Swimming in Grief and Finding the Shore Again

Swimming in Grief and Finding the Shore Again March 20, 2019

It’s springtime in the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, as I write this, it is the Spring Equinox. The end of Demeter’s grief. Persephone remembers and returns!

It rained all morning and the leak in our skylight opened up again, leaving a large pool of water on the kitchen floor.

The skies cleared in the afternoon, revealing green amongst the puddles and the possibility of rainbows.

I had just gotten good news, really good news. But there was something about the light or the time of year or the way April creeps up and then speeds into view.

License: CC0 Public Domain

The Body Remembers

It’s a funny thing the way memories startle the fear response in me. Out of nowhere, someone will say something or share something and the memory of that day nearly two years ago turns on.

I think it had been raining that morning too. It was cloudy. It seemed like any other day, until it wasn’t.

The story of my mother’s accident is not one I tell publicly yet. It is horrible and I don’t know all of the details, and every question I’m asked feels like some sort of test. Did I love her enough? Did I grieve the right way? Am I or was I a good daughter?

As a priestess, these places of startle are places of connection. I know a road that some do not. I can relate and feel and tap into the grief of losing someone you love, the grief of almost losing someone, the grief of watching someone lose themselves.

I know the pain I don’t want anyone else to feel. I also know how to be with that pain without expecting it to go away.

I know about resourcing and holding myself.

I felt the grief pains when I was teaching the other weekend. I felt them rise behind my chest and across my back. And while the hypochondriac in me was ready to call 911, I also remember that this pain feels like.


Sinking into the Depths

I followed my breath to the places of pain. I made up a bath of salt and a special mix of ingredients that a teacher made. I filled the bath with lukewarm water, lit a candle from another special ritual, and sunk into the water.

I breathed into the places of pain. The water was just as warm as my body so there was no feeling of separateness.

I was just there, still, breathing.

The pain traveled across my ribs and down my arm. I asked it what its name was and it was silent. It was lighter, but insistent.

I waited.

It told me to love it and to be patient with it. It told me to sink below the depths and wade out to it from time to time.

I thanked the pain, felt it release and watched the water as it drained from the tub.

I went to bed with deep dreams.

The Magick of Loss

I know that grief has made me a better priestess. I know that being a Witch has helped me get through the grief. I know that the changing of seasons is the reminder that everything shifts and dies and things will continue to bloom and thrive. Resilience.

I know that loss has made the story of Demeter all the more palpable and recognizable. I can also picture the story shifting, slightly, into a story of a mother who is taken away and wanders the lands to touch her daughter just one more time.

No attribution required

I know the magick of longing and living anyways.

I understand the depth of grief and still laughing.

I also know what it means to lose something forever — and yet still smell their perfume in a hallway.

My grief wanders the halls of my home and my heart.

And when I breathe, I can follow it to the deep spaces of wisdom.

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