When my son passed away 2 years ago, I literally stopped dead in my tracks and fell to my knees. First to grieve. And inevitably also to reflect about what happened, the meaning of what happened, the meaning of my own life. I needed to decide if I wanted to carry on living. I wasn’t sure. I realized, sadly, that having two more children didn’t make much of a difference in lessening my pain and sorrow. They too were feeling the loss of their brother. And I desperately wanted to be with him. To be with him one more time. To hold him one more time.
His body was now sand. I don’t know where the energy to live came from. Or the energy to organize his funeral, or to deal with his ashes afterwards.
Never before I had become so aware of the breath that was entering my body, rhythmically, like a pulsating heart. Like mouth to mouth resuscitation. Apart, perhaps, from being born, this is was the most powerful event in my life. I was in a state of shock but also present enough to be open to feeling the loss. The breath that I felt so strongly in my body, the breath that refused to quit was inviting me to stay, to feel, to walk through the mess and to feel more deeply life in the flesh. So I made a deal with Life: I said: “I will keep on going for one more year and see what lies at the end of that journey”. I was daring Death. I was telling it: “You have to try harder to defeat me”. I was also standing for all the mothers who lost their child. And for everyone who lost someone or something.
I knew I had to remain lucid, sane and serene to actually know the touch of death. To know its shape. To own it. Because death only exists on this side, you know, the side of the living.
I’ve discovered that Death has a calming effect. Why? Because there is nothing more to fear and nothing more to hope. Nothing is too important anymore. Death gives us permission to slow down so that we can see again, differently, more completely and permission to live what hasn’t been lived yet. Death gives us time to learn to love and soothe ourselves. It gives us permission to take risks and be daring to finally be who we, deep in our hearts, long to be. Potentiality in the flesh. Our Self. And it brings us to the only point in life. This moment. Like a dot. And this is it.
A dot is also a starting point. And this is where I’m standing.
What I have discovered two years after my son’s death is that there is new hope when there is no more hope.
Life gets better when it doesn’t matter.
We are free to take more risks and transform our life into a unique work of art.
There is nothing to lose. What we fear to lose is already lost.
And the battle is already won.
The gift is in the small things.