Everything looks and feels different. Yet, it’s all the same. The world has changed and, yet, it hasn’t. Everyone around me acts like nothing ever happened. But it has.
No one really knows how things will change until they have. We can’t predict, sense, or feel it… it just occurs, whether you want it to or not.
Last Friday marked 2 weeks since my mother died. To say the least, it was an odd feeling to go through my day. I attended a continuing education workshop, a nice distraction from the heaviness of the week. But on the drive there, on every break, and even throughout the lecture, my mind wandered back to the events of two weeks prior. There was no stopping it, regardless of the fact that none of the 164 people in the room had any idea of how the world had changed.
I chatted briefly with a woman next to me—a nutritionist who was also after her CE units for licensure, all the while aware that there was no way for her to know that my vision had changed. The invisible layer of grief laid a very thick filter over every word I heard and every movement I saw. Yet, she had no idea. I heard her talk about her adjustment to retirement, the process she and her husband were going through in selling a family business, and their thoughts about moving out west to be closer to their children. She was talking about the stress involved in all of these as I sat and listened, wondering what she would say if I told her of my own adjustment to being a freshly grieving, parentless adult.
I’ve never been so fully aware of the layers of consciousness until now. During the week I was in Colorado for my mother’s funeral, a friend said that it must be strange to be observing all of this as both a person and a psychologist. But, to me, there are many more layers of awareness that were and are occurring simultaneously: the daughter who did her best to make sure her mother knew she was loved in her final days…., the sibling who had to help make decisions regarding her mother’s interment of ashes…., the sibling who was trying to make sure her brother who lived with their mother felt supported and not so alone in a newly empty home…., the friend who was being so wonderfully and lovingly supported by her own soul group—her friends both near and far…., the soul who continued to talk with her mom’s spirit after death in hopes that she had made a soft landing…., the owner of a house and two dogs who had to problem-solve how to deal with a leaky toilet that the house sitter noticed while I was 1500 miles away…., the new joint-owner of a home in Colorado, complete with 43 years of accumulation…., the psychologist who was watching all of this from her viewpoint in Colorado, but also had to make calls home to cancel appointments, listen to messages, and return email that couldn’t wait…., the author who had a big deadline approaching that couldn’t be missed…., the psychologist who didn’t know if she would hold it together to be able to do client care when she returned…., the speaker who had to give her national company the go ahead for workshop dates in the next few months…., the discussion leader who had to cancel two events because she didn’t know how she’d be feeling upon return to her work world…., the human who had some unattended health concerns of her own…., the boss who had been unavailable and inattentive for several weeks due to frequent travel home…., the friend who had her own friends who were challenged by parent health issues, job concerns, etc…., and the list goes on…..
As humans, we juggle a lot. We don’t realize it until something happens to shake us or stop us dead in our tracks. The human condition has a way of deceiving us to believe that we are superhuman… that we can pile on the many roles without much conscious effort. The key word is “conscious”. We tend to get buried beneath the human condition without much effort, only to be left to dig our way out regardless of the exhaustion and emotional discomfort that we are already experiencing.
In times like this, I am reminded that a lot of the human condition really doesn’t matter. Much of it is nonsense. Very little of it will make a bit of difference at the end of my own life. The leaky toilet… The email messages…. The returned calls…. The requirements of professional licensure. All of these things seem to matter in the moment, but at the end of my own life, I can guarantee you these aspects of my existence will be the last things on my mind.
Death is a rite of passage. Life is a privilege. What we do with it on a moment-to-moment basis is what allows us to become conscious creatures if we choose to live consciously. When the layers of the human condition are so heavy, yet clear, it motivates me even more to live a fully-aware and conscious life. I don’t want to miss a moment. I want to live as much aligned in my truth as possible. I want my soul to sing. I want no regrets. I want to help to heal as many others’ souls as possible while on this planet. I want to see, hear, and smell every magical corner of the Earth. I want to live the human condition to the fullest, then transcend it to live in the soul condition—evolving to infinity.
Do I want my mother back? No, actually I don’t. I want her to go on to whatever is next for her. I want her to transcend her own struggles, feel free of the terrible pain she experienced, and “right” the likely regrets she wrestled with at the end of life. This is what I want for everyone. I want them—and myself—to evolve into the souls we are destined to be.
Once again, death inspired me. This experience has motivated me to live life more consciously and completely. Death is never just an ending of something—it is always a new dawn as well.