When I am walking, driving, or obsessing over decisions big or small, I often speak to Jake. In the early months after his passing, I would look up at the sky and wonder if he was watching me. While heading to work, I would ask him questions no parent should ever have to ask her child, but I did. I needed to speak unfathomable words because the thoughts of "why" would not leave my brain. It was my hope that speaking the words out loud would relieve some of my burden.
I often described these moments as "meditation with Jake time." The days turned into months, and I longed to feel my son within me. Yet, I knew it was something that could not be forced. My husband Rob often shared with me that feeling Jake within his soul relieves some of the heaviness of his loss. This is how I came to understand that grieving parents still must and do grieve alone. We each feel the loss differently and cope with it in our own way.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to France. I was at a point in my grief journey where I understood the power of writing, talking, and practicing self care. However, I still dreamed of hearing or feeling Jake's presence. During the flight over, I wrote, If I could talk to Jake right now, I would tell him I miss him. I miss his smile and wish he were on this adventure with me. I was not certain I would ever connect with Jake. Many of the bereaved I have met shared with me that I must be open before I can receive.
While in France, I experienced my first ever Reiki session, and after this session with my holistic therapist, Claire, these were the words she received from Jake:
I am the grass
I am the trees
I am the water
I am free
The words carried with it a doorway that was opening in my mind and my body. In this session I felt something painful leave my right hand. The best way to describe the feeling was a tight muscle in my hand suddenly being opened up with pressure between my forefinger and thumb. I could feel something leave my body though my hand. Claire later told me that my hand was clamped down so hard, she literally had to open it and pull the energy out through my fingers. I wrote in my journal that night, How interesting that all of this energy left the hand I use to write with. I thought a lot about the words she shared with me and recall asking her several times to repeat them. The last time she repeated these words, my feet were on the grass. It was in that moment I choose to give power to them. As the week unfolded, not in my wildest imagination could I have foreseen what would happen to me next.
During my second Reiki session with Claire, I actually felt concerned for her because of the magnitude of my loss. It worried me that perhaps I would give over such sadness to another soul. I tried to enter into the session with no expectations. So, as I lay on the massage table waiting for her to enter the room, I focused on the tile floor, its color, size, and shape. As soon as the session began, I started to cry and breathe heavily-- the kind of crying where I could feel the hurt in my heart and my emotions physically ran out of me in tears. With each large exhale, I felt something leave my chest as if my lungs were congested and now they were opening up. As the tears dropped to the tile floor, I suddenly felt as if another tight muscle was being unknotted--something was passing through the sole of my left foot. I imagined Claire standing at the opposite end of the table pulling something out of my foot. This time I was not questioning the experience. I was merely becoming an active participant. It was then that these words entered my brain and have not left me since." Bye, mom let go."
In four words,I heard my son's voice. I answered him in three. "I am here." My son finally responded to me and then I realized he was always with me. I heard him repeat these four words over and over again. The more I focused on hearing Jake's voice, the more the image of my son became real to me. That night I journaled about the clothes he was wearing, his posture, and even the expression on his face. It all happened so quickly, and yet the words have not left me. In fact, by the end of my visit to France Jake was shouting these words in my ear so incessantly I started talking back to him out loud. " Yes,Jake. I am listening and I understand."
During my third Reiki session with Claire, I revealed my concern for her well being. She just smiled and replied, " You are not too much. The energy travels though you to me, and I release it." I then understood why I would often see her go for a walk alone. She had to release what she had absorbed. By my last session, I cannot recall if I shared my words with Claire. However, she shared her words with me:
"Let the tears flow to become a river that feeds into nature and frees broken souls.
You have to let your tears flow away to heal others. I see pink and purple flowers
rooting through your veins. As I focused on your feet, all of the roots dropped to the
ground. You were wearing a white dress and no shoes. You must begin to feel the
I left France with pink and purple flowers Claire found in an open meadow nearby. She gave them to me saying they were from Jake. I slipped the flowers into the pocket of my journal and felt satisfaction that I would be leaving France with my son in my soul and a physical object he wanted me to hold.
When I walk, drive a car or lay in bed at night wondering what my future journey will reveal, I hear my son speak to me. He is not gone but alive within me and speaking loudly.