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Grief, Growth, and Gratitude

Recently I’ve been off the grid somewhat. I’ve felt everything from devastated to inspired, to feeling profoundly changed, to feeling incredibly baffled about life, the universe, and everything.

About six weeks ago, my dear friend Diana passed away unexpectedly. I have mentioned her several times throughout the years in my blog, as well as her beloved dog Yogi, who passed in March of this year. No words could fully describe the magic of Diana, but I’ll give it my best shot.

Diana began her spiritual healing journey years before I did. In doing so, she taught me incredible things, from chakras and mind/body balance practices, to healing yoga and earth wisdom…the list goes on and on. She was always studying and learning and exploring and became an incredible energy healer with many devoted clients, as well as loyal friends, whom she helped so much in so many ways. She embodied a lust for life and adventure, a beautiful compassion and connection to animals, and a real talent for real living.

Over the 30 years of our friendship, we’d talk for hours, text each other encouragement, and visit each other regularly. Whenever I’d travel to Milwaukee to see her, we’d have deep spiritual moments together at the sacred Lizard Mounds and exchange energy healing sessions, but for the most part we’d have epic good times with roaring laughter.

Every time I feel I still can’t believe she’s passed, I also feel I can’t believe how outrageously blessed I was to know her.

A couple of weeks after Diana’s passing, I was sliding a chair back into its place in my home office, looking at the floor while I spoke out loud to her—I can’t remember about what. Suddenly I noticed a feather on the floor and immediately knew it was from her.

Thrilled, I picked up the feather and looked at it closely, realizing it looked like a feather from one of my cats’ toys. I went into the hall, picked up their catnip carrot, and confirmed the feather matched those on the toy. A friend of mine recently posted a meme that said, “Every time the universe sends me a sign, I’m like, ok, but I think I’ll wait for a signier sign.” Well, that was me—I felt a little disappointed and greedily thought, I wish it were a feather that I didn’t recognize and didn’t know where it came from. Sometimes in grief we get desperate for the exact sign we want.

A few days later, I was thinking of Diana while I bent down to open a drawer. I then saw a small white feather on the floor—and I had no idea where it came from. In that moment I knew Diana was saying, “The first feather wasn’t good enough for you, huh? Well, HERE YOU GO.” And then I remembered how back when I was starting my Reiki and animal communication studies, I’d tell Diana about all the amazing signs I was getting to shift my life to that work…and then I’d express my doubts and lack of self-confidence, too. She’d always say in a loving but firm way, “What more do you need? Really! What more signs do you need??”

In these past six weeks grieving for Diana, I’ve realized everything I’m grateful for: the wealth of wisdom she’s taught me, that I experienced her beautiful friendship, that we can still well as all the signs I’ve ever received in my life, and the fact that it’s actually ok to not be ok.

A couple of weeks after Diana’s passing, my mother had a stroke, and I’ve been at my parents’ house helping out while she recovers. I’m also grateful that the recovery is going well, that I’m able to be of help, and that while I’m here I get to see a lifelong friend who’s so generous and kind.

All of us have been through it the past two years, have experienced challenging times in our lives. I know it can feel like it will never get easier. When that happens, for me it comes down to allowing. Allowing yourself to feel what you feel. Allowing time for healing and processing. Allowing yourself to find peace in the unknown, when there are things you just don’t understand.

I promise then you’ll be able to really see what you have right now—especially the relationships with those here and on the other side—and connect with gratitude like never before. ♥️

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