My sister left Playa yesterday after ten days with us. Our time together was bittersweet, filled with amazing experiences, laughter and heartfelt conversations, underscored by grief. At times I felt full of love, hope and connection, and at others I felt as though I were swimming in deep, uncharted waters without a life jacket. I can only imagine how she felt.
Grief has the power to change us for better or worse. I feel comfortable writing this because I have just been in the company of someone who paid the biggest price in life – losing her only child – and yet, she continues to grow and change in positive ways. Sure, she is angry at times (who wouldn’t be?) and has moments of hopelessness (naturally) but these moments are the exceptions to the norm when it comes to my sister, who continues to love fiercely, pray earnestly and make the choice every-other-second to not be destroyed by the harsh hand life has recently dealt her.
I found it impossible not to put myself in her position and wonder how I would cope with such tragic loss.
I think I would be far less kind and exercise much less patience with the petty complaints of others, that nothing would seem worth listening to or looking at and I would be inclined to crawl into a dark hole of my own self pity.
Which is why spending this time with my sister, both in Las Vegas and here in Playa has been full of lessons for me. She has not only taught me about grief, but about life; the two sides of this coin called existence. I’ve become aware that whilst death is not something we like to talk about very much, none of us are getting out unscathed by it.
None of us.
We either avoid losing those around us by dying young or we live long lives and experience the loss of our loved ones. Either way can appear a blessing or a curse, depending on how we look at it. I’d like a long one, please. Whilst I realise it’s not up to me how many more days I am given here on earth, I also feel like I’ve got so much more to do, so if I am granted time, I’ll need to welcome loss as a necessary part of the deal.
This is still a scary thought to me, but as someone who wants to fully embrace life as the spiritual experience I believe it is, I am working towards complete acceptance of it all, not just the stuff I perceive to be ‘good.’ My life has already been a testament to the healing power of pain and whilst I in no way want to dwell in that camp, I don’t want to ignore or gloss over it either.
It’s so easy to distract ourselves with money, clothes, appearances or ambition, but that’s not my idea of living anymore. It may be for others, which is fine, but not for me. I’ve started on this new path and there’s no going back now, even though at times the way forward appears unclear. I want to continue to learn and grow, which means embracing everything the universe sends my way. I have a feeling it also means surrendering my perceived control over my existence, driven by ego and fear… but that might take me a whole other lifetime to relinquish!
Until then, I’ll continue my journey in this bittersweet symphony of life, grateful for the note I get to play and for the time I get to play it, knowing that my own unique key is contributing something vital to the perfection of our collective sound.
Artwork: ‘Symphony’ by Tyrhone.