Just prior to Shyla's passing, we moved from our home of 10+ years. There, we lived a life together that was filled with conscious moments, simple living, and the deep, deep gratitude for the land and our home. Our humble, one room, 16 x 16' home.
Even though Walter had passed a few years prior to our leaving, there was a continuity in experience together on the land. And when we left, the memories of the land, our cabin and our time together were fresh in my mind. We had come from a shared experience into a new one, Shyla and I.
But, now that she's gone and the land is gone and Walter is gone, there's a deeper sense of loneliness. No one is carrying on that shared experience. My intimate sangha is gone. It is only me, with memories that my busy life leaves little room for.
I remember thinking shortly after Shyla had passed-- I had landed myself in an incredibly beautiful new home in a completely different micro-climate in Lake County and there was no one still here that had lived the cabin life with me-- Was it all a dream? Did I really live this life of awakening, simplicity, and deep gratitude? There are no longer any long-term witnesses other than myself. Was it real? This reflection has created an even deeper sense of loss.
Today, life continues on. The leaves are beginning to turn color and I find my way through most days. Some days are filled with questioning of, "What am I still doing here?" or deep sobbing through thoughts of "I don't want to live anymore if I can't have the companionship and the wakefulness that was present in my life with Shyla."
Today, I try sitting real still in the forest to remember what it was like when she was with me on a walk. And on rare occasion I can actually feel her. I can energetically feel her nose nudging me, "Come on mom let's go!" Remembrance of her yippity skippity style as I trudge on down the path adds a little lilt to my step and I can remember what fun it used to be to go for a walk--even a brief one.
I want to be reunited with her. I want the wakefulness I experienced being with her; the knowing that the experience was happening with someone else.
There is a whole new way of learning how to be in the world and I'm not sure I'm up for it. This deeper mourning is more than i bargained for. But, as i responded to a friend who was surprised to hear of some of my deeper feelings of not wanting to live anymore, "I've read my book. I have the tools to companion myself through this part of the journey." We laughed and cried because we started our talk with news about a mutual friend who recently had taken his own life.
These tools I've learned help me sit with my thoughts, feelings and process and not necessarily react or act on any of it. For me, most of the time the action remains a choice regardless of where my thoughts may go. This is one of the many benefits I've received from meditation--the power to choose my response.
An equally deep gift I've received from recovery is learning what I have the power to change. Shyla has passed. She did so in my arms. I sat and meditated with her body for a few days after and attended her cremation. She's gone. Her physical form will be no more, except in dreams and remembrances. This I can't change.
My mind's nature is to think. Sometimes I can't control the thoughts. Using them all together (meditation and recovery tools) and relying on grace, i think i can maneuver through this process of mourning consciously and compassionately. It sometimes seems to have only just begun and now it seems to be taking a real shift in depth and breadth...