11 Jun

Today is a day I look back and acknowledge grief.  My dad died a year ago- it was a peaceful end to an amazing life.  I was grateful to be with both of my parents- one year apart during their process of transition. I thought I would be sharing about my dad today- but it is my mom’s  image that persists.  

My mom was a woman of drive, a force- she held a BS of nursing back when few women In the US got 4 year degrees. Despite her stated desire to just be a wife and mother, she pursued her career successfully.

Mom was smart, remaining active in mind and body- yet dementia still overwhelmed her. Dementia had freed her a bit. She no longer had to hold onto her bravado, which was often her armor. The person she felt she needed to project to feel safe. No, now she was sweeter, more compassionate, more accepting.

And though she remained the bright laughing mama I had come to love, the disease robbed her of other valuable parts of her personality and we found some gratitude that she would finally be released from the confines of this illness.

She didn’t go easily- her gradual passing was noisy and difficult to observe. I had stayed with her for the nights she was at the inpatient hospice. One morning,  I had returned to my hotel to refresh with a shower and walk around the beautiful Lake Eola.

I know that you find dragonflies at the water- I have seen them near many lakes and ponds where I live. Never though at Lake Eola. Maybe I was too busy watching the ducks and swans walking and floating at the park and ensuring that I didn’t get attacked as I crossed their path or wandered near a nest. But in the 4 years I had spent enjoying the Lake at all times of the day, I had never seen a dragonfly.

This day as I shook off my sleepy sadness - a dragonfly came to me- flying around my head- and then leading me forward, and repeating this. I marveled! Love the Dragonfly! And then realized- I was hit with the reality- my mom was gone.

I returned to the hospice- a quick 5 minute walk - and saw my dad standing with mama. I could sense the shift in her room. He didn’t know she was gone- but I did.

The year prior, I had already named my business Odonata, the order of the Dragonfly.  This fierce creature was already an image in my life- often coming to me in places no dragonfly should wander. I wasn’t always looking and listening then, but the dragonfly would not be ignored. She was a force-just like mama.

So I will forever honor my mom, her infectious laughter, her broad smile, her beauty and amazing sense of fashion. Her athleticism. Her great love for me and her family. Her devotion to God. Her outward strength.

I walk through the world, sensing her essence but also knowing that I am my mom- I am my parents. They are within me. The lessons I learned from them, are personified within me. I share them everyday without realizing. I am the reflection of my parents, reimagined in the person I have created. Like a sculptor, I molded what existed, blending in experiences, and inner wisdom to evolve into Gina. I am not my mom or dad, but I am me, and am a product of their spirits.

The dragonfly is often seen as a symbol of transformation and change. I now embrace life shifts as they occur knowing that growth is constant. I am grateful to accept my continued evolution and I will welcome the message of the dragonfly- be open to change.

Reiki has been a part of this journey. My connection with the energy has helped guide me to a greater state of peace, one where I can see my past and it’s value more clearly. One that helps light the way as I go forward.

After mom died, I returned to my hotel for some rest. While I waited at the elevator, the dragonfly reappeared. She chased and circled me for some time until I sat down in the lobby to watch and be in the presence of this wonder.

I don’t see dragonflies anymore like I had over a 10 year period prior to my mom’s transition. I no longer need to. My ability to see the change before me is internal and eternal. Just for Today, I am grateful to have come to accept change. Thanks mama and Odonata! 

Grief is felt routinely whenever we experience loss. What do you feel you need to help move through these intense feelings?

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