more time before coming to a gentle stop. Laughing, I stumbled off the ride and exclaimed, “That was a blast!” I felt like a kid again.

The grieving process takes a tremendous amount of energy. Initially, it is normal to withdraw from engaging in life in order to conserve our energy so we can heal. Perhaps we no longer feel like attending social functions and prefer to spend time alone or with close friends and family. We may find ourselves going to bed earlier than normal, watching […]

Creating Room for Grief

The grieving process is natural. Similar to the cycles of the seasons or the ebb and flood of the tides…it is not linear and straightforward, but it comes and goes. At times, we may feel good about life…inspired, energized and in our passion. At others, we may feel sad, fatigued and depressed. Each of these seasons requires something different from us.

          For example, if we are grieving, we may need to draw our energy inward and spend more time resting and focusing on self care. We may have less energy to give and create. Like the winter season, this is a good time to restore our energy for when the spring arrives, allowing the seeds of new life to germinate in the dark soil.

          A couple of weeks before Christmas I found myself feeling blue, heavy-hearted and moody. I was surprised to tune into my body and find hidden grief, sitting under the surface, waiting to be acknowledged. The previous month, I had felt energized and inspired about my business and life, so when grief surfaced, I was resistant at first. There is too much to do to prepare for Christmas. I don’t have time to be sad. Plus, […]

Trusting the Seasons of Life

“Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!” Absolute silence enveloped me except for the sound of my boots on the hard packed snow. I quickly shoved my gloved hands deep into my jacket pockets as I didn’t want my fingers to get frost bitten. With a scarf wrapped tightly around my neck, mouth and nose, and my wool hat on, I was fairly comfortable while walking my dog despite the frigid -8 degree temperature at ten in the morning.
         Not only was it completely silent, void of the usual birds chirping, squirrels scampering up and down pine trees, and neighbor’s dogs barking, but there was a deep stillness in the forest. The trees frosted with ice and snow didn’t move an inch as if they were glued in place by the coldness. Touching a branch with pine needles, some broke off, they were so brittle. Even the color of the clear sky was dull, silver-like, rather than it’s normal bright azure blue. I didn’t witness another being (human or animal) on my walk, as all were taking shelter. My soul reveled in the deep stillness and silence surrounding me.

During the last couple of months, I had withdrawn and taken shelter due to the emotional […]

By |February 1st, 2011|Acceptance, Grief and Loss|

Read More