... a voice for those who mourn the loss of a soul mate
"He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began." - Leo Tolstoy

Monday, March 28, 2016

Remembered Joys

Think about this. The greater the joy you had in a relationship, the more you will grieve its loss. Is it any wonder you grieve? Just for today, just for this moment, can you remember those joys and let the memory of happy, loving times ease your pain?



Sunday, March 20, 2016

Signs or Coincidence?

I see signs.  I have learned to watch for them for what they are – communication from my loved ones who have transitioned.  I believe they reach out to us in ways they think we will see and I am sure each of us is receptive to different signs.

Just before she left us, my soul sister Anita came to me in a very vivid dream to say goodbye and let me know that she was going someplace she wanted to be. That visit gave me great peace as she left this plane of existence.

In the two months leading up to my sweet cat Beau’s transition, my spirit guides began sending me feathers. Just one at a time and often in the unlikeliest of places but once I got the message that he was well and happy where he is, the number dwindled. I still find those feathers every now and then, but the number picked up noticeably when Anita moved on. I have no doubt that they were signs from her.

And then there were the elephants. For years, she collected them with their trunks raised for good fortune. Most were gifts from me. I could never resist buying one if it was unique but I had not seen more than one or two in quite some time. And believe me, I was always on the lookout for them. The week after Anita passed, I found herds of them in a local home d├ęcor store. Everywhere I looked, I saw elephants, all with their trunks raised to the heavens. What a mass of good fortune they were! Again, I believe it was Anita’s way of telling me that she had finally found the good fortune she sought for so long.

And yesterday we celebrated her life. The day before, I found two bright pennies on the ground. I think it was her way of sending her approval of our plans.

Now I know some will call this all a coincidence, that I was attuned to seeing what I wanted to see. But I still keep finding feathers where they do not belong. And I still see far more elephants than is normal.

Our mutual friend, Elaine, is one of those naysayers. I can respect her position. She is, after all, a doctor and so expects scientific proof for much that I believe on faith. But I see the signs Anita has sent her. A “coincidental” visit to the Arizona Science Museum where she just happened to take the time to watch a video about the same brain aneurysm that took our Anita from us. And it was recorded by the surgeon who had performed one of Anita’s surgeries. Coincidence? Maybe. But I think it could have been a sign sent in a form that she, as a doctor, would most easily relate to. In preparing for the Celebration of Life, she went shopping for something new and special to wear.  What did she find? A lovely top in especially flattering colors, although colors she does not normally wear. And on the front, a fascinating jungle image featuring a prominent elephant with its trunk raised triumphantly to the heavens. Coincidence? Welllllll, maybe. But then again, maybe not.

I think Anita has been sending us both signs in the weeks since she passed. They come in ways we will see through our individual filters and maybe, just maybe accept. Mine come in the form of material surprises she knows I will recognize. Elaine’s are a bit more overt and target her need for very clear statements. All I know for sure is that she is speaking to me and the message I am getting is that she is still with us just in a slightly different place. I can no longer pick up the telephone and call her as I could the last years when she was in Oregon and I in Arizona.  But I think she is still very much present in my life. I just need to look and to listen more closely. The signs are there.

At yesterday’s Celebration of Anita’s Life, Elaine read a poem entitled Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye. It is often read at funerals and Celebrations of Life. We found it among Anita’s things as we were searching for photos to create a DVD and things we could include for the event. That she would have saved it is not particularly surprising.  What was surprising, was that at the bottom, she had written

Dear Family & Friends,
Yes, I am here . . . I am always here.
Anita

Coincidence? Maybe. But then again, maybe not.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Life is forever changed since we lost our soul mate

It doesn't mean we are always sad and morose but life is forever different because we are different.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

No More Days

As I prepare a Celebration of Life for my beloved soul sister Anita, I think of all the moments we took for granted, especially those in the days we did not realize would be her last. She had been living far away from those of us who loved her for many years but she always tried to be with us for Christmas.  Last year, she came to Arizona for a brief time in October to celebrate our birthdays – my 70th and the kickoff to Elaine’s 60th as well as her own 70th.

The highlight of that trip was an evening out at Circus Vargas, Elaine, Anita and me, something we planned together. Like a trio of children, we thrilled to the joy of the circus. Acrobats, clowns, lights, music, glitz and magic! And it was a magical evening, one to be remembered always. But we were casual about the memories, confident there would be many more such times and so thought nothing of postponing other outings until we could come together again at Christmas.

We waited because we knew there would be more days to do all the things we loved. There were always more days.

And sure enough, Christmas did roll around. Sooner than we, in all our busyness, expected. But Christmas is such a full season and we knew we had plenty of time.  Anita came and spent her first two weeks with family as it should be. The next two she spent with Elaine, something that had been put off for years until Elaine finally had her own home again.  Again, as it should be.

Once the holidays were behind us, we piled in the car together and made a day trip south to the resort town of Tubac, just three dear girlfriends on an exciting day trip to shop, laugh and love one another. We were creating memories that day. Margaritas and Mexican food under an umbrella. Shopping like we would never see Mexican pottery again. And talking, talking, talking for hours. How were we to know it would be our last trip, our last chance to create such precious memories?

Looking forward to shopping and dinners and movies together, Anita and I saved our time for the end of her visit. After all, there would be plenty of days to do all the things we loved. There were always more days. But this time there were no more.

Instead, there was a hospital. Surgery. Medical ups and downs. And then more downs than ups. And finally, Hospice. The weeks we had planned to play were spent in the very serious business of saying a final goodbye and dying. Suddenly, there were no more days. Things left undone would never come to be.  We would create no more happy memories. Time ran out and she was gone.

In losing her, I have learned to make time now for creating memories with those I love. We can plan but there are no guarantees. Tomorrow may not come. Fate does not see our busy calendar. It only knows now.  And so today I will love as if there is no tomorrow. Today, I will store every sight and sound and taste and sensation in the vault of memory for the time that eventually comes for us all when there are no more days. 


Friday, March 11, 2016

Our soul mates show us love in the best way they know how

I know some of the first questions I asked after John passed were
"Where is he?'
"How is he?"
"Does he still love me?"
Our fear of losing our loved one for always is real. And our soul mates know that. They try to communicate to us that not only are they right here and all right but they still and do love us.
But they can no longer communicate with us as they did before so they do what they can - they communicate through energy and through thought, which is also energy.
So, it is our job to learn to see these signs and communications.
No, they are not your imagination. They are real.
We have taught ourselves how to do this and now we want to teach you.
Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Unconditional Love

I got into a habit of dreading going home after Jerry's passing. I would find endless errands or make "on a mission" trips to the mall after work. Anything to pass the "just one for dinner?" hour.  But the pull that always made me eventually head for home was the knowledge that I had two bundles of unconditional love waiting for me. My sheltie, Lucy, and my papillon, Gypsy, would greet me with dances of delight and cover my face with kisses. They would nestle in my lap, cock their ears and listen intently to my concerns. If I grew too agitated, they would retreat to their respective favorite locations and keep their eyes on me. I knew they were grieving our loss–they always looked past me when I entered to see if Jerry had arrived also. But they were willing to concede that physically I was enough.

Thank God for those furkids' unconditional love that carried me over so many bumpy days.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Nourishment

I have heard, more than once, that when someone dies, I should take food to the grieving family.  I suspect it is a more widespread custom than just in the south, which is where I learned it.  I can understand the instinct that makes us want to nourish those who are grieving.  We don’t always know what else we can do. It is a small thing we can offer in the immediate moment to give some measure of comfort.  But when the survivor is a single person left behind, how can they possibly eat all that food - alone? And do they really want to sit there all alone trying to force it down when every bite is flavored by tears?


Perhaps the best gift we can give is ourselves and if nutritious food comes with that gift, so much the better. Rather than deliver a casserole to be eaten in solitude, would it not be better to join your grieving friend for that meal?  Invite them to your home. Take them out to eat.  Or, if they simply cannot find the motivation to dress and leave home, take the food to them but stay and eat with them, even if it means they are eating in their pajamas because they could not find the energy for anything more.  You cannot take the place of the person who is gone but you can be a loving, caring face across the table. You can offer conversation and companionship with each bite. Maybe the dinner will pass with a little less pain. Maybe you will help nourish more than an empty belly.  And maybe, just maybe, you will help nourish an empty heart. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Is it a gift or a curse?

For most of my adult life I have been a psychiatric nurse. So, perhaps more than most, I dwell on feelings.
A lot.
And I have learned that how we perceive something is sometimes more important than how it really is.
The old "perception is reality" theory.
So how does this relate to mourning?
Well, let me ask this - how do YOU relate to mourning?
Do you see it as a burden or something that has been done to you?
Or are you able to turn it on its head and see a hidden gift inside the sorrow?
It's not easy. In fact, it takes lots of concerted effort to be able to rise above the weight of grief.
And it is not something that can be done in the first raw experience of grief either. I know I am farther down this road than you might be right now.
So don't expect this to happen overnight and please, do not put one more expectation on yourself.
But, in the quiet moments, just for a second or two, consider that someday all this work you are doing now - all the day to day movement forward as you learn to navigate life now without your soul mate at your side - will bring forth a new you who will be able to say with confidence "If not for this sadness and grief, I would not be who I am today and I am proud of myself."
That, my friend, is a gift.
For me, I know I am more spiritual now.
I am more confident.
I am braver.
I am less afraid to show my emotions.
I care less about the little things.
These are but a few gifts that I can name that I have now to a degree that I didn't have before John passed.
This will happen to you, too.
And we will walk with you as you gain them.
Namaste.
© Cathy Marley 2016

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Visit our website http://www.fromgrieftopeace.org/



From Grief to Peace (FGTP) gives a voice to those who mourn the loss of a soul mate, empowering them and assisting them in their journey. This is a community where those who have lost their soul mate will find a holistic approach to healing and tools for persevering physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually. By sharing our experiences with loss and healing, we want to help others transition from grief to peace in their own way and in their own time.  

As we continue to expand From Grief to Peace, we would like to invite you to visit our web site http://www.fromgrieftopeace.org/ 

We would appreciate any feedback you wish to offer. Please bookmark our site and take advantage of the Resources available to you. We will be adding content over the next few months with information on our webinars and books.

Don't be afraid to make a change in your routine.

I'm not sure what I should choose to worry about today. Is an earthquake imminent in CA because of the reports of excess carbon monoxide readings? Was the scientific measuring equipment really faulty? Or is that report a subterfuge one political party is foisting onto the other? 

For years, my husband and I were news junkies, always striving to stay up to date on every newsworthy story, often following developing news stories as though we had a personal investment in the outcome. We ate breakfast with Good Morning America and if we were home for dinner we prepared our meals while watching the evening news and then we went to bed with the nightly news. After Jerry passed, I realized watching the news alone made me feel kind of like "too much coffee" anxious. It was hard to deal with the constant negativity, murders, reports of road rage, corruption in government, and the war fatalities. 

I decided to take a time-out from all that angst so I gave myself permission to not pay attention. And basically, nothing bad happened from my news avoidance. Instead of watching up to the minute reporting, reading daily newspapers, weekly news magazines, and loading up my DVR with sensationalized news programs that I dreaded but felt obligated to watch, I record one news program a week, CBS Sunday Morning. I find my friends and family keep me up to date on what's really relevant. It's much nicer to get their news over lunch or via a Facebook message, Twitter or Instagram.