The Safeway Story: Be a Miracle

Do you believe in miracles & magic? Do you believe that without any doing of your own, an opportunity can be put in your path, a promotion can come your way unexpectedly, or a simple, kind gesture from a stranger can completely transform your day?

I believe in miracles, because I have seen they happen to me frequently throughout these last 5 years of loss & hardship.

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Lighting our candle for her best friend this year. She passed away unexpectedly at age 5, when my daughter was a precocious 3 & 1/2. Each year brings new waves of grief for us both in losing this beautiful child.

I was having a particularly rough day last week. Lots of emotions have been hitting on every front, one of which was the anniversary of my daughter’s best friend’s death. After several days of holding my 6-year-old while
she cried, seeing her understand death at a new level now, I was feeling emotionally exhausted. All the memories of the worst conversation of my life, telling her the news, hugging her best friend’s Mom at the service (meeting her for the first time at her daughter’s funeral), and years of her grievous outbursts of pain…all came flooding back.

I went to the grocery store with a tear-stained face, trying to hide my pain from the world. Continue reading

My Most Unusual Gift

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Sometimes I get scared to keep sharing my story, because there are people who see me continually speaking to death and pain, who perceive that to mean that I’m stuck in the grief, not moving on, not living joyfully, dwelling on the past. And it’s perceptions like that, that made me feel like a lecherous Grim Reaper Girl for years.

What these people don’t understand is that these 20+ tragic deaths & 4 years of inconceivable loss were my gift.

Continue reading

Half-Dead Or Alive

IMG_0003Tragedy can turn you into stone – it can make you fold up your wings and hide within their warm embrace.

It’s a choice, and one that requires more courage than can possibly be put into words, to unfold your wings again, when they’ve been clipped, wounded, torched and tormented, time after time.

It has been my life’s challenge to unfold.

A year ago, I was pregnant with my third child – a walking dead, half-alive corpse of myself. 4 years of tragedy, 20 deaths, and the loss of everything ten times over, had singed and scarred my wings so acutely, I simply wanted to crawl into a shallow grave and stay there where no one could see me.

I wasn’t even trying to avoid life, I had just kind of shut myself off without meaning to, like I’d gone into auto-pilot. I was looking around me at other people celebrating birthdays and vacations, just enjoying life, and thinking to myself, “Why don’t I want that?” Everything had become so hard, it just didn’t seem worth it to even try to create joy anymore. Continue reading

You Are Now Entering the “Spring” of Your Life

flower-rain-low-resThis morning, I was watering my rose bushes that have been a little neglected the last few weeks. They were starting to look a little brown and dingy, so I had to pay attention to them.

As I was hosing them down, I started aiming the spray at the dead leaves to help them fall off, and encourage growth and renewal.

As nature always speaks to me, I had a little ah-ha moment.

The rains and winds of our life are not to be cursed. 

Like a storm on a dying vine, they simply rid us of the parts of ourselves that are dead, unnecessary, broken, or browning.

Then, the parts of us that are alive and green can soak up more of the water to nourish and feed our souls, speeding our growth and renewal.

Nature does not curse the cycle of life playing out in the Arizona monsoons each summer. In fact, nature welcomes this renewal. Trees green more deeply into more poignant hues after a storm. Rainbows bow and arch over majestic landscapes in the slant of sun and storm. Thirsty flowers unfold and open in the light following a heavy rain, welcoming the energy of the light. 

If you have been through a difficult time in your life, and felt the pummeling of rain, wind, sand and sleet on your shoulders, wondering how you would make it through your own perfect storm, remember this:

The greenest parts of your soul have just been watered, and I promise you, now, you are entering the Spring of your life. All you have to do, is choose to open up, and unfold.*

A Different Kind of Near-Death Experience

He reminded me to use my voice…so I did, for him. ~ Christopher Lane’s Memorial Service 8/25/12 ~ Photo borrowed from Christopher’s Facebook page

I thought I was doing fine, since the Memorial. I doused that place in a good storm puddle of my own tears on Saturday, and I guess I thought that’d do me for awhile.

But, today, it came back. Listening to this haunting, powerful, poignant, bomb-hitting-your-house sort of poem of Christopher’s. I’ve never heard anything like it in my life. I hadn’t heard it before he died.  The first time I heard it was at the Memorial – so now, hearing his voice is like putting a stethoscope to a grave and catching the waves of a heartbeat.

His death has done so much to shake me up. I’m writing again…because he died. I’m unfolding my scared petals again…because he died. 

I often think, who am I to be so affected by his death? I can’t even begin to comprehend his family’s pain, his wife’s sickening grief.

And here I am, grief-stricken in my own way…but I’m figuring something out about myself.

I have chosen to put myself deep in the potholes on this road, right in the path of death’s river – because of something a bereaved parent, whose 15-year-old daughter passed away, said to me the other day.

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“It is not ours to understand the ebb and flow of life and death…impossible in a dualistic, egoic body. I know grief…losing a child is my awakening to the Unknown. I do know that there is something that is called ‘Mystery’ that knows the way to understanding if we are just willing to not tell a story of it being any different than what it is.”

She went on to say, “It is strange, but loss of this kind, if embraced, is truly the way of accessing something deep within us that would have never broken open.”

I could have distanced myself from many of these deaths. The night my Aunt died, I could have spared myself seeing her die. I could’ve stayed at home, not brought my Grandmother to say goodbye to her daughter, and just had a phone call to feel, rather than the aroma of death itself to haunt me. With many of the deaths since, I could’ve missed out on the last moments – I had all the best excuses in the world, but instead, I put myself right there, at death bed after death bed, for my own unique “near-death experiences.”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Near-Death Experiences, but in a different way than most. More and more people are coming forward, sharing the depths of wisdom to be seeped out of NDE’s.

I have been having my own NDE’s. Although I’ve never died and come back to tell the tale, I have been “near-death,” as in at its bedside, at its feet, in its hours and weeks and months preceding, in its final moments, in its post-mortem rituals, in its mortuaries, crematories, graveyards, obituaries and Memorials – too many times to count now.

I have meditated at the bedside of agony. I have whispered to the dying. I have sang a Hallelujah chorus’ into Heaven for a Christian. I have held Shiva for a Jew. I have felt the arm of my dying Grandmother on my shoulder from the other side. I have conversed with old friends in my wakeful dreams.

These “near-death experiences” have been my awakenings, as the death of her daughter was my friend’s awakening. They have thinned the veil between life and death, scooped out my soul into a cavernous, porous, eager opening, and reminded me of Who I Really Am, again and again.

Memorial services have become my platform (bet you won’t see that on Ms. America’s docket!) – the place where I, melted down to my purest form of Being, pour out ladles of unencumbered truth, transparency, heart and wisdom I could only have reached in the soils of grief.

And so, today, as I shouldered my bathroom wall like a dear friend, weeping into its arms at the loss of Christopher once again, I find I’m not grieving in this hopeless, senseless, aching, depressed sense of old. I’m just grieving. Grief does not have to bear merely negative connotations. It can bear that ‘Mystery’ – that opening to the divine – if we let it.

I trust that Christopher is still with us. I’m confused, and still trying to wrap my head around the “story” of his death – his young age, good health, lack of explanation for his death, and his beautiful family left behind. But, I know he is still with me, and I am at peace with his death, because I can feel him conveying that message to me from within. Still, it hurts, though, still I ache, and this is par for the course, no matter how much I’ve faced death, how “at peace” I am with it, how enlightened I may or may not be.

For the last three years, I’ve often been afraid to share how I feel, like I’m doing right now…so afraid you were so sick of hearing it again, and again. Sometimes, I post on here, or Facebook, and feel like I can hear my friends’ moans, “Another death for Megan? Oh geez.” I think those are my own insecurities. In truth, I know few people who would feel anything but empathy for the profound prickers of pain I’ve been picking out of my knees lately.

I’m realizing now, that I am who I am for a reason. There is no one like me. Only I have had these experiences, and only I have handled them through this filter of “Megan,” the girl who loves hard, feels deeply, bears her soul honestly, and thus…experiences loss on a profound level, folding in the petals in grief, but opening them again and again each Spring.

So, I’m not apologizing for who I am anymore. These experiences have shaped me and taught me Masters-degrees of wisdom. I may grieve but that doesn’t mean I am “depressed” or that anything is wrong with me at all. It’s just a process, one that is required of, and owed to the honor of every soul we lose in this lifetime.

My NDE’s have given me so much to share…and while the “stories” we tell ourselves usually bear only negative connotations to death, dying and grief, I believe I am living proof that opening ourselves completely to the great mysteries of Life and Death, bears promise in either direction. Why should we embrace one, and shun the other? Both are part of our experience. Grief deserves time, attention, honor and embracing, and a willingness to sit at death’s bedside – to embrace the loss experiences in our lives – while painful, can also give us a glimpse of “Heaven,” the one that we find glowing within, when we, like statues, are broken open.