Loss and letting go

Loss is never easy. Letting go can be difficult too. I lost a wonderful friend and teacher last week when after a long illness she passed away peacefully.

I am grateful to have had this friend in my life for the last seven years or so, I can’t count the blessings that have followed me since I first met her, the amazing friendships that have resulted from knowing her, the tears and laughter that have flowed.

Stream flowing
Flowing over pebbles

I have difficulty letting go of things. I still wear clothing that is older than some of my grown up nephews and nieces so letting go is something that I’m learning to work on.

Letting go of people is even harder. I believe that when we hold on we restrain the spirit from continuing on it’s journey, whatever that journey may be. It’s not our business to hold on, it is our business to let go. I know I’m lucky that this death was not unexpected so I didn’t have the violence of surprise to deal with, also that this is not the first death of someone close to me. However I’m not sure that death is something you become used to, even after many losses, I’m not sure it’s something you become good at accepting. I do know that support is a great help, that it’s wonderful to talk with people who loved the departed, to tell stories, to weep together, to say how you feel right now, to ask friends to light candles. It’s not a time to pretend to be all grown up, death can make children of us all.

On the evening of her funeral I took a walk up the hill behind us, through the forest, as the light was fading. The wind was blowing hard to the north, clouds were flying on the wind as were my thoughts and tears. In the pocket of my old rain coat my fingers found a beach pebble, I often find pebbles in coat or jacket pockets, usually placed there shortly after getting the clothing so this pebble was probably in my pocket for some fifteen years or more. I played with it as I walked, enjoying the texture, it helped me to feel present.

I sang a song that was special to us and wondered how to let her go, I didn’t want to, I wanted to hold on to her selfishly, to bind her to me however I knew that I couldn’t. I knew that I had too much respect for her and had learnt too much from her to hold on so I waited for the panic to subside, then I let go of the pebble.

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  1. Really really beautifully written and we can all benefit from letting go in our own way as hard as it can be to do so. I have pebbles all over my life, some put there by a small child, others that I played with while sitting on the beach and couldn’t let go of.Some will become part of a pile of memory stones in my garden when im ready to let go.

  2. Lovely words I love stones and pebbles. I also collect the odd one when I go places and keep them in the garden. I am still struggling to let go. Moss my mum. Been nearly three years. Am going to visit Wales soon and after reading this I will take a stone from here and place with mum so a piece of here will be with her. X

    1. That’s a lovely idea Sue, to bring a stone with you. I remember visiting Wales with you however I never did meet your mum, I’m sorry to hear of her loss, guess it shows how out of touch we can become and it’s great to be back in touch again. I hope that you have a lovely visit to Wales xx

  3. Miriam, thank you so much for sharing your words and experience. I travelled with you up the hill as I read your descriptions! 🙂 … and was later particularly moved by your comment, ‘It’s not a time to pretend to be all grown up, death can make children of us all.’ I think so too, and in this child-like state lies the gift loss can bring – deep, raw and heart-ful tears that are so sincere in the moment… and gone in the next as the wind changes and the reality of a breaking, and very alive, heart notices a coincidental passing of a pheasant or squawking of a flock of geese 🙂

    I’ve been noticing the connection between birth and death these past days – the bare bones of which drop me right into the raw beauty of my heart connection and at their purest truth so real and equally full of awe.

    Love and gratitude for your blogging of a Wednesday eve in October, Leanne xxxxxx

    1. Thanks Leanne for coming over to have a read and such a lovely thoughtful comment. You so beautifully describe “the gift loss can bring”, I love that, you have a way with words that never fails to move me xxx

  4. Dear M., I read your post a few days ago, and really wanted to ponder on it and reply, but then lightning blew up my modem! Now I’ve got wifi back, but about to go on a overland trip to see my oldest women friends, and no time to write a more considered response,…my heart goes out to you…I’m not sure about the language of holding on or letting go…When the Great Love of my Life died, I went through the raw grief of every emotion…..then I spent a period of chosen time ‘holding on’ to memories in the front of my heart for a while…and writing and compiling a memory folder…and put it on the shelf…..maybe having attempted an ‘outside of me’ testament I could let go of having to recall every memory….and occaisionally it was added to….. one can create personal rituals in the elements, with water, fire, air and earth…writing on leaves to float downstream or put on the flames…singing the Farewell…seems most of life is about loving, and letting go. Big Hugs to you! Charlie xxxx

    1. Gosh Charlie, that seems quite a considered response, I love your ideas of the memory folder and can see how helpful that could be. I especially love the leaves in the stream notion and using the elements. I will always think of my friend when I see the moon, just as I always think of my Dad when I see Orion.

      I won’t be saying my friends name out loud for a year, as that is the way of her people. I have done this before for another dear departed friend, it made me so mindful of the one lost that I found it to be a really interesting practice.

      I’m so glad to hear of your journey to visit with your oldest women friends, it sounds as though it will be great fun and I’m sure there will be surprises and challenges as well. Let’s get together when you return and exchange stories, travel well and safely my friend xx

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