Whilst my son and I worked on a Christmas gift for his dad, I had to take a break to help my daughter to sleep. My son waited patiently and his mind began to reflect in the silence. I heard him start to cry and whimpered, “I’m afraid of what will happen to me when I die…I hope I die in my sleep.” I began to cry with him as I validated his worries and explained that up til a few years ago, I was afraid of dying too and that most people have the same fear. I described that the death of his sister really helped me to face my fears as well as realise that my greatest fear was leaving him and his sister in a world of pain and misery, that they’d be robbed of a mother’s unconditional love. It was during this awareness that I decided to dedicate my life to creating peace and love in the world so in the time of my death, my children would be surrounded in the love and light I had cultivated.

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Symbolically, on the same day of this conversation with my son, we received word that our dear friend on the other side of the world had chosen to end his life. The waves of grief were upon my family that holiday. A picture, a memory, a song triggered a wave. Sometimes the waves came fast and others slow.  Sometimes the wave felt in the hue of disbelief, or in sadness, and even in anger. All the waves validate the loss of a life source; the giddy laugh and bear hugs we miss.

Even more symbolically, about 2 months before this loss, my son was starting a new adventure: an experiential bio-dynamic farming and life learning group atop the island we live on. It had 360 degree views of the ocean, seemingly endless fields and bush country.  It is a Maori custom to give a gift to the land that you will work. This is done by choosing a treasured item and burying it in the land.  On separate occasions, both my partner and I thought of giving one of the heart-shaped, rose-quartz stones our dear friend gave to us as a wedding gift in 1999. When the day came to bury the stone, I felt a bit of sadness separating the hearts. I had read another Maori tradition is to hold a specific stone, put all your worries into it and bury it. My son and I held the heart stone and unloaded our worries. I wept as I handed my son stone to take.

When the waves of grief hit, parts of me wished I would have called our friend to share the story of the stone so just maybe we could have given his worries to the stone and buried his pain instead of him…What if his landlord would have allowed dogs so my sweet dog could have been his best friend…What if we connected with him when I ran across the envelope he sent 7 music CDs in… I know as the what if’s go on and on, that this fate was already dealt into the cards and his poker face we enjoyed too much. I have learned another painful lesson of how important it is to listen to my gut and risk reaching out, no matter how far or disconnected you may be.

I understand that an accumulation of many toxins played together to fuse this tragedy. Having personally considered this same end many times, I can also see that sadly this could have be the most “gratifying” end from his perspective as it ended the pain, the mental and emotional torment and he could feel in control, his fate in his hands. May he finally be able to see his brilliant reflection in all the tears and thoughtful actions of his loved ones. May everyone with breath left find the courage to share the pain, discover the inherent value we all have regardless of what life gives us, and use our  power to chose love instead of fear.

I am grateful my son is sharing his fears with me and continually processing his thoughts on pain and death. Every painful exchange with my children is a gift and opportunity to practice sharing negative feelings and grow together.

On Pain from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

source http://www.katsandogz.com/onpain.html

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Here are some links of grief:

http://helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm

http://www.childrensgrief.net/info%20-%20helping%20children%20with%20grief%20issues.htm

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