The Ones We Can No Longer See
It’s been an emotional week. I believe hormones are playing a large role in it all, and maybe the days of heavy rain and moody weather, and possibly deep conversations with loved ones. Whatever it is, I know there is more than what's on the surface. I actually see it playing out in the ones I hold closest to me as well - feels like there's something in the air so to say.
I woke up one morning last week with an intense need to find out more about my grandparents, who have all left the Earth plane by now. So I began the hunt for their obituaries, which can sound morbid to some, but death is not something that I am afraid to visit, at least in conversation.
I wanted to remember what was written about them in those few short sentences the newspaper gives a life.
I was reminded that I had great grandparents named Mildred, Erlan, Regina, Louis, Eva, Thomas, Patrik and Helen. My first thought was, what a eclectic collection of names, I wish I had the chance to meet them all.
Mildred’s middle name was Kathryn, which is where my middle name comes from. I knew she was a very experienced and avid sewer , but I never knew about her love for chickens and hens.
Stay with me for this one...
My Grandpa, my dad's dad, was named Fred after his father's middle name.
My grandpa named his First son Fred.
My grandpa's only daughter married a Fred.
Both my grandma (his wife) and her sister married a Fred.
And here I am, on the other side of the world, dating a Fred.
That made me laugh.
My grandmother Alberta, my mom's mom, was what felt like the true Matriarch of our family. She was the stitching that kept us together. She passed when I was seven and I remember being somewhat in a state of shock. I couldn’t believe she was gone. It’s actually one of the few and clearest memories I have a child - the before, the during and the after.
When I go back to remember, I see little me just watching everyone go through the motions and the emotions. It was my first experience with death, and I couldn't quite process the thought that I would never really feel her again. With little notice, she was gone. She was the first person I knew that I could no longer see.
She was one of my best friends as a little girl and my go-to babysitter. She was a nurse, an avid smoker and the fanciest, most stylish woman I'd ever known. We would sit at the kitchen table watching soap operas while I ate my happy meal. It wasn’t too long after her death that I remember seeing a vision of her in my room cleaning. I remember screaming because it scared the life out of me and I have sensed her near, but I haven’t seen her since.
The only obituary with a photo was my Grandpa O’Brien, my mom’s dad, who we usually called Gramps or Big Jim. I always thought of him as the more well-dressed, pinky ring, Patriarch who loved the holidays and putting up his Christmas tree. And my god did he love my grandmother. He had a tender heart, in all the ways, but like so many of us he had some heavy burdens and scars, too. There wasn’t a western movie in the world he hadn’t seen at least twice. He was the one I knew best, as it wasn’t until early last year that he passed.
Shortly after reading his obituary came one of the biggest cries that embraced me all week. My eyes well up writing about it. And it was through the tears that I quietly found myself singing the ho’oponopono prayer out loud, “I love you. I’m Sorry. Please Forgive me. I thank you.”
It was one of those messy, weepy cries where you can’t, and really don’t want to, stop the rapid in-in-in breath followed by your navel clenching towards your spine as the out-out-out releases. It took over me the moment I surrendered into it.
I couldn’t quite grasp the reason why the tears had been heavy and frequent last week because it’s been a beautiful one filled with clients and group sessions and long distance phone calls and tea dates.
But I remembered what I tell my clients now and again, not everything needs to be intellectualized, it’s okay to just feel, too.
Anyway, I’ve been talking to my grandfather ever since this moment. I know he's around often. I think he’s the one that keeps playing with my music to be honest. I asked him to remind me when he’s nearby so I could sit with him.
I invited him in, because I’ve learned that’s what the ones we can no longer see need, an invitation. Then we must keep our eyes open for their signs.
Later that afternoon I finally opened the Goop newsletter that’s been sitting in my inbox all week, and it was quite literally all about grief and death. This particular article lead me to a podcast with Laura Lynne Jackson called, Are We All Psychic? (she gave some beautiful and useful tips on how to connect).
And I just laughed and nodded.
There is a certain kind of healing that takes place when we both learn more about and reach out to the ones who came before us.
Who knows? Maybe this encourages you to do a little deep diving into your own ancestry, because my god we are so so so connected to that part of us. To me, that connection has become important and I know I’m not doing this work alone or simply just for me, but for the lineage.
As the Grandmother’s once said, the work we do on ourselves is for the 7 generations behind us and the 7 generations in front of us.
Every ounce of me can feel in the deepest parts of my bones the ricochet that happens when I hit the inner gold of a release. You know that feeling? It can feel so shitty and so gratifyingly freeing at the same time. Then my ears begin to buzz and I know it’s a nod and a thank you.
I’m not totally sure why I felt the call to share this with you, I am a bit hesitant to be honest. I know it’s part of my purpose to share the ways in which I work through my stories and healing, but I’m also still navigating the boundaries here.
All I know for sure is that someone out there needed it, and I’m not quite sure who.
And so it is.