Grief and loss are challenging things to face, and they affect everyone. The impact of loss varies based on someone’s perception and experience. Grief can be felt from losing a valued item, going through a breakup, or facing the transition (death) of a loved one. Grief, simply defined, is a feeling of deep sorrow.
Five and a half years ago, I had a vision of my dad dying. I couldn’t fight the choking feeling in my throat, the sadness, and the fear. I called him sobbing and told him about my vision. My dad knew that I was very intuitive, so he was not surprised at all about my vision, nor was he surprised to hear me being so upset.
Calling him opened up a dialogue that I believe every parent and child would like to have before one transitions. My dad spoke very calmly and said, “You’re picking up on a lot of death around me. A lot of people I know have died. I’ve been feeling sad about it, so you feel that too. If I were to die today, I would be content. I’m very happy with my life. I have wonderful grandchildren. I’m proud of my children. I’m proud of you. All of my daughters have degrees! If I died today, I’ve lived a good life.”
Of course, this was comforting, but at that time, it was upsetting too. Hearing my dad say those words let me know that he was ready to transition whenever it was time. He was in his late 60’s, which is still young to me, but I knew deep down that I had to find peace with his perspective. He lived through many historic and painful events and was able to see the positives despite them.
Secretly, I think my dad knew I was concerned about our time together. I was working towards an independent counselor license and working two part-time jobs, so my trips back to my hometown were limited. My dad began calling me every morning around 7:00am and we talked during my 45-minute commute to work. The conversations were priceless. At the end of every call, he wished me a blessed day and told me he loved me. This went on for quite some time.
Two years later, I went to Ghana, West Africa for a month and returned home, ready to share about my experiences. During summertime, I went back to my hometown and spent time with family. I shared with my dad about my trip. He told me he was proud of me and glad that I went to Ghana. By that time, our calls were not as frequent, but they were still quite rich. During my visit, my dad also shared with me that he liked what I was doing with my Metaphysical work, and he showed me some metaphysical and spiritual books he was reading.
Months later, things changed.
Everywhere I went, I kept seeing butterflies. I LOVE butterflies and usually feel excited when I see them, but during that time, I had an eerie feeling. The butterflies were giving me a message that I wasn’t ready to receive.
The more I tried to ignore them, the more they got my attention. I’ll never forget three distinct times I saw them.
- I remember going to a coffee shop and facing the window while I worked. I looked up and saw about 30 butterflies flying by like a flock of birds. It gave me chills, but I shook it off.
- I was driving on the highway and looked at my side view mirror. There was a butterfly flying in sync and very close to the mirror. The butterfly did not fly away when I stopped at my destination, but it lingered by the window. I shook the weirdness off again.
- I was walking to a parade with a friend. It was crowded, so I had to walk behind her since she knew the way. In the midst of all the people and flowers, a butterfly flew down and landed on her back (which was right in front of me). In that moment, I had a strong, eerie feeling.
The day before that parade was September 11th, my dad’s birthday. I called him to let him know I would come see him and celebrate his birthday the weekend after because of training and a dance performance during his birthday weekend. I didn’t get an answer, so I left a message for him.
Well, that night of the parade, I got the call. My dad had transitioned.
Looking back, I can equate my response that night as being in shock. I didn’t cry or rush home. I stayed calm and tried to be supportive to my family members. The next day, I cried some, but I still did the dance performance because my dad loved to dance. I only told two people about his death, and I went to my hometown afterwards.
Planning a funeral took “adulting” to the next level. There I was, under 35, with my mother and siblings discussing caskets, headstones, obituaries, funeral service times, and the burial site. My mind kept flipping between thoughts that the next ceremony we planned should have been a wedding or a bridal shower at least, not a funeral.
The first few years after his death, I worked like there was no tomorrow. I had a full-time job, did public speaking engagements, and was on different committees and organizations within my spiritual community. The experiences were amazing, but emotionally I was distracting myself.
Finally, two years after his death, I gave myself full permission to let go and grieve.
I recognized my disappointment that my dad would not be physically present to see me get married. I was not happy with not being able to talk to him on the phone anymore. I was haunted when I went home and drove by the house we grew up in, knowing he wasn’t in there. I was angry that he didn’t live at least until I was 40 or older. Realistically, all of these feelings are normal.
Grief is not a linear process. I tell this to my clients and I know it to be true. Elisabeth Kubler Ross was a psychiatrist who came up with the Five Stages of Grief. They are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Although these stages were initially identified to address the process that someone goes through when facing death, it also applies to the surviving loved ones as well.
As a “Millennial” who is already dealing with many normal life challenges, I was not expecting to deal with my father’s death so soon. As a therapist, I know that the reason many people feel sadness when someone dies (or goes away) is because the person’s physical presence is absent. We no longer see the person, hear the person’s voice (in real time), experience the person’s touch, etc. As a Metaphysician, I have learned to transmute this experience into an empowering one. I know that energy is never lost; it only changes form. I know I can access the energy of my dad through the metaphysical skills I have learned over the years, and it is comforting to me.
If you are dealing with the loss of a parent, allow yourself to go through the process and know that some days are easier than others. Don’t be afraid to seek support when needed.
When you think of the transitioned parent, consider these three things:
- What positive messages did you get from your parent?
For example, my dad told me he was proud of me, proud of the work that I do, and he likes my Metaphysical work. He also shared that he felt like I understood him.
- What characteristics or positive traits did you inherit or learn from your parent?
My experience with my dad helped me to see that it is okay to be quirky and free-spirited. My dad traveled when he felt like it, danced up into his 70’s, and he was artistic (drawing, photography, played guitar). I’m not afraid to ask questions. I dance, enjoy being creative, and follow my flow.
- Remember, your parent is always with you.
You are a living, breathing expression of your parents. Their presence is in your DNA. Even if it is a step-parent or if you are adopted, their energy is still with you because it has shaped or influenced you.
Energy is never lost; therefore, you are never alone.
With love and light,
Dana (Intuitive Dana)