I’ve been looking back and connecting my own dots lately. I’m not sure why, perhaps because suddenly my daughter seems to be growing up at warp speed, or maybe it’s because the calendar is telling me I’ve just made another trip around the sun this month and the reflection of memories and relationships are coming to mind.
I am fascinated by relationships. Of course, in recalling my path, it is easy to see why, although at the time there were moments it seemed impossibly difficult and painful. Relationships have played a huge role in my life, in helping me see who I am, what I am meant to do, and how to expand, grow, and find true meaning and fulfillment in life.
There are three relationships in particular that have touched my very soul and are a significant reason I’m a life & relationship coach today. Looking backward, I can’t help but have reverence for the connections of these three relationships in my life.
I was with each of these three beautiful people at their deathbeds when they passed away. And, ironically, I was holding each of their hands as they crossed over.
I was intimately involved during the last few years leading up to their deaths, spending my days with them, traveling with them to hospitals or nursing facilities, caring for them, and loving them. And being loved by them.
It’s funny, I’ve spent a large part of my life missing those relationships that mattered to me so dearly, only to realize that the biggest gift they gave me was allowing me to matter in return, and to show me the most beautiful parts of myself. And so in that way, they are each still with me every day.
I saw a transformation in each of these dearly loved ones in the final months before their deaths which has touched me deeply, and taught me lessons which no other teacher, spiritual guru, or methodology has even come close. I have learned that relationships, and not just end-of-life relationships, are mirrors to the true essence of who we are.
The first of these three journeys occurred while I was in my late teens, as I experienced my beloved grandmother’s battle at age 72 with stage 4 colon cancer. She underwent surgeries, chemotherapy, and finally what was for me a very difficult death to witness.
The second was in my early 30’s as I traveled with my dad, who was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer at age 57, given 2-6 months life expectancy, and who passed away nearly two years later.
The third time was just a few years ago, during what most people would consider mid-life, in my early 40’s. My dear uncle passed at the age of 93, having lived a long and healthy life, but who struggled at the end with the loss of independence and self-reliance.
With each death, thoughts such as “did I do enough” and “should we have made different choices, or have selected different treatments,” haunted me. I carried deep self-judgement and responsibility for the choices made and for the outcomes.
It has taken me some time to come to peace with this, but now I know without a doubt we each do have our own journeys. And it is the connections of love along the way that matter in the end.
Finally, I now know that I made a difference as each of these amazing souls came to the end of their travels here on earth. We did the best we could with what we knew at the time.
At the end of the day, to have been there for someone, and to know you have made a loving difference in their life, means you have mattered.
And it all comes back to love.
We as human beings want to know we matter. That our lives matter. It’s how we find fulfillment.
The lessons I learned from these three beloved souls, and the journeys we took together are deep and far-reaching for me. I am not one to believe in mere coincidences, and so I see meaning and significance in the timing in which I experienced each of these journeys during my life.
I have come to learn that relationships are indeed our greatest treasures, our wisest teachers, and deep mirrors to our strengths & beauty, and they also shows us where we need healing.
But these mirrors are not just present at the end of life. They are there in the living, the day to day interactions and relationships. The value of healthy and fulfilling relationships in life is immeasurable.
At the end of the day, it’s our relationships that matter. And the relationships that truly matter are relationships that are mutually connected, mutually respectful, and mutually honoring of one another.
They are in our lovers, our friends, our family, and our businesses. They are at work, at play, and at home. They are even there when we are alone, in the relationship we have with our very selves, and also in the dust and fallout that is left behind from the relationships of our past.
Each relationship in our lives reflects a part of us, if we are willing to see it. I’ve learned never to take for granted the treasure of the deep and delightful relationships I have in my life every day.
I’m deeply grateful that I’ve found this treasure in my living…. in the relationship with my man – in the strong yet tender support of my husband & best friend as he holds my hand in his, connecting us in love and partnership.
It is in the relationships with our children, as I am reminded each time I look down at my daughter’s small hand as it is tucked into mine many times throughout the day.
It is in the laughter and good times with dear friends as we have that playful high-five, or clink of glasses over a good joke, connecting moment, or great times.
Or as we comfort, or am comforted, by the touch of hand over hand during those moments of sadness or loss.
It is even in the seemingly casual business and work relationships, as we shake the hand of an associate, or meet someone for the first time, feeling the goodwill and connection.
Hopefully, as you read this, you are thinking of the hands you have held in your life, or are holding now, that have connected you to the truth about yourself.
You do have a choice in how a relationship affects your life, if it is connected, healthy and thriving, or if it is draining and a one-way flow of energy.
Perhaps we lose some loved ones way too early in order to remind us how precious and fragile life is, and to show us how to live in our own true, authentic joy now, today, while we are doing the living. To matter to each other. And to honor the treasure of healthy and fulfilling relationships in your life which support your authentic joy, and reflect the beauty within you.
Your relationships matter. You matter. Even if we haven’t spoke, or met, I hope you can feel that you matter to me. Because you do.
Until next time — Live Well, Love Well, Be Well.
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