How Forgiveness, Death & Dying Taught Me to Love Infinitely Bigger

Recommended Reading Soundtrack:  Dark Matter by Andrew Belle on Black Bear

Is it really 2016 already? Clearly I’ve been out of the loop with my writing and once you pass a certain timeline it’s like you’re Jerry Seinfeld in that episode where he can’t remember the name of the girl he’s dating but it’s too late to ask her. What did it rhyme with again? Awkward!

In the spirit of the New Year, I thought I’d come clean on my online absence and connect with y’all on what’s been clouding my own purposeful perception. Last year I was gifted with an abundance of dreamy opportunities to reevaluate how I authentically support my passions. In a way it was one of the most illuminating years I’ve ever experienced in finding my voice. And, it’s not that my voice was lost. It was simply ready for a bit of refining around the truth behind my art.

Sometimes our minds have so much noise in them it’s like we have a microphone loudly spewing static in our heads. And suddenly, REM’s Michael Stipe has taken over everyone’s voice box shouting “What’s the frequency, Kenneth!” over and over again until you just can’t stand it anymore. Our mental static acts as a truth deterrent.

buddha-grief-quoteLife, Cancer & Death

It’s those deep troughs in life that make us stop and question our choices and how they support what we say we want in life. At the beginning of last summer it was shared with me that my ex-husband was delivered a grim diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer that had spread into other vital organs.

Only a few months later I learned that his cancer progressed and he suddenly passed away, leaving behind his young daughter and many shocked, devastated friends. When we divorced there was a lot of anger that fueled a regretful and sorrowful separation from his daughter. It was never addressed between us again.

And now, it never will be.

Spark_of_Light_by_Swift218“Unforgiveable”

Sadly, my heart had harbored a spark of hope that one day it would resurface in the form of forgiveness. Instead I found myself reliving my divorce with the added bonus of painful, lingering memories. I grieved alone the death of someone that I loved, despite all the crap that we slung at one another. I went to the dark side and found myself scanning through old emails only to find the last words he ever said to me, “What you did to me and my daughter is unforgivable.”

What we choose to say to others, even in our lowest points, has consequences. In reading these words I felt a profound sadness different from the past. I felt distraught that even in facing death we can allow our stubbornness and the need to make someone wrong get in the way of forgiveness. Our mortality is irreversible.

It is easy for us to take for granted the miracles that abound from every little connection we make in life. The support of our relationships can collapse around us at any moment with life’s endings. Every word we share with another is an opportunity to be kind and practice love. We can choose to live life as a prayer of self-forgiveness that heals our hearts and frees others from the chains of past judgments. The challenge arose for me in forgiving myself without any possibility of forgiveness from the other party, a one sided conversation.

loneliness_4-wallpaper-1024x768

So I went on a little journey and after weeks of carrying around the emotional weight of his death, our past, and the inability to tell his daughter that I loved her, that I was sorry- I reached a general consensus with all the voices I’ve invented in my head. It yielded a new commitment to never compromise my truth again. Life is a collage of precious moments worth much more than the value our ego places on it. This includes what we tolerate from others.

My self-declaration forced some positive, life altering changes.

Six months later, I am now ready to get back in the twinkle light parade. What does that mean, exactly?

Welcome back, my dear friend. Welcome back the sun.

Village_Sun
Julianne Kuko, 9, holds a drawing of the sun as she and her classmates perform a song to welcome the first sunrise in 58 days. Rebecca Hersher/NPR

I heard a touching story the other day on NPR about a tiny town in Greenland called Ittoqqortoormiit that has been without sunlight for 58 days. The town’s seasonal cycle of darkness recently ended and as the sun rose for the first time since November children gathered in a circle on top of a hill with colorful cutouts of the sun.

Together they sang their traditional song, “Welcome back, my dear friend. Welcome back the sun.” Hearing the song reminded me of how I feel coming out of the wormhole that was my last 6 months. Every now and then we are gifted with a glimpse into the magnificence that we are through the abundance of love and lack thereof bustling around us. It’s what we do with this personal glimpse of light rising out of our darkness that matters.

Today, and forever- Let’s Rock Big Love! Jess

One thought on “How Forgiveness, Death & Dying Taught Me to Love Infinitely Bigger

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