Many sacred holidays are celebrated this week which mostly focus on the memory of our ancestors, and in particular those who have died in the last year. It is through their memory that we honor their effect on the world and on our own lives. When anyone who has touched our lives, even in the smallest of ways, passes on, something inside of us shifts.
The loss of their presence may trigger a variety of thoughts or feelings. We may feel sadness or anger that they were taken from us. We may contemplate our own mortality and think about what we want to do with our short lives – What have I been putting off? There is no right or wrong way to move through the experiences of grief & loss.
This time of year brings these aspects of our inner experience forward, as the images of the macabre are more visible and acceptable, even if just for a short time. What is this mystery called Death? It is important to acknowledge and examine our own response to loss, and not to push it away.
Over the years of working with people it has become quite apparent that many in our culture have a hard time with endings of all kinds. Some people don’t like to say goodbye, some disappear on the last day of school or work, while others may pretend like everything is as it always was and then quietly slip out the back door. But acknowledging the end of a cycle is just as important as the beginning. There is completion, graduation, resolution, and space for something new to emerge.
So let us honor and remember what was and what has passed; let us feel our emotions of grief & loss to allow the suffering to wash through us; and let us celebrate that which is still to come in the space that loss has opened up for us.