I haven't written my blog since the end of February. My little sister Ann made her transition from this life to the next on March 6 at the age of 45 and I haven't been able to write until now. Death of a loved one has a way of causing us to reevaluate our lives like nothing else does. Ann's passing and the story of our lives together is filled with love, tragedy, unfulfilled desire, and worst of all....the fear of life.
She had been ill for some time with an auto immune disorder that attacked her liver. She became addicted to the pain medication that had to take to help her cope with the illness and in my last conversation with her I asked her if she was afraid to live. She sounded surprised at the question but as we talked about life she realized that yes, she was afraid to live. For her, there was so much regret, disappointment, misunderstanding, lack of ability to communicate effectively, among other issues and life just seemed too big to tackle. She was afraid of participating in life at a level that requires self-examination, it was the guilt, frustration, and shame that lie underneath her hurt, anger, bitterness, and resentment that prevented her from reaching out before it was too late. Living fully would have required understanding and forgiveness, of herself and others. And sometimes the pain of showing up for that level of work can just be too much for people to bear.
Thank goodness in tragedy there is still comfort and opportunities for growth and new life. Ann is on her soul journey in a different realm now and her soul is being healed and educated. For everyone left behind we have been given an opportunity to reevaluate how we want to interact in our relationships, we are in the process of redefining what is important and what is imperative. We have been given the opportunity to reach out and connect with those we love with more authenticity and kindness than ever before. We have a new understanding of what it means to live up to our potential day by day, one step at a time, focused on the here and now.
In my profession as life coach, it is humbling to not be able to help those you love the most live life to the fullest. It is humbling and painful. At some point every person in a helping profession, and every person who is faced with the emotional and mental illness of those they love, must face the reality that they are not responsible for people's choices to show up for life. We are responsible for showing up ourselves, do our own inner work, be open, receptive, empathetic, and provide boundaries when needed, wisdom and guidance if asked for, and silent listening when not.
Helping people develop new understandings and focus to create new life experiences that support their happiness and joy continues to be my life work and will continue on. May there be peace for those whose pain of showing up is so profound they can only live half lives or cannot live life at all.