Mama Donna Henes March 1st, 2013
Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.
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by ©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman
A Question of Grief and Guilt
Dear Mama Donna,
I have had a hard time lately because its almost one year that
my husband of twenty years died, and I have lots of sad and confused thoughts and feelings about this.
Now my dear dog Lady is having hip problems and I feel terrible. Right now she can barely walk. I spent most of yesterday weeping. She is all I have left of my small family and I feel like its all slipping away and I am on the verge of being so alone. I try not to think being alone is a bad thing but I am so sad not to have a partner (or even a lover) to share my life with. It is also hard to feel like there is much love for me like that left in the world. I have good friends and family but at the end of the day I am all alone. For now Lady is here, but I worry her life is waning too.
I had not remembered any dreams in a long time and then this summer when I was in Beijing I had a very intense dream about Jon: Jon (as the sick skinny Jon) came to a party. He “climbed up” into the crowd from some invisible staircase from the earth. He was dressed in jeans and jean shirt. He was carrying mountain climbing gear. He had the rope over his shoulder. He couldn’t really speak but it was very clear that he had come to get me and Lady. He wanted us to go with him. I told Jon we weren’t ready to go and he should go away. That was it and then I woke up sobbing.
I don’t know what to do. Please, I need help.
-Grieving, in Brooklyn
It is very natural to be sad and lonely around the first anniversary of the death of a loved one. The first recurrence of the same time of year brings up the pain and despair all over again. I am so sorry for your suffering. But please know that it will ease.
Maybe you can use this period to honor Jon’s memory. To remember the good times and release the hard ones. Jews do this as a conscious ritual by marking every year anniversary of a death by lighting a Yartzheit candle. This burns for 24 hours and serves as a focus of remembrance. You can get one at the supermarket. It helps to mark the occasion and focus your grief so that you can move on again after the day passes.
The dream that you describe is such a clear affirmation in no uncertain terms that your soul is ready to live your life and follow your own karmic path. Good for you! Your subconscious mind is looking after you well!
Might I suggest that part of your sorrow comes from the guilt of wanting, of needing, to stay here in your life without Jon. Certainly society might say that that is not a very wifely thought, nor a particularly seemly one for a window. Propriety be damned. It is a very basic and authentically felt decision to save your own life.
You mention a craving for a lover. Rather than focus on looking for another partner, try to keep your attention on your relationship with your Self. Remember, you have lived with another for a very long time. It is a big adjustment to suddenly be solo and it takes a while to feel really comfortable and satisfied on your own.
Give your Self permission to explore the new parameters of your life. To establish a new sort of home for your Self. To create new patterns and rituals. To pursue personal interests. To surround yourself with nourishment on every level. It is only once you are able to do this that your energy will begin to attract the sorts of relationships that you desire and deserve.
“I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.”
- Anna Quindlen
Sending you blessings of solace and Self care,
*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com