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There is Always a Gift – Kate Helder

It’s 10.55am, one week after my mothers passing and I’m sitting in my car awaiting the update in Melbourne regarding COVID numbers and next steps to ‘secure’ the State of Victoria. In my heart I already knew that our plans for mums’ funeral were about to be thwarted, yet I still held onto a glimmer of hope that we could proceed as planned with family and friends present. Alas, no such luck – funerals would now proceed capped at 10 people!

I sat, with the sun streaming through the windscreen, watching the breeze gently moving the autumn leaves and felt fully present in this moment in time. I did not yell, yet I felt deep disappointment and sat in silence as I digested the information. A couple of days prior I didn’t feel so balanced when it was announced we were all going to have to wear face masks as well as socially distance during the upcoming funeral service. The thought of not being able to see facial expressions or to be able to hug at this time, really triggered me.

Today was different though, I was numb, I was numb to the news and in the cycle of grief, now trying to navigate my way through these emotions to a place of acceptance was challenging. I tapped on some of the EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) points, I turned my attention to my breath and made sure I was able to take slow and deep diaphragmatic breaths just to regulate my body and bring me back to what was needed in this moment. The next steps for the service, do we go ahead, do we postpone, who will be the ten people?

During times of stress as our body is flooded with the stress hormone cortisol and our ability to access problem solving skills goes offline, it’s really important to have access to a technique that allows you to calm your physiology in the moment and for me Tapping and being fully present to my breath, did the trick.

Having made all the necessary arrangements, here’s my flip side, I opted for the salty crisps and a glass or two of wine that evening to ‘ease the pain’ and you know what, in the moment, it really helped. I went to bed, shed several tears and turned my attention as I drifted into slumber, to the desire to find a place of acceptance and calm with this situation.

On waking the following day, the morning of mums’ funeral I had found a sense of peace. Hey, we were just one of thousands of others who had been impacted by this lockdown and it wasn’t as if mums passing was unexpected. Today’s funeral service wasn’t about me, what my brother, our extended family and friends would have preferred, it was about honouring the process of transition from the physical, to realms beyond and apparently this is how we were doing it thanks to the pandemic. My brothers and my immediate family and three of mums oldest and dearest school friends were together, to honour this next phase of her journey.

“In every Moment of your life your choice is always the same: to move into Reaction or Creation.” – Neale Donald Walsch

Reading a eulogy in front of a room full of empty chairs, mums’ casket to my right, nine others seated and remembering to glance up at the camera in the ceiling for the benefit of our virtual audience was challenging. I desperately wanted to get through the eulogy without losing it and to express in an honest and tender way my journey with mum from the depth of my heart. I had envisioned this process in my mind’s eye, I had practiced the delivery a handful of times and then in the end I just surrendered to the process, breathed and allowed the flow. As an aside, I’d given permission for a dear friend and EFT expert to surrogate tap for me to ‘get through this’ and seemingly it worked.

With lockdown in full swing in Melbourne, we were not able to gather after the ceremony for a glass of bubbles, even a cuppa, or in our homes with the support of friends. Instead, we said our farewells in the carpark on this gloomy Melbourne day and I watched mums’ three dear friends in their 80’s return to their cars. They did not have the support of a partner or one of their children at this time of need as they too managed their grief. It was heart wrenching.

That afternoon I got really still and present to all that had unfolded. The intimate service, the beautiful messages from friends who joined us virtually and the love that was present. At home, surrounded by flowers, I went through items of mums that I had collected from her aged care facility earlier in the week, played soothing music and just allowed myself the space and time to BE in the process.

I truly feel, even though the day wasn’t as we all would have liked, it did present me with the opportunity to sit in the stillness, the un-comfortability and bear witness to my vulnerability and willingness to accept the here and now. The way my awareness of this space-time supported my healing, was profound.

I do wonder how it may have been different if not for the lockdown and how I would have felt with the social aspect of a funeral under normal circumstances. A lot of ‘small talk’ with distant friends of mums who may have turned up on the day. The gestures of kindness extended and my need to feel as if I gave my full attention to others, so they knew they were appreciated for their connection and their presence on the day. Has this possibly been a true gift for me?

It’s interesting how we react to challenging situations differently, but there’s one thing I know for sure and that is if it hadn’t been for my embodiment of self-care practices, I could still be having the best of pity parties rather than feeling comfortable just to BE! What is it for you, that brings you back to centre in the moment?

If you’re facing challenges, feeling stressed and EFT/tapping is new to you, this is a great place to start.

OR if you’d like one-on-one support, I’m here and my next 5-week coaching program, Inner Light Alchemy, commences mid July – details here.

There is always a gift –  let’s choose to notice.

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash