As I write this, it's been over eight years that Gabe has been gone. I've felt so many feelings arise and move through me over the years; it would be easy to think that the healing is done. Yet, I find that grieving has no steady course and in our society it is looked down on to spend much time on it.
This week our country got news of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. For most of us, it hit us hard. It, hopefully, awakened levels of understanding and compassion for people across the country and around the world.
There is one story that spoke to me deeply. It was about a mother and her son who went together that night to the nightclub, to have a good time together. This was a mother that was proud of her son and loved him deeply. She saw the shooter with his gun and reacted before others were aware of his malicious intent. She saw his gun aimed at her son and she moved in front of him, perhaps by instinct, definitely from her love, to protect him. She ended up taking the bullet for her son. And she died as a result.
I read this story and it brought tears to my eyes and pain to my heart.
That night I was meditating and holding myself in love and compassion, asking to go to deeper levels of what was blocking my healing. It quickly came to me that I was holding on to guilt that my son had died, guilt that I couldn't protect him and keep him safe. It is our instinct as parents to do anything and everything we can to protect our children. We know as they grow, and especially as they become adults, that it's not possible to protect them in all ways. It's not even what they need. But it doesn't change the feeling inside of us that it is our basic nature, in fact, a deep rooted need, to protect our children.
On an intellectual level, it's easy to look at these concepts and reason them away. It's easy to say that we shouldn't feel guilty over our children dying. In this case, I wasn't even in the same country. I wasn't the one who choose for him to go in the Army and I even tried talking him out of it. As a concept, I know it's not my fault.
But I've learned that our soul and our heart don't hear the intellectual arguments or care much for them. Our heart needs to heal on the level of where it hurts. I hadn't realized I was even holding on to this guilt until I read the Orlando story, combined with my meditation to go within. Because intellectually I already knew it wasn't my fault.
I found that my heart needed another level of healing. I could feel Gabe with me in my meditation. I could feel him holding me so that I could let go of the guilt. I felt him smiling at me, loving me, and wanting me to be happy.
I held that feeling, basking in the love. My love and connection with Gabe was so present and so strong. And my heart melted and opened.
I slept really good that night. The next morning I woke up feeling lighter. Throughout the day I felt happier and more myself. Something shifted on a deep and profound level, one more layer of the onion peeled away. This is when the journey gets fun.