THE HAND HOLD OF GRIEF AND LOVE IS A TIGHT SQUEEZE

breathwork embodiment grief loss love parent Apr 03, 2022

As I complete a 3 day workshop titled Understanding Grief I am both weeping and laughing... I am dancing and folded over in fully embodied "I just can't" vibes....

I registered for this workshop with the intention of deepening MY awareness of how my clients are living with, holding and moving through Grief, so that I can be a better facilitator ..... 

{insert Universal giggles}

This was FULLY and COMPLETELY for Me.... and my ability to hold myself in and through my grief.

There are a lot of "things” people, experiences, beliefs, versions of self etc that I have "lost" or that have moved on and that either never received a grieving process, or little to my awareness are still ACTIVELY IN the grieving process.

The most prominent loss for me in my life is the loss of my best friend, my support, my role model, my life force.... my Mother. Debra Lynn Gagnon / English.

I want to tell you a little bit about my Mom if that's ok.

So when my mom was a teenager she used to beat up all the boys who hit on her.... lol true story. I was told this ... by a few of the men later in life hahah

”ahhhh unused to have such a crush on your mom. Man was she tough lol”

She was beautiful, and strong... physically and mentally. 
Debbie was 5'7 blonde, and built like .... well... like the way a lot of people desired to be built. But she was also a little sister and her big brother used to ... do big brother things and she got really used to having to defend herself, which is where I imagine the fearlessness and ability to toss the boys around came from.

She was a woman who knew what she wanted.

When she was 19 she up and moved to the British Virgin Islands and took a job as a bartender at a local beach side bar. Not just any beach side bar.... the one that Tina Turner and Carlos Santana frequently played at. 

Debbie  LOVED music, and she loved a good time, so I can only pretend to imagine how fun this time of her life was..... 

When she was in her early 20's she came back to North America but ended up in California. My favorite story of My mom lands here.

My aunti Thanya describes the day she met Debbie like this.....

"I was working at the restaurant, it was mid day, not much happening and then  in walks this presence. Kyla it's like the whole place stopped and looked. Here was this woman. This beautiful woman, in a fitted calf length emerald green suede skirt and tucked in tank top. Her body Kyla. OMG ...and it was like the sun just shined only on Her....... Hi I'm looking for a job" The story goes that Thanya said I don't think we are hiring but I'll go get the manager....

She started that day. lol and she soon after was dating the manager hahahah

To be fair he wasn't a great dude and they all got into a bit of trouble... my aunt included.... 

She eventually made her way back to Canada where she reunited with my sweet Daddio. They grew up together and had known each there for all of their lives. 

Ok... speeding up mom and dad got together ... hahah had Me :) Yay... and divorced shortly after... not so yay.

My mom was the woman , the person who took in the homeless, who always had time to listen, who always could make you laugh and was always ALWAYS there. 

When I was 7 my grandmother died. My moms mom died. This was a deep loss for my mother. It was this loss that allowed my mom to stop drinking. She comes from a family of addiction, and drinking for her was the "gateway" as we hear it named. 
Her drinking was also a large piece of the separation between her and my Dad.... I always wonder if she had stopped sooner ... would they have made it ?

I have no memory of her drinking but I know it was there, and she also kept me out of it and away from it. She was an incredible mother.

When my grandma died, I remember seeing Mom cry... a lot.... I have a clear memory of stepping onto the back patio because I couldn't find her but I could hear her weeping.... I found her with her face in her hands alone, outside on the patio. This was my first memory of grief... without knowing what that really was.

Mom put herself through night school to become a nurse when I was 2 years old, she worked full time in the day and went to full time night school..... I was so proud of her efforts then and now as a woman i recognize even more the challenge in that all while raising a young child.

Nursing was something she seemed to really enjoy, she predominantly worked with the elderly.... and they LOVED HER. She was the nurse that would STAY.... she would sit with you, talk with you, listen to you and really BE WITH YOU.

When she wasn't nursing she was taking into our home respite patients to stay with us. Extreme cases of physical and mental handicaps only. This was the light of Debbie..... the pure love she had for the human specie was so vivid when she was in the role of care giver. It was exactly right for Her...and her patients were so in love with Her. 

This was also so important for me as a young girl to see the human in what could have remained an 'unknown'. So may children, and even adults are afraid of those who live with great disability because its so unknown.... Debbie invited them into our home and allowed me to be part of the care. I am forever grateful for this.

I've recently heard a story of Debbie inviting a homeless man into her home ... for a while... until he found his way. Even bringing him home for family dinners... bless her heart.

..... so yeah... Debbie was an incredible human, a beautiful woman and my Mother.... how blessed am I.... 

My goal in life is to have people speak of my as highly as they speak of Her....

When she was 48 she was diagnosed with the dreaded C. 

"I have cancer" she said to me as she lay in the bed on the 3rd floor of the Duncan hospital ( this is the cancer floor... I knew before she even told me... I was here years ago to see my grandma) she held my hand and we cried..... mostly Me.... she tried tone strong.

She lived with the fear and the certainty that cancer would be what took her.... her best friend shared this with me years later.... she lived with this great fear, I can only imagine this was because her Mom died from Pancreatic Cancer.

For the next 4 months I grieved ... until it was time to grieve again... and then again and now... almost 19 years later I can't even see the keys there are so many tears in my eyes..... grieving ... doesn't end. 

There isn't a timeline. The pain doesn't empty out, you don't get rid of it.....and I'm not sure you "feel better".... the beauty is we just get better at feeling...

To notice even this weekend the close relationship that grief has to love... is it even different ? I am not sure anymore. 
Without DEEP LOVE there is no DEEP GRIEF.

I noticed myself even today just before I sat down to write that in one fleeting moment of weeping, body collapse, shortness of breath... there is also space for laughter, and dancing. 

We get to hold BOTH.... we get to hold both. 

They hold each other in a good way. 

To grieve is to remember and to honour what was ... who was.... 

What I took away from this weekend of workshop... is that there are losses in my life that I have maybe pushed passed and through rather than honouring the process of grieving. There is no finish line with the grieving process. It's ok to not be ok. Grief is love. I am grieving because I have been blessed to love so deeply.... and this is a gift

Debbie, I love you so much it hurts.... which I imagine is how it feels to have a child. 

I am listening to Elton John now in celebration of your life ... but I don't need to tell you this.. you're right here with me

xo Ky

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