May 17, 2013 at 11:00 am #35801kanaryteamParticipant
“Grief can destroy you –or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.”
-Dean Koontz, Odd Hours
As some of you may already know we lost a vital member of the Kanary Team in February. Maureen Kanary lost her battle with an aggressive, metastatic form of small cell lung cancer. She was the main administrator, accounts receivable, muse and foundation of the Kanary Team for the passed 40 years. She will be dearly missed and her life will be celebrated through our gratitude for the zest, inspiration and generous nature of the matriarch of the Kanary family. In the aftermath of this loss we have all been faced with a vacuous hole in our lives where there once dwelled a mother, a wife, an aunt, a grangmother, a friend, a lover, a compatriot, a true leader and an example by which many now integrate virtues they’ve learned from her into their lives. She was an example of how love, generosity and a commitment to living excellently, prosperously and happily can unravel the mysteries of our time here on this earth.
This loss was a proverbial weapon of mass destruction and the associated grief similar to the aftermath of such a weapon; hanging heavy in the air most days much like radiation fallout. While massive and destructive, I have managed to discover a very interesting aspect to this event and perhaps any and all obstacles or troubles I may face in the future; within this horror lies dormant light, dormant seeds of opportunity whose growth potential are dependent upon my personal ability to shift my perspective and choose the attitude with which I will approach these days of grieving.
Maureen’s nature was to give until she could give no longer, to love, to forgive and to cherish all of those for whom she cared. She would expect nothing less than her soul and the life that she shared with us to be cherished by taking this experience as a lesson, a tool, and learning and developing from it. Learning to be more giving, more tolerant, more faithful and committed, more driven, more ambitious and more aware of the resources that this Universe has provided. More able to express myself creatively and, in turn, enjoy the rich tapestry of beauty that is all around me every day.
You see, the death of Maureen may have prostrated me, caused resentments towards life, the Universe and whatever created it, caused more suffering than was necessary. Suffering is necessary but I have discovered that the depth and duration of it that I experience is a matter of choice, a matter of how I choose to respond to this personal cataclysm. The grieving process is natural, very personal and completely subjective. A process which should take time and energy, self-reflection and self-development. to me it is much like any negative emotional reaction or thought like fear for example, within which lies the seeds of excellence, personal development and growth. These times in our lives that are identified sometimes as ‘negative’ experiences are really not confined to that definition. While there is a negative side to it, there is also an awakening to the deeper beauty of her life, of our relationship and memories, an awakening to the beauty of life in general.
These painful events need not prostrate you or set you off your path. They can be challenges, challenges designed to strengthen your resolve, reveal your deepest values, your character, your resilience, and provide the opportunity for you to further your life in the direction of your dreams. I can identify that my immediate primal reaction of fear, grief and pain was completely natural. I’ve allowed that to play out without stuffing emotions down, allowed myself to feel the pain right through to the end, allowed the tears to come whenever they came. I accepted the reality and, through acceptance, I have allowed myself to be authentic in response.
It is through acceptance I am allowed freedom from the residual doubts and weight that this loss could have caused. It is not accepting, in denial or refusal, that creates conflict, creates division and divide which would magnify, intensify and prolong the grief and sorrow. Maureen’s death was a catalyst, the results of which are completely based on my personal choice. Months later, what it boils down to is perspective; from which side will I observe this? What will I learn from this? What will I do to evolve, develop my character and strengthen my resolve? How can this affect me positively? When I asked myself these questions the paradigm shifted, the sorrow lifted and clarity and direction was within my grasp. Asking these questions may feel as though you are not grieving, you are not valuing the loss but these questions, this personal development, this acceptance and progression, is the greatest possible way to value the beauty of the life that was shared because it is through acceptance and asking these courageous questions that you develop your consciousness and perspective to adopt the sancitity of what was and cherish it in the present moment. You allow yourself to see the great sacredness of that life in a flower petal, a sunrise or a child’s smile, thereby enriching your soul and paying a deep and universal homage to the life and love you shared.
Nurture not the Emptiness but rejoice and fill your soul with the beauty around you.
Create some Fire and Pass the Torch,
The Kanary Team