...To live in this world
you must be able to
do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones
knowing your life depends on it;
and when the time comes to let it go;
to let it go.
-Excerpt from Mary Oliver, In Blackwater Woods
I lost my father in January to a very long battle with a rare degenerative neurological disorder. It followed the loss of my stepmother in June of 2018 from cancer. 2018 was such a huge year of loss and trauma for me that I am still processing.
I ran an emotional and physical marathon the last 6 months of 2018 trying to care for my family and my father. I moved my dad near us, got incredible precious time with him and got to be with him during the process of his passing. I feel so grateful that I got this close and intense time with him. I thought having that time together would make the loss easier, but I learned, as we all do, nothing can prepare you for loss.
After my father's memorial, I hit a wall of exhaustion and sadness. And then the fog descended. I find myself staring out windows, walking into walls, having a hard time focusing. Sometimes I cry multiple times a day, often before 8am. It is hard to sit with grief and uncertainty, to let it unfold in its own time, to cede control and trust that everything will be alright. A picture of my dad or a memory will knock me off my feet, but this is the process. I am not going to hide from it. It is going to take time and it won’t be linear.
I am finding solace in nature, in beauty, in laughter, in memories, in roses. Grief is many layered like a rose. Roses come in hundreds of species as grief has many different manifestations. Petals grow, fall off, emotions grow and transform. Just like the waxing and waning of the moon, the changes in seasons, my grief will change. Roses are also heart healers. Rose essential oil is beautiful, uplifting and very powerful for working with grief, sadness and depression. The scent of rose has always buoyed me up to the surface, especially the scent of rosa rugosa and tea rose. I have been incorporating rose into my rituals. Taking rose glycerite mixed with CBD oil, drinking Tulsi rose tea, using rose face oil, smelling my vials of rose essential oil or wearing a rose perfume. At night, I rub my heart with a rose balm. In ritual, I am finding solace and the strength to face grief. I know it will come in waves, the petals will fall off and grow back as I will keep shedding and growing. I am trusting in the process and slowly witnessing the sadness, beauty and wonder of it and of my transformation. I will plant a tree for my father this spring, it will be strong and determined like him, it will grow towards the sun, and I will plant roses for myself.