Day of the Dead

1 Nov

I always feel a certain sadness at Halloween for the 31st of October turns into the 1st of November and then we have All Saints Day, All Souls Day and the Day of the Dead.

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I remember the first Halloween after my mother took her life. The holiday came a few months later and I was definitely stirred by the recent loss. And now, not long since the deaths of my two cats I feel haunted again. Whether at home or in a hotel room never graced by their presence, I have been feeling their spirits as I lay my head upon the pillow each night. How fitting for this time of year…

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I didn’t realize that the death of one’s animals could linger so. Having mourned two parents, I thought the passing of one’s animals might be easier. And indeed in many ways it is. But grieving follows the same cycles that always seem to take us by surprise no matter what type of loss.

The last month of their lives was hellish for everyone. We somehow all knew death was knocking at the door. Even days before I made the decision to put Hafiz down, he clung to me, getting as close as possible when he no longer felt comfortable on my lap.

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And then Rumi too began to decline and before my eyes I watched in disbelief as they went home together.

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When our loved ones die there seems to be this bizarre transition where I’m not convinced they have 100% left the planet. It’s like the paper work hasn’t been fully processed in heaven. And in this phase, it’s really hard to let go.

I thought I had but I was only denying how much they meant to me and how empty it feels without them.

We remain haunted until we fully grieve. Only then can the ghosts of our loved ones finally depart. As we sit with these lingering spirits we wonder what we should make room for in our lives. How do we invite life in to the here and now, fully embodied? For if Rumi and Hafiz taught me anything, it’s that we’re not meant to be alone. We might be loners by nature and there is great joy in solitude, but our love is meant to be incarnate. It is meant to be shared with others. We were made for union.

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