Monday, January 30, 2017


The thaw. Warmer days, snow melts, misty air, ethereal light.
Nature in progress.
Dearest Matthew:
 Where are you? I’ve woken up on the other side of the second anniversary of your death from what feels like a deep sleep—a state of slumber that perhaps only Rip Van Winkle can describe. A frozen heart, a confused mind, not recognizing the familiar, feeling a feeling beyond empty that I can’t put my finger on. The holidays are over. It’s the first week in January and the tree is still up, giving off its scent of pine yet withering. Withering—am I withering? Where am I? Is the better question to ask. I have pneumonia. Feeling physically weak is not helping my shaken emotional and spiritual tone. Chinese medicine believes grief is held in the lungs. I would have to concur.
Instinctively I turn to reading but instincts are not guiding me, something—someone else is—spirit is. I’m drawn to a new memoir “Losing My Breath; From Loss to Transformation by Cindy Weaver. I find myself in a place with no words to define my current state yet I can see that hers are illuminating the tiny bit of Hope that I am holding on to. I read, I cry, I laugh, I breathe. I am still alive. I have found yet another Mother who has walked this path and found the other side. I have found another Mother by her simple act of compassion. By clicking the ‘Like’ button on the Voice of Grief page, synchronicity and I are embarking on a journey once again. She has identified that feeling beyond empty that is consuming me—VACANT. Yes, that’s it! Like a big, old red neon Motel sign flashing my heart condition to me. Vacancy, vacancy, vacancy.
A message from the book pops out at me “Be with me now, know the person I am in the present”, a spirit whisper from Chloe to her Mom. Whispers. My mind has been so loud I have been unable to hear your whispers. This is what I am missing. I am in the existence of “After Matt” yet I am missing knowing you in spirit. I carry my human Love for you but do I really know, enjoy the experience of divine Love? Where are you? What are you doing? Do you work in the Hereafter? I know you’re happy—you could never be anything but! Do you miss me? Do you feel sad when you see me cry? How different are you now in personality, wisdom, patience, Love, understanding? Do you feel my sorrow? Does it pass through you? How do you reach me? How do I reach you?
The answer is right in front of me. You send me books and the books hold messages. The books have been coming from the very days after your passing. One book leads to another and another and this is how my library is built; my understanding nurtured, my knowing strengthened, my doubts diluted, my fears assuaged. I’m so very present when I read. Grief grabs an afghan and we settle comfortably into someone else’s words, someone else’s journey. New thoughts enter my mind. I pause, take a moment to create a highlight or a note when words speak directly to me—mini meditations as I carry the reflections into my heart. This is one resource that has allowed me to put one foot in front of the other.
I have closed one chapter on grief and you are taking me to the beginning of another. There is nothing to fear about being dropped in the middle of Griefland. She’s lost all her color once again. I’m tired, exhausted. Grief is hard work. I want to close my eyes but not my heart. I want to rest. This place, all these Vacancy signs—this will not be my resting place. This is a reminder of a place I’ve visited a few years ago. I’m looking around. I can’t seem to remember the lessons I’ve learned here. Not important. My mind needs a rest. No thinking—being. Just be. How can I know you if I don’t know me? My slate has been wiped clean; preparing me for more understanding, more knowledge, more wisdom.
What have I lost and what have I gained in the first two years of your passing? Two years Matthew—I’m entering my third year without hugs, phone calls, dinner collaborations, watching your heart expand over the love you have for your family, enjoying the feeling of contentment that our family has grown to the perfect size for us. Three years, I can’t even . . . how about one year and 13 months. One year and 13 months of watching your children grow. Breathing in laughter and love and exhaling the fear that carries darkness in tow that wants to mark the time of you having physically left us.
I’ve been able to sit with my sorrow. It’s been work—hard, exhausting work. What comes after this kind of labor? A vacation, a rest . . . do I need a time out? Do I need to rediscover the comfortable in my uncomfortable-ness? I’ve come to a wall. This wall surprises me. It’s tall and long and blocks my view. What to do now? I’m tired, not enough strength to go over—can’t go through. It’s made of stone. The sun is shining on the other side and it has warmed the stone. Maybe I can close my eyes and not my heart and rest awhile. I dream about the hands behind me that have accepted my extended hand on this journey. I see many hands above the wall. Hands from those who’ve figured out a way over. It is my path yet I am not alone.
It is time for me to reach out for help. I’ve traversed grief blogs over this journey and have found a home in a few of them. This is where my heart is leading me; where you, our children in spirit are guiding. The synchronicities validate this is the right path for me now. Two women—bloggers/ teachers/ authors/ Mothers of children in spirit whom I have read and followed since your passing, Matty; they have posted one directly after the other this day. The synchronicity! They are my beacons of light and I instinctively knew the knowledge to be shared, the wisdom to be gained from their new blog posts would be powerful. Comfort and solace are but a few keystrokes away. I bare my soul.
Chris and Sara’s comments to my SOS for help add to what I am already mulling over.
Chris Mulligan shares with me “. . . so many feelings in one post that you wonder how they can all fit in the same place (one’s heart) all at the same time. I certainly remember the feeling of juggling feelings/ experiences/ learning/ feeling certain and doubting. I was going to write a blog post about the Wolf’s Moon tonight and had a page of my yoga journal (Maxx wisdom) open to “How to Move Up”."  

Chris’ message from Maxx, her Spirit Guides, gifted me a mantra that will accompany me on my next leg of this journey—“Open you, notice you, trust you” Open me, notice me, trust me. I will allow this mantra to flow through me. I will work on staying open, seeing me, and oh! that difficult one . . . trust. “Don’t let painful hands distract you from allowing the opening of you”. This is where I am. My hands—no need to scale that impenetrable wall on my own. A choice. My left hand accepting the hands of those behind me on this journey, my right hand reaching up and grasped by the hands of those who are ahead of me. A detour around the roadblock after your Second Anniversary.

The signs and synchronicities abound. My goodness—Matty you ARE with me! Let my doubt take a back seat. I had just hung up from a phone conversation with Jason. He’s in Florida for a family vacation. He had just witnessed the most incredible moon ever and wanted to share. It was superimposed by a cross. The moon on the 12th of January is named the Wolf Moon—your beloved nickname—the name of Chris' blog post! In further validation, your Aunt had asked for a sign from you and Sarah, wanting to know that you are both OK in your new Home. A gardenia bush, planted outside of your Aunt’s condo that is not supposed to be in bloom this time of year, yet on January 12th, held two beautiful, big white blossoms. Thank you for your connections in spirit, showing up when the heart needs you most.
The lesson continues Matty, with Sara Ruble’s January blog, Death Teaches | The meaning of life and death . . . from a Mom’s perspective. Her words create an Aha moment, moving me several more steps forward.  We exchange emails, I type: “This morning I sat down at the keyboard and started typing to see if Matty might send a little clarity my way. I opened my email to fetch Notes that I had penned and sent to myself and instead of that email, I found yours. Synchronicity! When you said “”I did not always hear him and was on my own much of the time . . . “” I had just finished writing about how the loudness of the chatter of my mind was drowning out Matthew's whispers. Validation. I'm smiling and shaking my head in awe once again. How fortunate am I that we connected. That your words ALWAYS resonate. I'm feeling that Separation is one of the lessons I’ve not fully learned. . . Separation and Just Being. If I don't know myself, how can I expect to know Matty in spirit . . . my very huge griefhurt at the moment? I believe I'm being guided in a different direction than the first two years of this journey. I'm going to have to live with the no beginning and no certain end to the lessons grief hurls my way. They are going to come tumbling in . . . I am really gaining an awareness of this vacant feeling child loss has left in my heart and the aftereffects of its discovery."  

I feel a current, the energy of Love from these women and from my on-line grief buddies.
What is the nature of grief pain? It is acceptance of its permanent residency of the heart. No longer a squatter, nor the sole inhabitant. One of the many that must learn to live in harmony as the heart makes space for all its emotional denizens. It is not good, not bad—it just IS. It morphs from foe, to ally, to teacher as our relationship garners greater understanding. It breathes. I find a way to match its breath, in sync—working together with no resistance, patiently waiting while grief pain relaxes its tight grip on the heart muscle—softening, lessening. I trust. It feels at home.
There is no vacancy in my heart after all. My tears this Holiday Season and their rippling into the month of January have cast a mist; covering my heart, obscuring my view of what resides in this  beating organ. The warmth from my tears settled in the cooling of my heart. A coolness that resulted from a distortion in time; in living in two worlds—the Before you, the After you, Matty. I’d been cradling the Before and my inability to find you in the After brought me to the wall. I desperately wanted the Before & After to be the same experience, but how can they be?
My Mother’s heart cries out “Matthew where are you? What and where is this veil you live beyond? Why does it make me sometimes happy, sometimes sad? Where are you going? How will I meet you again? I see my new starting point, The Wall. I will climb it. All those extended hands—trust speaking to me in a language I understand. When blind belief and faith force me to pause; my soul stirs and I am sent a vision of Hands, of Hope of Trust. When all the other feelings could no longer be sensed, Grief the mighty Sentinel was holding the door to my heart open. She teaches me about strength and courage, perseverance and tenacity along the way. She holds my Hope in her hands knowing it will be the first thing I see when I peer through the open door to my heart. Hope refurbishes my will. It rejuvenates my heart. It cleanses the lens of my eyes. It carries my breath. It cherishes my life. It safeguards my joy. It dissolves my fear. Its alchemy changes my anxiety to courage, my self-doubt to trust. It is self-love—Love of family and friends. Love from the heart connections that are waving to me from above the wall and those from behind. Beautiful hands extended . . . if I ask for help, If only I ask.
I hear your voice— “you must walk through your darkness before you can be guided by the Light”.
A prayer Matthew:
May signs from you, my beloved, comfort me.
May the synchronicities planned from beyond the veil awaken my soul.
May the trust I am opening up to transform my grief.
Come back to me Matthew, in Spirit—my Love for you lives on.
Forever and always. I am adding a new sign off, J Rose’s words. Your six year old niece is a wise one at such a tender age . . . I Heart Love you,

Chris introduces herself . . . Like many parents, my life was fulfilled with my children’s births. My life was completely altered and I entered the unknown with the death of my youngest son Zac. And it was recreated with the lessons learned as the result of a newly developed continuing relationship with him. Having and following an interest in spirituality prior to my children’s births and their early years provided a foundation of knowledge but the grief journey provided the wisdom to rebuild and recreate a new life. Receiving guidance, support and love in an unfamiliar yet truth-filled way helped create a new trust in life, living, myself and love.
Chris continues a relationship in spirit with her son Zac and Guides Maxx. You can read all about their philosophy and journey in her blog and newsletter Living Differently, accessible via her website Peace After Grief and learn how you can journey through grief to peace within and without.
Sara Ruble’s life was forever changed in 1994 with the sudden death of Scott, her beloved only child. Scott died in his sleep due to issues created by strep throat, seizure disorder, dehydration, and elevation while working in a Colorado national park for the summer. Sara’s complex grief journey and her continuing relationship with Scott created a deep need to help other parents. Three years after Scott’s death Sara created a support group for bereaved parents at a local grief center in Stow, Ohio and was the facilitator for many years.  
In 2001 she founded the Christmas Box Angel of Hope Children’s Memorial in Stow and continues to lead that heartfelt foundation Presenting at In Loving Memory Conferences (for now childless parents), Bereaved Parents of the USA National Gatherings, the Compassionate Friends National Conferences, Restoring a Mother’s Heart Retreat, and more has allowed Sara to know this journey has great meaning and pushes us to see more than we ever could have known before.  She is co-author of Surviving and Thriving: Grief Relief and Continuing Relationships and a contributor to Grief Diaries: Loss of a Child, and Grief Diaries: Hello From Heaven…Fascinating true stories about after death communication and the power of love.
Sara’s blog is titled Death Teaches at, where she openly shares her spiritual relationship with Scott and channels his profound words for growth and clarity of the soul journeys we all experiences while on earth. 


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