By June 30, 2016 Read More →

ZenView – Loss & Transformation

By Mary Layton
Loss and Transformation

Last month I travelled to Germany to visit my parents. At the end of April my mother celebrated her 89th birthday with family and her close friends. By that point she had battled Parkinsons for 14 years. Each new year was proof of her strength and courage. My mother was lucky and grateful for the wonderful caregivers in her life. But we all knew that she had come to the end of her life when she decided to complete her life on her own terms by stopping the medications. Friends, family and all her great grandchildren came to visit her that spring.
I was on my way as well and arrived just in time. Two days later she passed away peacefully in the arms of her youngest daughter. She had made sure to wait with her departure until she felt the presence of all her 5 children. It was amazing how she held on, waiting for the right moment to leave.

I always have dreaded the thought of a parent dying. But to my surprise, I was actually feeling at peace with my mother’s passing. She was finally free of the pain and the suffering. I knew she had had a full life and had enjoyed herself despite her illness. She loved music and the arts. She travelled. She spent lots of time with friends. She was the heart of a big family. Always ready to have a good time. But also there to offer her help and wisdom to others. Her endurance inspired everyone.

In the days leading up to the funeral I found myself in an unfamiliar territory, as if in between two
worlds. On one hand there was the loss and separation, on the other hand there was a feeling of spaciousness I didn’t know before. The spaciousness that she had travelled to I somehow felt was opening up for me as well.

Most of my life I had tried to please her and tried to justify and defend the choices I had made in my life. This was now over. I felt a profound sense of letting go and letting be. Letting myself be. It is a freedom I’m still exploring. The marvelous thing is that I feel that my mother is closer to me than ever. She’s a part of me. I can now appreciate all she tried to teach me. I sense her strength and guidance.

It is not uncommon to feel the presence of a loved one after they die. Our pop culture knows about this. In the Star Wars episode ‘New Hope’ when Obi-wan dies he guides Luke in ways he could not in life. And so we continue to hear our parents, hear our loved ones, feel them and are guided by them long after we can be with them physically.

All relationships are unique. When someone close passes away we each feel and react differently; we can never presume to apply how we grieve to anyone else’s process. What I write here is strictly my own experience.

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About the Author:

Mary Layton has practiced T'ai Chi for 35 years and co-founded T'ai Chi Ch'uan Academy of Modesto in1995. She and her partner have taught hundreds of students. Mary travels frequently to learn from her teacher Grand Master Kai Ying Tung. Interested in every aspect of health Mary likes to follow a natural path. She loves writing, painting, gardening, hiking and playing piano.