Making sense when there is none

Last week a colleague of mine was brutally murdered. I received the news in a group email- understanding exactly why and proceeded to want to reach out. Instead someone reached out to me and I was given the opportunity of service in this tragic situation. My act of service is still reverberating within me.

Days later, I'm still ruminating over what happened. I'm okay with the fact that none of us are permanent fixtures on this planet. My dis-ease probably has more to do with the why's and how's of when my time will effectively be over. But in the meantime I am still trying to make sense of this awful thing that happened to a vital, dynamic, loving, and well-loved person. Someone, who like me, had decided to heed the call to service.

I discussed these happenings with a person I respect who suggested I do things that are pretty external to the matter. She suggested that I stop wearing my earrings. That I should not adorn myself, I guess, to attract undue attention. I briefly thought about putting my crystal necklace away and my bracelets in the jewelry box and knew intuitively that doing that won't lessen the chances of being attacked. Yes, I think the underlying message was to be careful. I heard that loud and clear. But I don't think that is the way to care for myself.

I don't think the problem is about working with mentally ill people- that is something I've read about in the newspaper. Violence has always been around and it's not going anywhere. An acquaintance of mine, who is an actor, was recently assaulted pretty badly on the train. He now feels terribly unsafe as millions of us do- probably to a greater extent. Random violence is possible. Targeted violence is also possible. Neither he or more friend did anything to warrant what happened to them.

I've worked in mental health crisis situations for years. I don't talk about them much but accept what I've experienced more as 'part of the work that I do.' Again, it's the service my Higher Power has asked me to do.
I can think of a million ways that I will cross. Instead, I will try to be careful each day I put my feet on the floor as I get out of bed. When I was growing up my Mom always said, "I love you, be careful," as we separated for the day. I still say that to my spouse except that I add, "and carefree." It's important to enjoy each day of life. I have no regrets, there may be some things I'm working through but nothing love and prayer can't fix.

So, my prayers go out for my colleague, Ana Charle, and her daughters, her father, her brother, her friends and family and all of those whose lives were lit with love because she saw the possibilities of health, growth, and potential for change in each one. This is something I must continue to do for that is my calling. And I will. Just as she did.

-Kadeeshday. May you walk in beauty.

The Grief Train

The monstrous carriage rolls into the station. Its metal wheels screech to a halt. The doors open and the conductor yells out, “All aboard!” I stand at the edge of the platform, take a deep breath and just as I’m about to enter, I stall. Not again.

One thing about grief is that it just doesn’t do its thing alone. It dredges up every last death I’ve mourned. It surprises me in its depth. It shakes every bit of intellect I have and throws me into the dark waters of emotion.

Our dear friend crossed over to the spiritual world a few days ago. Because she wasn’t my sister or my mother, this time, I don’t have to tend to the particulars. Because she wasn’t my coworker, who died suddenly at the age of forty four, I don’t have to hold a support group for fifty clients whose mouths were gaping at the wrenching news that had come ten minutes before I was informed I’d be supporting them in their grief.  This time I’m not ten and I don’t have certain responsibilities, like sitting quietly as I make sure that all of my family members are all right- pretending that I don’t mind that no one is asking me how I feel.

This time around, the train is here at the station, but it’s different. I have a spiritual family who is hugging me and I am hugging them. I am at the disposal of her children, who are all warriors in their own rights. I get to remember how she nicknamed our dog and how she was persistent and got the landlord to change that stupid countertop she hated. I get to remember how she calmed me down and told me not to worry because I hadn’t done something perfectly. I get to remember how she tended to me as I was initiated into my bountiful spiritual practice. I will remember how she wasn’t afraid to tell the truth, that she complained when she wasn’t happy about something and that she started exercising in her sixties-telling me we can always change and be open to new things.

This time I don’t think I’m going to get on that grief train. I am going to do my best to keep her love for life within me. I will miss her but she will always be with me. Sometimes the tritest sayings are actually the most healing. Today, I will easy does it. This is the day my HP has made- I will rejoice and be glad in it.