In the wake of the tenth anniversary of the London bombings I’m writing this to anyone still affected by grief after a long time.
Ten years and two days ago, a horrific thing happened, which hardly bears thinking about, even now. It affected many people, not just those caught up in the incident themselves.
When tragedy strikes in the unexpected manner in which it did in the 7/7 London bombings, it is, of course, appalling. The shock, horror and all other emotions are overwhelming. Some may have come through this and become stronger as a result. Others may still be struggling, even years on.
My heart goes out to you if this is the case; I cannot imagine what it must have been like if you were a direct victim of the bombings, or a family member of someone who died, or someone who witnessed the suffering of those affected.
I do, however, know what it feels like to have a husband die from cancer (no comparison I know, and not intended to be). What I’ve discovered, though, is that in the grieving there is a gift to be found.
If you find yourself reacting to this statement, then maybe you are still hiding from your gift. Let me tell you about what I discovered.
I found my gift as a result of my husband’s death, there is no doubt about it.
I was propelled into an obsession with discovering what it is that is in a body that makes it alive one moment, and dead the next. Everything else was irrelevant.
As I watched my husband move from breathing to no breathing, I began to need, with a burning passion, to find out what it was that had been in the ‘filled skin-and-bones bag’ that had now become an empty bag before my eyes.
The life had been literally sucked out of him, leaving behind just a lifeless body, like a deflated balloon.
Discovering that we are not a body was a profound moment of realisation.
When you know beyond doubt that you are not a body, and neither is anyone else, then when the body dies it does not matter quite so much.
A heretic statement, maybe, and it certainly doesn’t take away the pain and sorrow of the loss. But it gets to be experienced in a different way.
Because when your thinking has turned upside down, and you realize that the body, with all its thoughts, feelings and sensations, is just a temporary home for who you really are, instead of your identity being solely housed in your body, then you awaken to moments of being.
Those are eternal; not subject to the laws of time, and allow connection with those that have died.
You may have found the gift in your grief already, whatever it is for you.
It may be nothing to do with not being a body. But if you haven’t found your gift, then I invite you to consider getting curious about what a body really is.
To explore this and discover for yourself that perhaps you and your loved one really are just a breath away.