Over the past eight months, my family in PNG have laid to rest three young cousins aged between 20 to 40 years and my aunt who is not much older than my brothers. We are burying her today in our village. Being away from home has been hard, being an islander, the bond is strong between immediate family and extended family as we remain connected with second and third cousins and remain connected to the land we came from, our villages and our ancestors. That’s not to say we are always happy families singing and holding hands! Far from it. Yet, we are connected and we know with every beginning there is an end and death is a natural part of life. We know this and yet it still cuts so deeply.
It has been challenging not being able to grieve my family members who have passed with my family members who are living and be able to laugh, tell stories with and sit together at this time. Without an end in sight or a definite date on when I will be able to hold my family tight; this weighs on my heart. This cycle of death, of endings, of COVID-19 lockdowns, vaccines, illness has been traumatic at a global level and at a personal level — not knowing what’s to come has been challenging.
I am a planner and like to plan my holidays and my leave and my projects and meet ups with friends and organise family events and my yoga classes and plan everything….this time of loss, grief, uncertainty reminds me that I was never in control. There is what I am in control of, my own personal actions, and so much more is beyond my control and my ability to manipulate, to pull strings, to cause immediate change the way I want life to play out in my mind. There is a greater power that I am reminded to surrender to…and trust. Trust the universe, God, dharma, the world, trust the spiritual guidance greater than you and me and know that everything is where it should be, even if I don’t understand it.
This time also reminds me about how precious life is. Relationships. People. The environment. Our connection to the land. Connection within and to the external world.
This time of loss reminds me, there are no guarantees and to protect what I am able to hold close.
To embrace today.
Heal what needs to be healed.
Say what needs to be said.
Shift what needs to be undone.
Release what needs to be set free.
What was working is no longer working and we are now in a time of destruction to allow for renewal in the coming days, years and decades.
In spite of the loss, I am also reminded of new beginnings in the face of deep grief. New babies in my family and seeing the next generation grow gives me great joy and hope. Seeing my friends and family take their businesses to new heights, seeing new projects launch, new friendships, seeing people blossom in adversity gives me hope and strength.
To my family members who have passed, may you be happy and may you be free where you are now. I am so blessed we are family! I love and miss you deeply.
To my friends, family and community, wherever you are reading this from, I hope you are doing OK in this time of immense change and upheaval, finding peace within.
I’ll leave you with this quote which seems to have been cropping up for me in separate places this week and brings some comfort.
“May you be happy. May you be healthy in body and mind. May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm. May you be free from fear, the fear that keeps you stuck.”
So much love to you at this time,