Monday, May 18, 2020

Voices of Experience: Noticing The Signs

It’s only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.  ~ Antione de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

If you are like me, you want to know if the person you miss is at peace, happy, and is okay. You may have asked, “Is my loved one really in heaven? or “Is her spirit still with me?” You may struggle with these questions and look for proof and validation, as I originally did.

About thirteen years ago during the start of the holiday season, I received my first recognizable message from my mother, who had died suddenly several years before, at what was supposed to be the happiest time of the year--Christmas. One evening, while sitting in Jacob’s nursery, I realized how lucky I was to have this new baby with whom we’d enjoy our first Christmas together. After two miscarriages, I wasn’t sure if I would ever have a family of my own, and now I did. 

Since Mom died right before Christmas, I’d never celebrated this time of the year with joy. I’d even made a habit of not looking forward to it during the past ten years. But this year was different. I had a new baby. And since Christmas is about the celebration of birth and new life, perhaps it was possible this season could be different. I was open to a sign. 

Jacob’s room was warm and comforting, the walls a faux finish with a lovely combination of blue, yellow, and light pink that I had painstakingly selected to create the perfect room for my child. The blue-sky ceiling played off the white wooden rocker, crib, dresser, and bookshelf filled with fun kids’ books. This was a room I would have loved to show to Mom.

I got an intuitive hit to listen to Sarah McLachlan, my favorite singer since Mom had passed ten years earlier. Sarah’s latest CD, Winter Song, had just come out, and I popped it into Jacob’s music player and listened as we snuggled on the floor. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” came on, and upon hearing the chorus, I knew. 

This was it. The sign. Mom’s spirit was telling me to go on. That it was okay to enjoy Christmas again, especially with my new child.  Christmas had arrived early that year—the day that I banished self-doubt and learned that it is indeed possible to continue to connect and communicate with loved ones. Forever. And that was the best gift of all that Christmas season. 

About the Author: Chelsea Hanson is a nationally-recognized grief educator and founder of With Sympathy Gifts and Keepsakes, an online memorial gift boutique and grief support center. She now lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin with her husband and son. Having lost both her parents at a young age, Chelsea found her true purpose in grief support and legacy work, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a grief support specialist with certifications in holistic life coaching and life legacy preservation. By connecting her 20 years of business expertise with her true calling, she is an entrepreneur who specializes in grief products and programs to help others transform personal setbacks into opportunities to live a meaningful life. She believes that change is inherent in life, whether in birth, death, illness, aging, or other unwelcome losses. But these changes need not cause permanent, ongoing suffering, she says. The death of a loved one is inevitable, but being paralyzed by fear, anxiety, and grief is not. "Joy, love, and even peace is possible again when you desire healing,"explains Chelsea. "While you cannot control loss, you can proactively guide your own healing. Time along with effort, the intention to heal, and conscious mourning will gradually bring comfort. Healing is possible.”

Chelsea Hanson's new book, The Sudden Loss Survival Guide: 7 Essential Practices for Healing Grief will be released on May 19, 2020. Through the application of simple, proactive practices, along with understanding the basics of grief—how to work through it and how to make it easier—Chelsea delivers the essential answers and tools needed to survive, cope, and heal from the devastating impact of sudden loss. The book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound and Indigo Chapters. 

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