I just finished my weekly phone chat with my friend Nancy. Last year, Nancy’s mother, father, and brother all passed away within 6 weeks of one other, each from different illnesses. Her brother Brian was my dear friend and, after his passing, I kept in close contact with her. Since then, we have become very connected, like sisters. Our biggest and most intense bond is that in the twenty years before Nancy lost her family, I had already lost mine.
Nancy and I are similar in several ways no one wants to be: both our parents have died, we endured losing our favorite sibling very close to the passing of our parent(s), and neither of us have children to help with a sense of continuity in our family or even the world. I truly understand her when she shares with me that she feels like a lone wolf at times – traumatized by death, trying to process the change of losing her pack, and learning how to survive without it.
But we are not the same in a very important way as we are on different ends of the grief process. Nancy reminds me of the feelings and experiences I had over twenty years ago when the deaths of my mom and brother were new, and I didn’t understand that I was about to embark on a long bereavement journey. Nancy reminds me of where I started from.
And I am a symbol to Nancy that she can survive her losses even now at its most intense and raw stage. I’m a living example of where she will go.
Around and up the spiral turns, and I find that we are hope for each other. I hadn’t thought about my first years for awhile until my recent relationship with Nancy and I am ironically grateful to travel back to those difficult days through her. I am not alone this time. Now I am with a friend, and we are visiting each other’s darkness together. We are a wolf pack of two.
Nancy is the one who casually mentioned the publishing house that would end up publishing my children’s story that addresses life and loss, Squirrel and Oak: a Story of Hope. My mother was my high school English teacher and was the one who taught me how to write a good sentence and to even love diagramming them! Years later, this would circle back around to my writing and illustrating a book that helps grieving children and adults all around the country. It was a dream that started as an idea shortly after my mom and brother died and was completed following the passing of my father.
I am still amazed that I have survived long enough to make something hopeful come out of my loss, a spiral from sadness to inspiration that I couldn’t imagine in those first days. And beautifully and with wonderful serendipity, my new friend Nancy was part of that circle.
May you all have many “spirals of hope” appear in your life to confirm that there really is a miraculous order in the chaos of life and death. Remember too that the Universe and the Angels give special gifts to help those who have suffered loss, so be open and ready to receive yours.
This is my first article for the Open to Hope Foundation, and I would like to dedicate it to all of you who have had to say goodbye to someone you loved. I hope my words bring you inspiration and encouragement wherever you are in your journey.
Until next time…
Love and Light,
Megan PrescottTags: grief, hope, Multiple Deaths, signs and connections