Cat From The Mat

Mourning Has Broken

The holidays with home hospice were bittersweet.  Normally, we celebrate a clustering of birthdays, my folk’s anniversary, and Christmas, days in a row.  And this year, these normally joyous events were overshadowed by a grim reality.  We luckily had time to discuss funeral plans as well as the chance to truly say goodbye.  After a quick fight with cancer, Tish slipped away on Dec 28, 2017 with her hand in mine.  What a gift to bear witness to such vulnerability.  I had the intimate honor to be present with my mum’s last breath, as she was there for my first at birth. 

Somehow I had the calm capacity to take this emotional rollercoaster ride, amidst the physical limitations of my many new normals. I found a strength and presence to support my mother while processing these unfolding events surprisingly well.  By taking time off from work and rescheduling teachings gigs, I was able to slow down and find that desired balance between self-care and care for others.

In January, we arranged Tish’s memorial service in NOLA, which was a celebration of her love of music, British humor, and her gift of gab.  My second surgery followed in February, after which I finally had some down time to focus on my own recovery.  It’s odd to physically lack sensation in my chest while my aching heart is anything but numb.  

At end of March, we flew to London to memorialize Tish’s life with our UK relatives.  In April, I slowly returned back to work.  In between European gigs and domestic trainings, I found the emotional time and space to clear out my mother’s closet and art studio.  With teary fortitude, I found some peace in the catharsis.  

I share this experience as a fellow human, yoga educator, empathy coach, because my twenty-five years of awareness training prepared me for this particular storm as well as ongoing inclement weather. To hold the space for my dying mother as she struggled to surrender was devastating, profound, and beautiful.  There isn’t a day that goes by when I do not think of Tish or when I do not appreciate my own health.  Asana integrates a strong body, open heart, and flexible mind.  Embodiment might begin to break down, but one’s spirit is the fuel that keeps going.

I am starting to pick up the pieces of my disintegrated foundation and am transforming daily into the latest version of myself.  As I continue to go through the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance), I am reminded of the need to mourn.  What if mourning is the ability to appreciate what you value in its absence? If so, then the people and pets that we love may go away, but the loving relationship remains. 

Yoga is a practice of relationship and adaptability to change, from which you may learn and grow.  Whether a loss of a loved one, a marriage, a body part, or closing a chapter in your life, death is not easy.   However, endings mark beginnings.   How you choose to participate with loss might determine how you embark upon your next journey.  I am not the same person I was nine months ago, and yet my essence is more powerful and clearer than ever before, with a new Catitude.  As you weather your own storms, I encourage you to not only survive but to thrive. 

Happy Mother's Day month!


Cat From The Mat

May 2018