Weeks ago my husband woke me to some sad news. My niece had been killed in a car crash. It is a moment we know we will all have at sometime in our life; sad and unexpected news. I jumped out of bed and immediately called out my brothers name. I felt an immediate ache in my heart and ran down to my phone.
When I called him at 1:30am we talked or I should say I listened. I knew that no words could help the grief. Many times people feel awkward as they don’t know what to say. Fact is sometimes just being there is enough. What I knew right away was I had to hold that space for him. I just had to let him express all his feelings. Yoga and Meditation for me has made me so much more aware of this. I allow myself to pause more, be less reactive and feel the here and now moment more. My practice has really taught me to see reality for each moment and even when it ugly, see it and don’t push it away. Be with it because everything passes and changes.
I allowed myself weeks of just feeling what I was feeling as well. Often with grief unfortunately we don’t just get to feel it. There are plans, responsibilities, calls and paperwork. I knew this and also knew the sooner we prioritized what really had to be done, the rest can happen later.
I didn’t share my loss the week that it happened with my yoga classes. I couldn’t contain myself and would start crying. So I chose to stop, be with my family, and feel the waves of emotions. So much more than just one feeling – waves of shock, anger, blame, disbelief, sadness and hurt. I found over time though that it helps me to express and also share the lessons with those I teach. All of us have had to deal with grief in our life and what I tend to find so amazing, no matter if we are dealing with a celebration or loss, is the beautiful way it binds and brings so many of us together. You really find out what people are made of when they pull together and help. The loss also makes us shift our appreciation and maybe shift our focus from the less important concerns to those we know are valuable.
I’m still dealing with the loss of her and what all this means to my young niece who lost her sister. I got to hold her during the ceremony and at 8 years old she doesn’t quite understand but she went through waves of crying to laughing, so I was glad to be there for her. I have often said that dealing with a loss is that the pain doesn’t go away…you just learn to live with it. But it is so important to learn to feel and live with the moment to moment experience vs suppress and ignore it.
My thoughts go to my brother and the entire family that lost this beautiful young lady too soon. What was amazing was to see the impact she made as I saw a crowded space fill up with all those who came to celebrate her life. It really makes you wonder what your celebration of life would be like; would you have an impact like that others? What would others honor, miss and love about you? After all it isn’t how long you live – but how you live that matters.
RIP Geneva Owens who died Feb 15, 2016 while driving home from work