My heart brims over with gratitude to the families I’ve served the past year during times of anticipating, acknowledging and honoring loss with custom ceremony. As a Life-Cycle Celebrant® creating ceremonies at the end of life, I’ve held space for quiet and personal sunrise and sunset rituals. I’ve helped co-create festive gatherings to celebrate full and mature lives, as well as bittersweet remembrances to honor lives those closest felt were altogether too brief.
One consistently true thread – as I bear witness to the loss of people and animal companions alike – is this:
loss as a universal human experience
brings us closer to the fullness of who we are
AND who we may become.
(Or as John O’Donohue more eloquently puts it in the blessing below: “nearer to our invisible destination.”)
When we love, we open ourselves to impermanence and it’s omnipresence. Painful, yes. And yet through the muck and darkness, much like the roots of the lotus, we can find our way into moments of beauty. Ultimately, we can bloom and surprise ourselves as we bloom again. It takes work and time. Remembering a life with love and lightness in our hearts may take effort. I am able to witness and personally experience not only the pain, but the beauty possible in this, too.
So it is with this thread of acknowledgment to the families with whom I’ve worked, along with those in the future whom I’ve yet to meet, that I offer these stanzas from a blessing written by poet John O’Donohue:
AT THE END OF THE YEAR
As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.
Days when beloved faces shone brighter
with light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.
We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
With this I offer you a sense of gratitude for whatever this past year held and hopes for a new year full of bringing you closer to yourself AND those you love: to abundance in living soulfully, strength in seeing the wholeness and connection to what is true.
My warmest wishes for a Happy New Year! ~ Kristine