They say when you lose someone you start noticing death and the passing of family, friends and other acquaintances more frequently. I never believed it to be true because I thought I was already in tune with death (and recognizing death) in my social circle. But recently, I can’t scroll through my social media feed without reading the news of someone’s recent passing: grandparents, friends, aunts, uncles, and more often than not, parents of all ages, always way too young.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my mom. Memories exist all around me, from episodes of Law and Order: SVU to dried mangos I buy while at Home Goods. More specifically, I think about what my life is going to be like without my mom. At only 24, there are too many milestones, birthdays and celebrations to count that she should be here for. That’s something I harbor and face every single day, and feelings I know will never fully heal but instead evolve over time. What hurts more is seeing and hearing friends feel a similar pain. Learning that other men and women in their 20s, a formative time in our young lives, are growing up without a parent or parents for that matter.
Just weeks after my mom passed, a friend told me to meditate to help clear my mind and channel some of my stress, anger and sadness. While I’m no expert at meditating, and honestly should do it more frequently, I found one specific meditation that connected me to my mom and brought me some comfort during my time of grief.
The meditation was through Oak, a free meditation and breathing app that offers both guided and unguided sessions. As a newbie meditator, I chose the guided session to have additional mental focus (I know my mind can drift very easily!)
I highly recommend downloading meditation apps, but for anyone who is technology challenged or doesn’t have enough storage space on their phone, here is the simple five step meditation I now practice daily:
1. Seat yourself somewhere comfortable, somewhere quiet and somewhere you feel at peace. If you prefer background noise, play something soothing such as rain, waterfall, the sounds of summer at night etc..
2. Close your eyes and start taking deep breaths
3. Once your breathing feels regulated and relaxed, place your hand over your heart and feel your heart beat. Your breathing will begin matching your heart beat.
4. Picture the face of someone you love or a memory you shared – the person you lost, a friend you miss, a family member you want to send prayers – and focus on that person’s face.
5. Out loud or in your head, tell that person these three mantras and messages from your heart:
All I wish for my mom are these three things: true happiness in heaven, healthiness and full mobility of her body unlike her conditions here on Earth, and peace.
The most important feeling of all is peace – peace for our loved ones who have passed but also finding peace within ourselves during the difficult time.
Why do we meditate? We meditate to escape. We meditate to find ourselves again when we’re feeling lost. There is nothing more lonesome and abandoning than losing a loved one -nothing that makes us feel more lost and broken. But life does go on. Life evolves around us and we need to keep up before we too get left behind. We need to make peace with our loved ones and ourselves for whatever may or may not have happened or was and wasn’t said during their lifetime. Trust me, I know that is easier said than done. These meditations have made me believe that my mom truly has found more happiness, good health and peace in heaven and this next chapter of her life than the last years of living. While I still struggle every day because of her passing, believing that she is at peace provides me comfort and pushes me to move on with my life. Her memory, her happiness, her health, her love – all of these things can provide comfort if we channel them and feel them in our mind and in our heart.
For anyone who is grieving, seek meditation as a form of therapy and comfort during this time. I’m not saying you need to accept the circumstances, but wishing your lost loved one happiness, health and peace is putting you one step closer to closure. For those who need more than iPhone app meditations, look for grief counselors in your area to talk to. I was able to receive free grief counseling the months after my mom passed and it truly made a difference in my mental and emotional state. Lastly, it is okay to talk about your emotions, and important for your own personal well being. For anyone who feels lost and alone, I promise you are not. Help and comfort is at the click of the button whenever you need it most.
Sending thoughts, prayers, strength and love to anyone else grieving a loss in this world today and every day.