Updated: Mar 3, 2021
Unfathomable with the hidden parts of my soul I cry, the gentle rain from my broken heart beckons for absolution. From exhaustion, I beg for slumber that shuns me.
This mantra replaced the hymn I once sang. My beautiful 29-year-old son had been stolen from me, the earth and its forest had swallowed him. It was a cool October Sunday in 2017. Josiah, my youngest child thought today was as perfect as any other day, so perfect that he thought a motorcycle ride deep into the forest of Santa Cruz would only enhance the journey of his day. He straddled the bike, owning the road he would travel. Deep within the forest, I believe the tree elves beckoned him, as they caught his attention, he realized they were showing him a portal, a doorway to the spirit realm. Josiah loved the Earth Elements, the Sky Angels, and anything that spoke of higher dimensions, so it is without question he wanted to go the way they beckoned, leaving his body and the motorcycle unattended, it met the tree that sealed the portal.
Is this the fairy tale I tell myself or is this the truth of the Elements, the Angels, Spirit, and the Universe that compels us? His entrance to spirit, my entrance to unimaginable sorrow. A pain with an identity that demanded attention. Left to its own will, it would have consumed me and led me directly to that same portal.
Who am I now? I am no longer me, I am grief, doubling as wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. When you experience someone so close to you, someone who is truly a part of your very existence leaves this planet, it stops you, stunts you, the unanswered questions haunt you, you turn inward towards guilt and despair and I should have and why didn't I, play on a loop. Everything about you is in question.
I had to find the answers.
What does this have to do with kindness? Everything.
We have all experienced the profound despair that leaves us broken and beating ourselves up. Taking responsibility for other people’s stories, making it our fault, and creating such unkindness within ourselves.
“If only I would have called him that morning, he would have told me he was going on that ride and I could have harassed him into not going.” “If only I would have forced him to do this differently or that.” “if only I would have loved him more.” “Why didn't I call, oh G~d, why didn't I call him?”
Tears pouring inward as well as outward, each one producing more guilt and responsibility than the next. “Josiah I am so sorry” I lamented. Walking across the family room of my home after speaking out loud how guilty I felt I picked up a deck of cards titled, Talking to Heaven, as I shuffled them a card fell to the floor facing upwards so I could see it, I inhaled and held my breath as if I would never breathe again, yet he was pressing me to breathe and continue, the card read “It is not your fault” I fell to my knees, uncontrollably weeping as I pressed the card against my chest that once held my heart, “Josiah” I bellowed, “how is this possible” I laid on the floor until the pouring turned to the gentle rain of calm. When I finally stood up, I felt hungry, I glanced around the room bewildered, had I eaten today? And if I had, was it something other than peanut butter, pita chips or coffee? My grief was so prominent, all else was excluded, including taking care of me. I had stopped being kind to myself, how can kindness matter if I didn't? If I'm not kind to myself, who's going to be?
Josiah is not here with me in the physical and that is unnervingly heart wrenching, that will never go away, in truth I never want it to, I never want to not feel the magnitude of who he is and what he represents to me, and my family and the impact he had and continues to have on all of us. Let the tears flow, the continuous gentle rain of love, not guilt and responsibility. Sorrow mixed with the jewel of Josiah, his sibling, my grandchildren, and all the love that surrounds me, I walked into the kitchen, staring into the refrigerator, I am still not hungry, laughter was going to take some time to return, it was going to take over a year before I could truly exercise again and be physically present in my body, I wasn't going to feel right for a while, but I was going to stop telling myself I did something wrong.
We had a destiny, I signed a contract with him, this time he was my son, last time I'm pretty sure he was my father, but none of that matters, what matters is that he and I continue. Not as we were but as we are now. Without kindness to myself and giving myself grace in the line of fire I would not have been able to continue, I had to be thoughtful to myself, and give myself some sympathy and understanding for the new me.
Dark despair, trauma, and even drama create the next version of our tapestry, weaving through our hearts with golden threads filling in the broken lines.
I understand I had to feel every one of those tortured emotions, they must be dealt with. Everything I, we, go through defines us. Life dictates and we must take notes. Pondering the pain is necessary, the beatings we give ourselves are far worse than what others could give us. Life can be so cruel; we must not be cruel to ourselves.
My relationship with my son in spirit is strong, mixed with tears, agony, amazement, and gratitude. I would not be able to see this if I stayed in shame and blame. Does it rear its disgustingly ugly head at me, yes, I'm not going to lie to you, I'm human, a mother, devastated by the unimaginable, yet out of what we cannot imagine, we press on to imagine something bondless. The ability to survive through sorrow and find our way back to the ones we thought were out of reach.
Love has no limit and death is an illusion, a Symphony of painful chords, and if we can see this pain as our own portal, a doorway to our higher dimension, that those same Tree Elves and Sky Angels that beaconed my son are also beckoning me to a place where unconditional love abounds, so wouldn't that include unconditional love for myself? Why yes, it would.
I forced myself to eat, I had forgotten how good food tasted, I had forgotten the clarity that comes from nourishing myself. I looked outside the window, the sun was shining, even the outdoors seemed foreign. I took my Journal outside an invited vitamin D from the sun's rays onto my skin. The thunderstorm of my soul began to still, my pen began to dance across the blue that lined the pages, creating words that were not mine.
“Breathe, just breathe Raina, there has been too much going on in your head, you have logged everything, and it is wearing you thin. Be, just be. There are still moments to be had that Josiah will be with you in, I promise, it is not over. He is here and will be with you in all things you do, outside with your animals, and inside your spirit. Breathe, take in the newness of his energy, he is asking you to pause and feel him, pause and see him, pause and hear him. Dry your tears Raina, he is here, close your eyes Raina, he is here, see him, open your heart Raina, open it, write. Let it in, let in the new energy, let this vibration in, It is Josiah”
I looked down at the page before me, who had written this? It wasn't from Josiah or it would have said mom, was it me channeling me? Was it the Earth Elements or the Sky Angels? It didn't really matter, the message was clear, my son is here. He is with me and that wasn't going to change, what had to change was me. I had to give up the story I deemed my fault and give it back to the universe.
I created another letter, it had all my misconstrued interpretations of my part, however, it poured out of me, I let the floodgates open, once I felt a shift, I knew I was done. I lit the fire pit that would dissipate the evidence of these false feelings. It's amazing how the universe responds, as I sat outside witnessing these emotions burning to ashes and wondering if I might have left a few notes inside myself for further beatings, a Gentle Rain began to sprinkle amid the embers, the tears of my heart collapsed the entire sky above me, gently cleansing me, and reminding me once more, that I had been heard.