All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.

~ Havelock Ellis

Grief is one of those taboo topics that people avoid in conversation like the plague. That does not change the fact that death is a reality of being human. We all experience loss of loved ones in our lifetime so why do we have such a difficult time talking about death and dying and what can we do about it? Grief is an emotional suffering we feel when something or someone we love is taken away from us. When we lose someone we love, everything changes. No matter how old you are or how much time you’ve had to prepare, it can shake you to the very core. It can be overwhelming and those of us who experience loss may have a wide range of thoughts and unexpected emotions that make it difficult to sleep, eat, think clearly, or function at all.

I lost my father on April 7th and have been on a roller coaster ride of emotions these past few weeks. I want to acknowledge and honor the grief process by sharing my own experience. My dad was 96 years young and had lived a rich and honorable life. I received so many blessings in knowing and loving this man who taught by example to always do the right thing. I am truly grateful to have been present for his transition, surrounding him with only the purest intentions of light and love. In the end, that is all there is…LOVE.

While supporting his transition to spirit was a gift, it came wrapped up with an overwhelming sense of loss and sadness. I thought I had adequately prepared my heart for this part of his journey after receiving news of his terminal cancer diagnosis 6 months earlier. I made several trips back to Wisconsin to spend time being fully present with him, saying all the things I wanted to say, expressing my gratitude, and learning all I could about his life here on earth. When the time came to say our goodbyes to this mountain of a man, I felt a gentle and peaceful release for him. What I had not anticipated was the fog I’d find myself wandering through in the days and weeks following his death. I had lost loved ones before but it was as if I was experiencing grief for the very first time. They say that the greater the love, the more intense the grief can be for us to endure.

My family had agreed to honor dad’s wishes to remain in his own home under hospice care for his transition. Dare I say that was more emotionally draining than any of us could have imagined. The scenes of that last week keep replaying in my mind like a movie reel. Gentle words being whispered, some tears held back while others flowed freely, the releases that came in the pockets of laughter, and the silent pauses in between….these are the moments that will be etched in our hearts forever. It was all very tragic and beautiful at the same time. I try not to attach to the thoughts of what I could have done differently. I showed up with love and compassion to be the light for my dad in the most challenging of circumstances.

As an intuitive coach & healing facilitator, I naturally believe that when we pass to spirit, we do not leave our loved ones behind. People are made of energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed – it simply changes states. I hold onto the idea that, when we die, we exchange energy with our surroundings and our soul – our true essence – continues on until the end of time. Knowing this to be my truth, I look for my Dad’s energy in the sky, the trees, the birds, and the flowers and find solace in knowing his presence is all around us.

Grief and loss is very personal and everyone of us experiences it differently. Whatever you have been through or may be going through as it relates to the loss of a loved one, my advice is to feel all the feels without embarrassment, shame or regret. Allow the pain to surface and the tears to flow and hold loving space for healing. Accept the support being offered and talk about it with those who will listen. Life is beautiful and intense and full of give and take away. Be here now and look for the blessings in having loved so deeply.

High Vibes + Grateful Heart !

XO, Jenn