I dreamt about them again last night.
…my two cats running around in a house I’ve never seen – with more stories than I can count. Me, tracing their steps, worried they are in danger, up and up the stairs we go. Finding them and then losing them again…
I wake up in tears.
Disoriented, feeling somehow between worlds, I walk out to my front yard to find a circle of stones. Each one placed on purpose, with a prayer.
This is the place where nearly 2 years ago, I laid both of their still-warm bodies into the Earth.
It was here, where the crunching sound of the shovel breaking up the dirt pounded over and over again. Right here, where, on my knees, hands covered in soil, I cried out from such a raw place inside – the sound of my own voice actually frightened me.
It is here, their bones rest.
On this morning, so many seasons later, I sit, misty, and wonder.
I wonder, as I’ve wondered a hundred times since they left, where are you? are you okay there? are you “you” at all?
And I wish, as I’ve wished a thousand times before, that I could let them know how I promise to never forget the years we spent loving each other so & how I miss them every single day.
In the quiet light of the morning, I imagine I can send two bright beams of love into the great mystery. I imagine, I hope, that wherever they are, whatever form they are in, they feel it.
I wander back into the house, climb up the stairs, and crawl into bed where my beloved is still sleeping. Curling into his warmth, I remember the finite nature of the time we have together.
On this morning, with echos of grief in my heart, I take not one single breath for granted.
I haven’t written about the death of my cats, Ramona & Otis, since it happened. And that is big because the primary way I make sense of my inner life is through writing.
But this one hurt so much. And so, I’ve held in this grief, and my announcement of my cats passing because it felt too tender to touch. I’ve been scared to face it, to firm the reality of their deaths with the written word.
They passed so quickly, it seemed, too young, and back to back within 6 week of one another.
Call me a crazy cat lady, but for the first year my little companions were gone, I ached constantly & thought for a while the loss may have broken me in some irreparable way.
Maybe you know what a mean?
Maybe you too have lost dear ones from this world?
Maybe you have been brought to your knees by a ‘goodbye’?
Death comes into our lives in so many forms.
It’s mind-blowing to think:
Before we die, we will bear witness to the deaths of many of the people we love best.
We will lose our fury companions and our youthful skin.
We will say goodbye to friends & phases, and lay long-held dreams to rest.
Many of us will experience the death of a long-term relationship or marriage.
We will see the ends of things that we have created & invested our hearts into.
In talking to dear friends who have suffered unimaginable loss, it is clear grief seems to be the underside of the love experience in life. Maybe the more fully we love that precious thing, the deeper the grief will run when, inevitably, we must let it go.
Each Moon Cycle, as we explore our themes together, I do my very best to dive as deeply into the explorations as possible. This “In My Bones” Cycle, I’ve asked sincerely for my bones to speak, and sincerely, I have listened.
Blame it on Winter, blame it on the mystery of dreams, my untended mourning, and certainly – my bones, but this cycle I have become hyper-aware of the fact that all things will eventually perish, and one day, not so very far from now, I will have to say goodbye to this beautiful world and all the beings in it.
Western culture is notorious for being death-phobic & youth obsessed. We shy away from talking about endings, we try to cover up signs of age, and sometimes go to great lengths to outrun goodbyes. We try and hide our grief, so as not to burden anyone, so as not to reveal our shattered selves.
And yet, death is knocking at our door – constantly.
Alongside our personal losses and endings, there are collective deaths happening here and now. Whether we are talking about it or not, really facing it or not, we are all experiencing profound loss – endings of epic proportions.
Day by day, we bear witness to the growing ecological crisis – which wipes out whole species of plants and animals. We have the ability to witness, from the comfort of our homes, the brutal deaths of beautiful strangers. Year by year, we lose more and more of our rights as citizens. And on and on…
The way we live our lives, the way we inhabit our world, is changing at a rapid pace. The ground is moving under our feet, and it feels difficult to keep up.
It’s a lot to process, to bear, to hold.
I bring this topic to your doorstep today because this cycle is teaching me about the importance of befriending that very last leg of life: death.
In my bones I know it is time to turn towards deaths, big and small, personal and transpersonal, and feel them fully. And to do that out loud, like I am here with you today. And to welcome others to do the same. There are so many tools that can help: grief rituals, meditation, creative expression, therapy, sacred spaces of all sort, the container of spiritual friendship, plant medicine, and on and on. We must unlearn the tendency to run & learn how to be with grief.
There is no hiding from what is happening, we can’t outrun this & I really don’t think we should.
Even as the carnage of the world we once knew lay baking in the Sun, it is clear a new day is dawning, which holds so much promise.
But please beware, my optimistic family of light-workers, beware of the very human tendency to take shortcuts. Here on the Earth plane, there is no skipping steps. We cannot hop over the grief of death, unscathed, and enter a Utopian reality with a snap of the fingers, or with magical thinking alone.
We will not be able to create the world of our dreams until we find a way to feel, honor, and process these deaths.
I know we can do it & I am in.
I am filled with faith in the resilient nature of the heart, and our abundant creative capacities. I know we have everything we need to heal ourselves and the world. Right now, living all over the world, there are brilliant, loving people with diverse skill sets rolling their sleeves up & ready to do what is best for the greater good.
My bones tell me: in order to know the next right steps, we must journey through the initiation of death. Together.
Thank you for turning your precious attention to my words here today and for witnessing my grief and my hopes. In the simple act of reading, you have offered me a real healing. I feel it now, so clearly in my heart. Thank you, thank you.
On these, the final days of the Cycle,
as the Moon Wanes into darkness,
I raise my glass,
Look into your eyes,
and say, “To death!”
To Death, dear ones, To Death.
Is there any death, personal or transpersonal, you are sitting with at this time? What tools do you use or actions do you take to process grief, loss & endings? Please share in the comments below – let’s learn from one another.