In nature, change is evident. Currently, our seasons are changing and Autumn Equinox marked the beginning of the fall season on Sept. 22. I believe no other time of the year creates an intersection of plants and people and the journey of change as does the fall season. As plants go through a process called senescence, we too, evolve and change, and yes, grow older.
Change in life is sometimes marked with resistance and Hope Grows spent the month talking about how to allow change more freely and willingly. While working in hospice many years ago, I watched the ultimate change occur weekly. As our fellow neighbors came on hospice for support through the end of life, those receiving hospice services transitioned from life to death.
From all the things that I have become wise about during my senescence process, death is the most emotionally moving experience for all; for the dying and the family left behind.
Process of Dormancy and Journey of Change
A dying man once said to his wife while watching the colored leaves fall from the tree, “even God makes dying beautiful.” I believe this to be true as I watched many take their last breath while working in hospice. In my opinion, with dying comes a process called dormancy. Dormancy of spirit, both for the dead and the living.
Like the deciduous tree, the tangible view of the tree looks dead, however, the roots begin to work at soaking up the nutrients of the Earth, so that when the conditions are right, the tree will bud in the spring, bringing us beauty again.
With the death of a loved one, the inevitable change is the tangible relationship we had with our loved one. Our job here on Earth, which is still a tangible part of who we are, has to find a way to accept loss and think in ways that our loved one is on a new journey; a new journey of soaking up the love they received here on Earth.
When we are done processing the pain of our loss and adjusting to being without that person, their spirit will flourish and bring us feelings of beauty, content and peace again.
Processing the Pain of Loss
Processing the pain of losing someone we love is not easy, but it is necessary to get to that place of flourishing again, otherwise, we may get stuck in our grief. Lao Tzu once said, “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them—that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” This is not easy when what we are already experiencing is sorrow. So, how do we do that when sorrow is a part of the change from loss? I agree with Lao Tzu. We cannot resist change that happens in life, especially when losing a loved one. Processing, accepting, adjusting, and evolving forward to embark on a new identity needs to be a part of the change that occurs when the tangible relationship we once had is no longer. Hope Grows is here to support you during your journey of loss. Think about the parallel of the tangible relationship with the deciduous tree during the change of seasons. It becomes the spirit that sprouts out of dormancy.