“Perhaps the deepest wounding in grief is our realization that we are not in control and we are not safe. We’ve spent a lifetime preparing for every possibility, protecting ourselves and our loved ones by buying safe cars, making sure we wear seat belts, stopping smoking, getting regular medical check-ups, submitting to vaccinations, living in secure neighborhoods, taking herbs and vitamins, and doing crossword puzzles to avoid Alzheimer’s. The list is exhausting. Lately even grocery stores provide hand sanitizer to kill germs on our shopping carts. Despite all of our precautions, warning systems, and protections put in place, this thing still got through.” — The Gifts of Grief: Finding Light in the Darkness of Loss by Therese Tappouni
Something about the wisdom in this paragraph has stayed with me.
It reinforces the truth that safety is an illusion, that control is a myth.
It reminds me and comforts me that I couldn’t have done a single thing to keep my mother from dying. I am not God. I am a human being, having a human experience. Cancer is part of that human experience. So to agonize over the If Only’s is a futile exercise.
If only I’d taken her for regular annual check-ups we might’ve caught it sooner.
If only I’d known how much stress she was under and had made more of an effort to help her relax.
If only I’d spent more time caring for my father, maybe she would’ve had less to do.
We do all we can to keep our loved ones safe, to stay safe ourselves. Everything from eating broccoli, drinking red wine and lifting weights three times a week, to installing alarms at home. We would like to believe that if we just did everything right, if we played by the rules, we can beat danger and stave off risk.
But I know now that everything that happens in our life happens on a soul level. The car accident, the cancer diagnosis, the suicide…it is all abut growth and expansion on a soul level. Much as you want to kick and scream and pound your fists that this can’t be true, spiritual law must prevail even in the world of humanity. Safety and growth simply don’t go together. All growth, as we know, happens outside our comfort zone.
You’ve heard this a zillion times. But I’ll say it once more. We’re spiritual beings having a human experience here. And the goal of every human experience is to move us to the next level.
Let go of the false belief that you could’ve done something to keep your loved one safe. Accept that you couldn’t have.
The most important lesson from this is that we need to be grateful for what we have right here. Not expend our energies warding off some imaginary future evil so we and our loved ones will be safe.
Leave me a comment if this post resonates with you.