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One year ago today, Earth Day, my Father Passed.
We can watch others process the loss of a parent, we can try to imagine what it may feel like to lose a parent, but we never really know what it will feel like until it happens.

And when it happens, suddenly, everything that comes with the word “Adult” is yours to be. All of it. Embrace loss, responsibility, embrace loneliness, embrace Mortality, because it is yours now. But the true gift happens when we embrace our fullness. And the fullness of connection too because if you open to it, it can be a beautiful exchange.

They call it death, and we place such heavy energy on it, we fear our own, we cling to others in hopes it will not happen to them. But it does happen to them, and to me and you and her and him… We all do it, so why is it so hard to accept?

Death is always difficult, but it is something “other” until it is the passing of one who brought you into being. Then it is a bit of your own, this thing called death.

I suppose it is because we find ourselves enveloped in Loss. We don’t have to lose because someone we love takes a journey on another plane, but we have been trained to. Processing death from a place of lack and loss and sadness, we stay there longer. I believe this.

I still have not had the right circumstances, time, ability or luxury of “grieving”. This was a passing more public than I had realized or prepared for. Sometimes I am enveloped in more arms than I can even fathom, and sometimes I find myself dawning an invisible shield––full armor––to go get a cup of coffee. I share this great loss with so many people, that it is almost my duty to console them in their loss. But I have not found the time to truly console myself. And sometimes it is all I can do to get through the day. There is just so much to encompass. So much to process.

I think the hardest thing for me has been working with all of the energy I am feeling and preparing for public interaction. Sometimes I walk with my father beside me–I couldn’t shake him if I tried. And sometimes I forget he is even “gone”. The latter times are when it is the most difficult to bring his absence into the forefront of my mind and share with strangers.

Please excuse me if you find me in one of those moments.

I don’t know if the grieving looks like this, or if i am in some kind of illusory state of denial. It seems as though my father is giving me tangible, visceral displays of his presence in my life.

I have watched my son’s face adopt qualities that suddenly resemble my dad. The guitar has become a release he hadn’t embraced for years. Sometimes I lock into sadness that my dad isnt here to see his grandson as he blossoms. But most of the time I feel him so strongly that I cannot imagine he is not experiencing the blossom more fully now, from the formless realm, than if he was in the audience, or playing beside him.

It feels like he is part of the fragrence the blossom exudes. It is as if their relationship is stronger and far more intimate now than it ever could have been otherwise. I couldn’t begin to know the conversations they are having.

And I don’t need to try, I am having my own.

It is almost as if his body tethered him, he is now free now to be right here in a way I never could pin him to with my needy childish demands.

Most children have demands, at least a few, that are far too difficult to deliver, if we give those results to ourselves, we can learn to ask less of our parents and partners and society. It takes becoming an adult to recognize fully, how strong those demands were. It takes losing a parent to become the adult we need to be to see how much they were giving. And so, the only way to let them know we know now, is to reach them on the plane they are on now.

As you may consider, not many of us are even hardwired to notice our deceased loved ones on our shoulders after they have gone… Some chastise themselves to the point of flogging, for leaving the relationship without saying all they could, or loving the way they should have, but even after they are “gone”, I believe they get it, and perhaps with more clarity. With mundane words, we can explain the pool we would like for them to swim in with us but it isn’t until we let go of the mundane box we hold “us” in that we can actually swim together.

I was fortunate enough that my father passed when I was almost an “adult” already, having let him off the hook for my own stuff, the stuff I should have always owned. I couldn’t imagine how I would feel right now if we hadn’t gone to the places we needed to go and clear the emotional closets.

In the last year, I have been in hiding. I had to be. I knew I would be sharing the loss of my father with the world, I just had no idea it would be so all encompassing. If I could explain the waves of feelings I must surf just to get through this one horse town without being reminded of all that comes with losing a parent–– then I wouldn’t have to explain anything.

I am still surfing, often hiding in a lagoon, but I am coming back, ready to put this creative energy to flower.

What I have felt in this past year has displayed to me more beauty and love than I ever let myself feel before. It is a blessing and an honor to be able to get to this now. “Loss” and “finding” is a big part of why.

My father introduced me to Earth Day. I think it was in his office that I learned there was one. I stay rooted here for now, on this glorious earth, and as he dissolves into all that is, I am learning the connection.

Feeling you with me
Thank you for the company
“Death” is illusion

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4 thoughts on “Live in love

  1. Your writing, your words can be a guide to all those who think they lose someone. Thank you Ernie Paniccioli.

  2. Rach, Thank you for this and everything else. I read your writings and you help me without even knowing it. I am in a dark place now and I am scared and need to get myself together. I wish u all the best and I am sure that ur Dad is with u and his grandson every single second of every day. Please keep on with the words. And thank you from my soul…….

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