Like many who have lost loved ones, I struggle with the question, how can my loved one still be a part of my life?
When my mother died last year, I temporarily got stuck in grief because I had a distorted belief that I always needed my mom in my life. I am an adult with adult children and grandchildren. Why do I still need my mom?
Many clients have told me stories of their deceased loved ones visiting them in dreams. I have also experienced this. Some people have shared they get ‘signs’ from their loved one that reminds them they are still around. Several months after my mom passed, I felt her presence while I was attending a Grief Share group at a local church. I heard her whisper in my mind, “You don’t need me anymore.” Somehow, she must have known I did not believe this was true. I cried the whole way home from group that evening. “I do need you! I do need you!”
About a year from the date of my mom’s passing, I took all her pictures that I looked at each day and put them in my attic. I looked for evidence of living a life without needing her. I thought about the life I was creating now that she was not in it. I fought for joy by scheduling more play time with my grandkids. I went on walks and picked wildflowers. I talked to my siblings a lot about our mom. I read something spiritually inspiring every day. I participated in healthy activities. All for the purpose of creating a meaningful life, despite grief and loss.
But the question still haunted me, ‘How can deceased loved ones still be a part of our lives?’ I asked this question to a couple of people who had lost parents. I heard answers like, ‘They are your guardian angel now.’ Or ‘They can look down from heaven and know all the things you can’t share with them anymore.’ One lady told me, “Each time I see a butterfly, I know it’s my grandma.” These answers did not satisfy me.
Here is my most recent answer to the question: I believe that each person we love, and deeply connect to during our time on earth gets weaved into the energy of who we become. For example, our loved ones can leave imprints on us, through their words or behaviors. We can adopt these as beliefs. Imprints that we now live by and that help define our unique traits as an individual. My love for the piano was weaved into me by my mother, who loved the piano and played it ever since I knew her. My deceased brother weaved into me compassion for mental illness, which I still have to this day. My deceased father weaved into me the importance of not using violence on people you love. I live by this, and it is a part of who I am and how I practice living my life. That is how they are always a part of our being, even though they are not with us physically.
Maybe when It’s my time to leave earth, I will be able to see who I am without my physical body. And I will see all my deceased loved ones weaved into who I became because of their influence in my life. Energetically we are all still connected.
Which leaves the next question; What beautiful things do I want to weave into my loved ones who are still living?
Physical time on this earth is temporary, but a piece of us is eternal. Weave into others what becomes eternally valuable.
Written by Elisabeth Davies, MC
Counselor and Author of Good Things Emotional Healing Journal for Addiction
and Good Things Emotional Healing Journal for Couples