Guest Author - danielle barone
My aunt passed away a few months ago. It has been one of the worst experiences of my life. It happened suddenly. She passed in her sleep. She was young. She was my friend. I was not ready to let her go.
When I learned about her passing I couldnít breathe. I still canít breathe when I think about it and her. There are still so many things to say to one another. So many ways she would understand me, and I would understand her. So many times she would look at me with love. I miss that. There are so many funny things that I know we would laugh at. So many times I know we would say I love you to one another. It feels like a dream I want to wake up from but can't.
Iím not finished loving her and needing her. She was someone that I loved unconditionally. Someone I could only see as perfect and pretty and funny. Even when she was not perfect it didnít matter. I could only see her in a good way. I think we do this with people we love a lot.
I have been thinking lately that it is not easy to let go of someone you love unconditionally and that loves you in that way. I am unable to let go. I canít even bring myself to say rest in peace. I miss her. Every day at least once a day I think of her and have to resist crying. Some days I give into it for a few minutes, and some days I donít allow myself to at all. My feelings about losing her are not in a good place.
This makes me think of one of my favorite movies 'How Stella Got Her Groove Back' for so many reasons. I love Whoopi and Angela. The part of the movie when she is crying because her friend passed away, for years I dreaded thinking about losing a friend, and I imagined that's what it would be like. I understand now how she felt.
I have lost people that I loved before. All of my grandparents have passed. I think of them every day. Even though I miss them terribly, I think of them with love and I smile. I remember things they said and did and I laugh. I comfort my mind with so many good memories of them. For some reason I can wish them peace and let go. I can understand that they were old and it was their time. I can accept them passing.
But losing my aunt feels different. My aunt was someone who always believed in me and I always believed in her too. I think there is some kind of magic in the relationships between aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. There is a lot of unconditional love in these relationships.
I've been trying to figure out why it is so hard for me to let go, and for anyone to let go when someone passes. I realized for me it is about missing her and wanting to know she is okay wherever she is. I realize also it's not about selfishness. My inability to breathe and let go when it comes to her, is in part about wishing I could of fixed things in her life. I think we tend to want this for people we really love.
I keep seeing her in my mind as someone who needed love but never really got the love she deserved. I see someone who had to deal with alcoholism and neglect in her childhood. I see someone who spent her entire life trying to work out these issues within her own mind. I wish I could of erased that pain for her. I regret not being able to heal the things in her life that needed healing. Logically I know that would have been impossible, but for some reason I feel this way.
In the last few weeks I have been realizing that not letting her go is not good for her spirit or mine. I would never hurt her, but that is exactly what I am doing by holding onto this pain. She would never want me to hurt either. I think when people we love pass away they donít want us to be in pain. That is not what they want for us.
So I decided to cancel out this negative with positive. I am remembering the good things about her, like how funny she was. When my sister and I were little, we would roll around on the floor laughing at my aunt. She cursed a lot, but it was really funny.
When I called my cousin to say I was sorry to learn she passed away, I told him that I had been with her a few weeks ago and she was funny. As I dialed the number I told myself donít be negative in any way. I realized in that moment of grief and pain, itís so important to remember the good things about the person that has passed. It really does help everyone to feel better. And I believe it also helps the spirit of the person that has passed.
I'm not a religious person but I like what is spiritual. I like to believe that when someone passes his or her spirit is still with us. I felt my auntís spirit with me on the day she passed. I think since we are naturally positive and loving with someone we love, we should do the same when they have passed. We should create the same good feelings. I believe the spirit of a loved one can still sense good feelings and wishes from us.
For this reason, and for many reasons it is good for us to think of someone passing as a natural and positive experience. Itís good to see that the person we love is now at peace. It is good to wish peace for him or her. It is good to wish peace for our own mind and heart too. When we believe that good will come, it does come.