Updated: Mar 27, 2022
It has been 24 years since my mother passed away. It was a normal Friday. I have been taking off Fridays from sessions to work on the future of my business and to practice self care. I was gathering laundry together to bring to the lavenderia. The morning light was coming through my bedroom window in a particularly beautiful way. And I thought of my mom. Or rather a thought of my mother came into my mind, seemingly out of nowhere. It was as if a quick pencil-sketched picture flashed behind or in front of my eyes. A translucent shape floating in and out of my vision. It lasted less than a second. It filled me with warmth, I swear that my skin, my clothes, my room was illuminated for a brief second. I was experiencing a wave of overwhelming love.
A few hours later I sit here in the coffee shop thinking about that moment in the way we struggle to hold on to a dream. Willing ourselves to go back to a feeling, not often felt in our waking, as it fades away.
I wanted to take a minute to remember what that moment felt like. To instill it into my memory. This moment was exceptional. An unfamiliar involuntary gift that helped me recognize how far I have come this year in my own healing.
My mom died when I was 16. But the way I see it parts of her kept disappearing in slow and painful tiny deaths that created unending grief and future CPTSD. With her drinking she lost her patience, her ability to connect, her playfulness, her physical strength, her hair, the light behind her eyes and eventually her sanity.
I cried when she died. But truthfully not nearly as much as I cried when she was still alive. I steeled myself against my past and focused only on my future. I chose to see only the positive and pat my own shoulder at all the ways I was able to escape unaffected. When she would come into my mind I felt anger, abandonment, grief and sadness. So I did my best to not think of her too much.
A year and a half ago I gifted myself to a session with an intuitive when we lived in Tulum, Mexico. He told me that I had layers of unresolved grief that was holding me back. I actually went to talk to him about my job. He told me to go on a mountain or into the sea and release this grief. As much as I agreed that he was probably right, I wasn’t really given instruction on how to specifically do that.
Before I left his home he had me lay on his couch while he held the back of my head in his hands. Within moments, a layer of electricity formed between my legs and his couch and I swear I experienced what others call levitation. My instincts were validated, as I opened my eyes, he looked into them and said, “Sister, you just levitated.”
I spent the next year feeling this intense energy inside my body, underneath my ribs on my right side. It appeared during experiences of spiritual healing. In a mayan sweat lodge and during a psilocybin experience. It is a deep and painful sensation that lasts about an hour, is relentless and leaves me with the desire to vomit but with no release.
This past year I have tried to get it out. I went to a small lakeside Guatemalan village to try Kambo, to be served the medicine by a woman who grew up in the town of my elementary school. Half of a year later I was served ayahuasca by a shaman of the Shipibo tribe, embarking on a profoundly horrifying experience that created feelings of chaos and deep pain but ultimately gifting me with the wisdom to heal myself. Both of these experiences were necessary to my healing journey, but neither enough by themselves. This grief remained inside me.
Last fall I experienced what I would consider the dark night of the soul, that lasted for about two months. I was surprised and overwhelmed by the depths of anger that I had exiled. I experienced feelings of profound aloneness that I could not shake. I felt misunderstood. The darkness came with a physical pain. I felt that I was in an abyss, though I maintained some version of hope that perhaps I was in the womb. I remember sitting on the steps of a church that housed Michelangelo’s crucifix, at 1 in the morning…I feel so much more at home on the steps of a church than inside. I called my aunt. She shared a story of my mother that illuminated a deep trauma in her own life, and it was undeniable that the mother wound in our ancestral line runs deep and infected. It was all so sad, but somehow in that conversation and the following days, as I meandered my way through the crowded streets of Florence, finding the best gelato for my son and drinking local Italian wines I wore it as a cloth, felt its weight and carried it. I finally felt the weight of suffering, the collective woundedness that was beyond just mine and it was healing.
Slowly in the past month I am emerging. I am meeting loneliness with compassion, anger with curiosity and anxiety with calm. I am seeking connection, with others, with Mother Nature and with the divine. I am embodying the mother archetype. I am walking the path of my female ancestors, my grandmother and her mother and her mother and every beautiful silver haired crone that came before me and I know that includes my mother. They are in front of me, they are behind me and it is their strength I feel when the Earth is holding me up. I imagine them together and I remember that we not only inherit trauma but we inherit strength, and these women are so strong. I have hope that as I learn to connect with her spirit I may begin to know her true form and I can build a relationship from there that might sustain. If not, that is ok too. I have a mother within me.
I will heal this grief. I am healing this grief. I have the specific instructions now because my own inner wisdom is a healer, a shaman for my pain and I can finally hear that inner voice. I will burn this suffering in a fire and I will toss my anger in there and let my shame turn fluorescent blue. I will give that heartache to Mother Earth as I bury the ashes, she will absorb it in her soil, nature will use it to fertilize this new birth and feelings of love will overwhelm me. I will cleanse myself and the earth with water, because I am pure and I am light despite my shadow, and I know pachamama will ultimately give me everything that I need. And as I walk down that mountain I will whisper gratitude for the life that my mother gave me, for her womb which was my first home and refuge. And for the first time in maybe forever I will speak a deep and true invitation, from my heart that is now raw but open, allowing her spirit into my life and let the wind take it to her ears.