My story starts years ago, when I was just out of high school and I suddenly lost my father to an unexpected and tragic death. That one single event, turned my (18 year old) world completely upside down. I decided I was going to stay on the path of working hard, trying to get back to some sort of stability and normalcy, still completely emotionally imbalanced from not allowing the process of grief. This is where my holistic journey began; the need to feel balanced, whole and healthy, was the start of my entire life. I started to really dig deep into the holistic practice of the world. I began using essential oils on a daily basis, I became a Reiki Master, and I became ordained as a Minister Practitioner.
As the New Year begins the stress can become overbearing and distress can appear more so than usual. As women and maybe even mother's, we begin to overthink things and our inner critic can bring us down. Are we doing what we need to be doing to succeed... are we being the best we can be for ourselves and our family... I know, I get it. Because of this, we might begin to miss family members that have passed as we look for comfort and security.
Grief is one of the most difficult things to "get over".
Just three days after my father's birthday, he became I'll. We all thought he just had a cold but, come to find out it was far worse. My parents were separated and I was visiting my dad at this time. The night that he was sick I had stayed at a friend's house. When I got back to my dad's house in the morning, unbeknown to me I would be walking in my worst nightmare. I rushed my father to the hospital and within minutes they told me to start calling family members because he was not going to make it. That is one of the absolute worst things a child could ever hear, that their parent had no chance of living through this, and I was only 18. I was scared not knowing what was even wrong with my dad, frantically calling my mom and my grandmother for them to come. They airlifted him to a specialty hospital and by the time we arrived hours later, he was on life support. As a family we had to make one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make, especially not having any real answers in the first place. Come to find out he was an undiagnosed diabetic and he ended up with an infection that he could not fight off. I will remember that day like it happened yesterday, for the rest of my life.
I tell you the story because for many years I had so much guilt around my father's death that I never fully grieved properly, per say. I went through all of the stages that they say is normal, but I never seemed to get past the anger.
Every summer I relived the nightmare of that day. Every holiday I missed my dad so much wanted him to share it with me. When my daughter was born I prayed that he would be there in spirit to help support me and meet his granddaughter.
It wasn't until a couple of years ago when I had an epiphany. They say that one of the stages of grief is to forgive. Well, it took me about 12 years to really figure this out. See, when I thought about forgiveness I thought about forgiving what I was actually mad at, and that was me. I was mad at myself for not staying at my father's house that night because I felt that if I had taken him to the hospital sooner, they would have caught the infection in time and he would still be
here. After all of my holistic studies over the years I realized that it wasn't just me that I had to forgive.
Every story has two sides, this was not any different. I felt that I had accepted what I had done so forgiving me was complete. I realized that the other side of this was having to forgive my father. But what would I have to forgive him for? He didn't choose to leave us so why should I be mad at him? It was then that it hit me... I had to forgive him for never getting regular check-ups, not being proactive with his health and not knowing that he was diabetic. Once I stated that
with so much energy behind it and I announced it to the universe with love for my father, that changed my entire perspective and I was finally at peace.
So I used this concept for everything that needed for giving in my life. Grief isn't only about losing a loved one to death, but can also be about divorce, a long distance move, or in any way that you no longer are with someone or something that you love.
Grief isn't just about death, it's about loss in general; divorce, separation, a big life change... all of these things contribute to grief. Every time something happened and I lost someone, I had to restart the entire process. Holidays became hard again and the stress only seemed to get worse as each year went on. They say that time heals all. I don't know if I fully believe that. I do believe that with time comes a chance to be able to cope with the hurt more. I believe that with time, you learn more ways to get through.
But I believe what truly heals and gives you freedom is forgiveness.
Forgive those who have hurt you. Forgive those who you've lost. And most importantly forgive yourself for any contribution you may have had towards your heartache. Be at peace this new year, and each and every day to come.
Rev. Heather Mattioni
This journal is for those who desire REAL solutions towards a happy, holistic life. You will find inspiring stories about my spiritual journey and life changing routines that I embrace everyday.
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