Lifelines: Keeping Us Afloat As We Grieve

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Photo by: Kara Hope Clark
I am feeling grateful and renewed after spending a week in Southern CA. I went there to spend some quiet time by the sea with one of my beloved soul sisters and her family, and to reclaim my connection to the Pacific coast.
I had forgotten how blissful it is to walk barefoot on the beach with the moist sand and the cool refreshing waves caressing my feet. Each day we spent at the beach felt like a sublime interlude. A time to pause, soaking it all in and contemplating my existence.
One day in particular I sat there relaxing on my beach chair, my feet buried in the soft warm sand watching the waves glistening in the sun. I couldn’t help but see momentary holographic reflections of my past. Images of Claude and Noah, father and son, playing in the waves having the time of their lives, not a care in the world. Little did we know in the innocence and simplicity of those moments what the future held for us all. Who would have ever guessed that Claude would eventually end his own life? I found myself longing for Claude to be there by my side enjoying the healing waters with me. Tears filled my eyes and sadness filled my heart. Yet at the same time I felt heartened by how far I have come along this journey since Claude’s death. I have healed in enumerable ways over these past five years. Those feelings of sadness were momentary, whereas in the past they may have engulfed me just as the perpetual waves of the ocean are capable of.
Because of those haunting memories and my association with Claude’s love of the water I have been staying away from CA where Claude and I first met in San Francisco back in 1994. The last time I was there was in 2013. We had a memorial boat ceremony a year after his death with some close friends to spread Claude’s ashes in San Francisco Bay.
That body of water holds special memories for us. We spent many joyous hours with friends and family sailing there or, as he used to say, “scooting around the bay”. Sailing was sacred to Claude and from my perspective held a direct line to his divinity. He always looked the most relaxed and at peace when he was on the water. When we moved away from the coast he no longer had that contact. This might sound strange but as I write this I am seeing that he was progressively drying up over the 13 years we lived inland. Slowly losing his life force and in turn his will to live. We would visit the coast from time to time but that wasn’t enough. I realize now that he needed that direct connection as if his life depended on it. It was his lifeline.
As a result of this trip I am now aware that for my own wellbeing and continued renewal I need the ocean just as much as I need the stability of the mountains where I now live in CO. The ocean has been important for me over my lifetime as a native of Rhode Island the “Ocean State” and living on the coast of Northern CA for 10 years. I am now free to reclaim my own love and desire to be by the ocean right here right now in present time. I have now created new memories just as I did during my trip in May to Asheville. More steps, more layers of healing this traumatic wound of losing Claude and the life we once shared.
We can lose sight especially while grieving of our own individual lifelines, those things that serve to support and recharge us and help us feel our connection to our True Selves. For Claude it was the water, specifically sailing. For me it is being out in nature, especially being near the mountains and the ocean. I also need to have a home that is surrounded by beauty inside and out that is peaceful and calm. I need space for flower gardens with fountains to bring that soothing sound frequency and moisture in this dry climate. I need good healthy food and spending time with friends and family and my sweet little canine companion Lyra. I need my trusted healers lifting me up, serving as continual reminders of who I am beyond this human experience.
I have discovered over these past five years that as we grieve we need these lifelines more than ever. At times we can feel lightyears away from others and any sense of connection to anything other than our grief. Our world can feel totally eclipsed by our pain, having absolutely no idea how to find any apparent meaning again in our lives.
Our lifelines won’t take the pain away but they can help us stay afloat minute by minute, day by day. They may even inspire us and illuminate our steps as we move forward with our new reality.
Are you feeling disconnected from your own personal lifelines? If so maybe you could take a moment to check in with yourself and ask what might a lifeline look like for me? What might I be able to do today to ignite or nurture that connection?
Peaceful Blessings and love,
~Kara Hope
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Photo By: Kara Hope Clark
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