Those were the strict instructions given to us by my dad. We were under no circumstances to have a stuffy funeral where everyone stood around with sad eyes. We were to rent a giant hall and have a massive party with everybody invited, loud music and drinks flowing. A party to go down in history – and that’s exactly what we did. We celebrated his life, and we celebrated ours for having been better because he was in it. Yesterday marked 10 years without him. 10 years. And while I’m sad for all he has missed and I still miss his presence continuously, I know that to honour him means that I also must celebrate my life too.
10 years ago, I fell into the pit of grief so deep I knew I would be never be the same again, and I’m not. But I also thought that I would never experience absolute joy, true peace in my soul and gratitude in my heart and I most certainly have, many times over. In the past 10 years I have built a successful career, met and married the love of my life, witnessed the miracle of birth and life through the eyes of my niece and nephew (named after my dad and has his eyes and smile), met countless new friends and travelled the world. Of course, there has been heartache along the way, life is always a mix of darkness and light but there has also been so much to celebrate. Grief is such an interesting thing because while it never really goes away, it does change and shift as we grow and shift. Without question my Yoga practice has been an enormous help to me all these years, teaching me to be present to accept what is (santosha) and let go of what we can’t control (isvara pranidhana).
I found myself caught up this week thinking of the many people in my life that I’ve lost. Unfortunately, many of them so young. My high school boyfriend Duke would have been 47 this week and it breaks my heart to think of all the years he lost, losing his life at 23. We so easily get caught in the mires of every day, our daily tasks and stresses and complaining and worrying about such insignificant crap. I wish it didn’t take being in absolute darkness, to experience the worst of life to remind us of the best, but often these are our lessons. While I don’t write this today to make you cry, or myself for that matter, I am writing this to remind us of the legacy of those we’ve lost and what they would want for us. To celebrate life. Isn’t the saying: there are no guarantees but death and taxes. Live your life! Live it for yourself, live it for those around you and live it for those who have passed on already. Stop worrying about ageing – age is beautiful and the biggest gift we receive. Stop dwelling on the past, you can’t change it. Live for today, live for the now. Celebrate!
If you are still in the early days of grief (there is no specific number for what that is) I see you. Please grieve, you must and take each day as it comes. And be patient. Even though you can’t see the light, just know that it is there, and it will shine again. Nothing will ever be the same, but it’s not meant to be either. When you are ready, get on your mat even if it is to just sit there. Let your practice bring you solace. There are also many resources to help you along this path in the way of groups, councilors, retreats and your friends. In the meantime, lets hold each other in our hearts.
In love and light.