Thursday, November 19, 2009

a sad story of abundance

Last night a dear friend of my husband's family passed away. She'd suffered a massive heart attack the morning before and wasn't going to recover.

I am shocked. This woman held a wedding shower for me in her home in June. She and her husband helped Ryan and I with our wedding on the beach just below their home. She was one of the most generous people I've known.

So, while I'm obviously sad and confused, I also find myself wondering about what we're supposed to learn when someone dies. I have so many questions. Where is she now? Is she watching the people that she left behind? Can they feel her if she is there?

Is death supposed to teach us that life is so precious, worries are petty, and that we are meant to enjoy it and love as much and as deep as we can?

Is it supposed to teach us that there is more to life than what is available to our eyes? The universe is unimaginably vast, so much that it's impossible to comprehend. Where did we come from? If we came into being through the universe, which has always been here and will always be here, then doesn't that mean our energy just changes when we die, and remains in the universe? Does that mean we're eternal? Does that mean we are still connected to those who have passed, even though we can't see them anymore? What is the universe and where did it come from?

Where did we learn to associate sad feelings with being bad or wrong? What if we saw sadness as just another temporary emotion, and really allowed ourselves to feel it, knowing it won't last forever, but will change, just as all emotions do? I think I tend to resist feeling sad-- or when I do feel sad I tell myself that I "shouldn't."

Perhaps the purpose of sadness is to point us toward appreciation of the moment. Appreciating being able to FEEL.

What do you believe? I'd love to know your thoughts on all this, and I appreciate you allowing me this space to question. (big hugs to all!)

{image by, from The Little Chimp Society


  1. Hey Jessica, there's a quote on my site that it hit me really strong and that is there are no mistakes in Life, only lessons. This is the ultimate universal question - what I am I here for? What is my purpose in life, and all I can say, is live the life that you were meant to live. There are no "How to's" or any manual on what,where or why things are meant to be but love yourself, trust your choices and everything will be all right. I lost a lot of love ones in my life and question, why? What is this suppose to mean? It means that we accomplish what we need to accomplish in this world. Our minds can not comprehend that this is NOT the end of our road or journey but a transition to a better one. I can go on and on about this subject, but I offer my blessings to her family and yours as well.

    If you ever need to talk to someone, I'm just a click away ;)


  2. I think appreciating being able to feel whatever I am feeling has been something I've learned from losing loved ones. It still is a big work in process for me, I have plenty of shoulds when it comes to feelings, it seems the less I fight them the more I learn and grow from them. I wonder too where did we learn what feelings are right or wrong? And that reminder that emotions are temporary, that can be such a good thing :)

    Hugs to you Jessica

  3. I am so sorry to hear that she died. Did I meet her? Death is such a hard thing to confront, no matter where we have orient ourselves along the wide and long continuum of belief.

    I personally believe that yes, we are eternal. Life is a gift and a test that we enter and exit from.

    The death of my mom taught me to be more present as a mother. The death of my Grandparents has brought relief. The death of children and young people brings me to the end of myself and makes me feel deeply connected in sympathy and empathy for the people who experience that loss.

    Hugs Jess.

  4. Thank you all for your unique perspectives. It's interesting how alone death can make you feel, when really it's one that that we all have in common as humans.

    Ashley, yes- my sisters, mom, and I got ready at her house above the beach....

  5. One of my best friends died this January. It has been heartbreaking for me.
    What i have learned is that death can never break the bonds between people. (i know that may sound corny, but I feel it's true.)
    There are days when I feel him right next to me.
    Also, his death made me rethink my life deeply and become more fearless. I just wish he hadn't have to die before I lived like this.

    I hope this helps you. My prayers are with you and her family.

  6. I'm sorry for your loss, Jess.

    I don't know what death is supposed to teach us, but it always reminds me to appreciate what I have, and to live each day to the fullest. You're right - the universe is so vast - and sometimes it's a little scary to think about all I will never understand, but at times like these, it's comforing to realize there is more than I can comprehend.

    Here is what I do know - it's ok to be sad. It doesn't feel good and I know I resist it, too, but there is really no leaving it behind until you've experienced it to its ends.

  7. I'm sorry for the loss of a generous and wonderful person. My thoughts are that life is not always fair, and sometimes, things do not make sense at all. When my younger brother passed away almost 4 years ago, there were feelings of extreme grief, to laughing until we couldn't breathe from reminiscing over stories about him. I don't think that life is ever one way or the other, it's a mixture of everything. I'm not sure what I believe, but I know that when I've really felt alone or needed to know that he was okay -- wherever he was --all I had to do was ask him to give me some kind of sign that he was alright. And I'd see something. (Like turning a corner into a street filled with flags from different countries, and he collected flags).

    I think it's okay to let yourself feel however you're supposed to feel. We can't be happy all the time, but sometimes horrible losses can give you the perspective to find solace and gratitude in the small things in life. Sunshine on a cold day, a cup of tea, sitting with a loved one and not needing to speak, whatever it may be. There is always someone better off, or worse off, but it should not diminish the feelings or problems that you may have. My 2 cents :)

    Again, my heart goes out to her loved ones.

  8. Jessica, I am very sorry for your loss. I think I know how you feel...because I also lost someone recently and it is always a shock no matter the situation. Sometimes I snap into moments thinking everything was like before and perhaps they'll just walk through the door. Sigh. It's interesting your perspective about feeling sad...people always want to cheer your up. But of course, you can't have happy if you don't have sad...sort of the duality of it all in life. I think losing someone teaches you about embracing life, carpe diem and cherish all the moments you do have. You can still look on the bright side of things.

  9. i'm really sorry about the loss of someone so dear to you and your family. i have lots of different thoughts about death, but one is that i don't want to believe we go through all the things we do in life, good and bad, for such a short time. the deja vu moments and our instincts must be connected to something in the past. xo, c

  10. I'm so sorry, Jessica. My thought is that it's so hard to grieve the loss of someone while being so grateful for their gifts at the same time. The contrast in feelings is confusing to me. It makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Only death affects me this way, a torn feeling. I think we only grieve what we really cherished, and therein lies the sadness.
    Hug to you, sister. xo p

  11. I am so sorry for you. Death plays a strange part in all of our lives and it still continues to be the thing that we fear the most, even though it is the one thing that we are all going to experience.

    I lost my mother when I was 9 years old. (I also lost my best friend at 14, another friend at 21 and grandparents at 8 and 16). Some would say not the best time for a parent to die, but I now have to look back at my life without her. I wonder if I would have experienced of the adventures I have taken if she had still been here. Would I have become the person I am if she was still alive? Of course I would rather that she was here, but maybe she was meant to go so that I could live my life fully and respect each day as a gift, rather than wasting it all.

    I was always told to explore grief and not to try to push it away and under the carpet. I do worry when I hear of people being given antidepresants for is a natural reaction to death and loss, and I don't think we should be trying to medicate it.(This is my personal opinion of course!) People should talk about death more, and try to help those who have lost someone.
    People struggled to talk to my father when my mother died...I do wish now that people had been braver to knock on the door and see how we all were.

    I always say that you must think about that person who has gone. Although they are no longer here, the spirit of who they were has crossed into so many people's lives...that is how they live on for years and years to come. I always believe that no matter how short someone's life is, as long as they have inspired and touched people's hearts in their time here, then that was a life well lived. I will be thinking of you. x

  12. Hi, Jess - I've come back to this post a few times and I think this is a truly touching and authentic connection to the notion of abundance. By losing someone so close to you, suddenly you felt and remembered everything she gave to you by playing a role in your life. I see abundance in the depth of all of these comments and wonderful stories about people who are no longer with those who wrote about them. Abundance doesn't necessarily have to be linked with happiness. If we can find meaning and awareness in whatever emotion we are feeling, that is abundance.

    I am sorry for your loss. Much love.

  13. I've found your blog via @kaileenelise, and this post struck me. It's very beautiful to be so vulnerable - thank you. I wanted to share a small post with you that I just wrote on grief from a recent class of mine.

    "Grief is very vast. it's a very transpersonal state. When you lose someone, you are not only grieving the loss of them, but the boundary of self & other dissolves, and we are grieving ourselves. Part of us is dead. Whatever was born between that person and you is no longer."

    May you grieve, may you love. <3

  14. jess, thanks for sharing this and all your questions. i am sorry to hear this, death is so incredibly strange and always makes me feel so weird inside. the way that one can be there and then not, just like that. whether you expect it or not.

    but, i do believe we are eternal beings. i do believe in God and creation. the complexities of us as human beings and the way life works and the fact that everything has a beginning, i have to believe that God gave the beginning to the earth and the universe. and i think death teaches us all different things. i think it is part of our journey on earth.

    being a christian, i also believe that those who believe in Jesus go to heaven when they die. i know that everyone has really strong and mixed feelings about this, but i do believe it is truth- based on what i have seen and experienced in my life. and because of Jesus, i also believe in there being hope now and hope in life after death.