Mother’s Day is not always the easiest for those of us who have lost our moms. No matter how OK I think I am I always miss her on this Sunday in May. But then I start thinking about how she would want me to be. Continuing to cultivate and honor my gentle side is a good start. Anyone who knew my Mom could see her unique gentleness and loved to be near it.
I always try to do something in tribute on anniversaries and holidays. These moments end up being some of the most spiritual cornerstones of my life. It’s crazy the way the universe seems to conspire to bring you absolute gold when you’re honoring someone.
On the tenth anniversary of my mother’s passing I took a reiki training workshop with Libby Barnett (who is amazing) and absolutely fell in love with this healing modality. It continues to further connect me with compassion and a softness of spirit that my mother definitely embodied.
At one point during our reiki training I was working with these two blonde mommies (that’s how I referred to them after, because of course that’s who I ended up with). They were also both nurses. One of them was skeptical of reiki, even though she had heard there was proof it helps patients pre and post-op and her hospital was paying for her to take the workshop. She had her hands on my shoulders during our session.
“I saw you!” she said, after the session, with tears in her eyes. “I saw you running through wildflowers and you had one of those ribbons on a stick! You know what I’m talking about?”
“Yes! I was totally obsessed with that ribbon on a stick,” I told her. “It came in the ‘Get In Shape, Girl’ toy pack. It was my favorite dance accessory.”
And she told me that she felt the intense love my mother felt for me, in that moment when I was little, now, and always. That she could feel that love, too, and all three of us felt it in that moment and wiped away those gratitude tears. It was the hugest gift.
Of course, three gals who were strangers with their hands on each other — sounds weird, right? But it wasn’t that weird. Another reason I had chosen to take this reiki training was that when my Mom died I had barely touched her at all because I had a cold that week and was afraid I would make her more ill. That, in retrospect, is way weirder than sharing the energy of our hands in a carpeted room in Watertown, Massachusetts. Ok, it’s sort of weirder. But you know what I mean.
My point is I really regretted not putting warm hands on my Mom as she was going through that last phase of her life. But reiki training turned that around. (And I love putting reiki energy into everything I do, like my perfumes, music, food, etc.). Sometimes it takes something you could consider unorthodox, just to stretch yourself a little, for the universe to spark up in all its wild majestic weirdness and meet you.
Last summer I went on the most lovely women’s summer solstice retreat on Nantucket that started on my Mom’s birthday. I don’t consider myself to be super comfortable with strangers so that was out of my comfort zone, too. And it ended up being life-changing. It moved me out of this overly-analytical brain into my heart center and I’m looking forward to going on that retreat again this year.
Tribute can be anything. Sing a song. Do something nice for someone in the name of a loved one. Stretch your heart a little. You don’t have to go put your hands on blonde strangers. But if that sends a frisson up your spine, by all means, you magnificent weirdo. We’re human, after all, and it’s all pretty strange.
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
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