Memories ... the last dance...

Memories ... the last dance...

I have a distinct memory from when I was quite little…dancing with my Dad after dinner.  I was probably 3 or 4 years old, and after dinner each night, my father would put on the record player and teach me to dance.  My Dad was an older father, so the music was not of the time, but of his youth and he taught me how to waltz, to foxtrot and later how to jive. 

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The morning coffee ritual ...& life

The morning coffee ritual ...& life

This morning when ordering a take-away coffee, I ask the barista how he is doing?  With a big beaming smile, he shares that last night he proposed to his girlfriend.

Touched by the beauty of his delight, instantly my eyes fill with tears.  We laugh at my response and unperturbed he goes on to tell me the details of the proposal, as well as his desire to marry with all of his family present, including his elderly grandfather.

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Allowing a place for Grief...

This morning amongst the morning rush at the local café, I sit down at a table next to an elderly gentleman.  Perhaps it is the twinkle in his eye or maybe his gentle presence that invites the engagement….whatever it is, within moments, we find ourselves holding hands and through his faltering voice, I learn that this gentleman is at the cafe celebrating his 97th birthday.

His adult granddaughter attending to paying the bill and organizing a taxi to accompany her grandfather home, the gentleman and I stay together for a couple of minutes sharing each other’s presence.

The joy and sweetness of the moment pronounced, I become aware of the grief and sadness gripping at my heart within. 

I work hard to stay present to our shared experience.

After a while the gentleman is helped to standing by other members of the public, and as he leaves, we hold hands one last time.

Watching him as he shuffles towards the door, outside, I see the yellow taxi that will take him away.  I feel big full tears rolling down my cheeks.

My father died over a year ago, yet the grief still overcomes me when I least expect it.

Through my tears, I notice a group of older women nearby, who had witnessed this moment.  One of them reaches out to comfort me, and in response I ask in her experience does grief ever pass?  She shares the question with her friends…

One recounts how just yesterday, 29 years on, she found herself filled with tears of loss of her mother.  Another talks about the transformation of grief to sweet memories of joy.  And a further lady speaks to the passage of time being a part of the process of healing, yet acknowledges how she is still triggered to grief in unexpected moments, such as this scene today.  All agree on the need to express their grief and allow it to have its place.

Knowing there is truth in all, I thank them for their wise counsel and for sharing this moment with me.

Sitting in the café, I cry at the beauty of humanity. 

I allow my grief to flow.

I remember my father.

And I invite you, to allow a place, for the grief in your life….

If however, you find you are struggling to make sense of your grief, or loss is affecting your life beyond a way that you live with, seeking the support of a professional can help. 

(Trained as a whole-body focussing oriented therapist, Sarah Sacks is an experienced counsellor, who specialises in working in supporting people through periods of transition, especially around issues of grief and loss.)

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Sarah Sacks

Sarah is a qualified and experienced counsellor, meditation teacher and group facilitator. Sarah's years of body based based practices, in meditation and yoga, have led Sarah to believe in the inherent wisdom of the body. In line with this belief, Sarah has trained and qualified as a Whole Body Focusing Orientated Therapist, Transpersonal Counsellor, Holistic Counsellor, Meditation Teacher and Group Psychotherapy Facilitation. Over the last 5 years Sarah has worked in the not-for-profit sector, the community health sector and privately, as a generalist counsellor and group facilitator. Sarah has experience working with children, families and adults around issues of; isolation, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, anger, separation, addiction and general mental health. Sarah's warm and intuitive counselling style, along with her extensive life experience, enables Sarah to gently support her clients towards their own path of change. Qualifications - Bachelor of Holistic Counselling, Diploma of Transpersonal Counselling, Bachelor of Business (International Marketing & Trade), Diploma of Arts (Japanese), ACA (level 2), qualifying member for CAPAV

Do you allow yourself to be witnessed?

This morning was a significant day for our youngest.  Her fish had died, and she wanted to ceremonially bury it.  A small box was found, a hole dug, flowers picked and a cross made.  As she went to lay her fish’s coffin in the dirt, she looked around, and noticed that her siblings, caught up in the preparations for the day, had not made it out to the garden.  “I want them here with me” were her words.

Letting go of the rush of the morning, we gathered around in the garden … her two older siblings, the family dog, my husband and I, as she placed her beloved fish in the ground. 

It is these moments that bind us and these moments that build us - seeing others and allowing ourselves to be seen.

Reflection - In your life, who do you witness?   And do you open yourself up to the vulnerability and the love that can come, in allowing others to witness you?  

(Sarah is an experienced counsellor, who enjoys working with children and their families around issues of grief and loss)

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