Birth, Motherhood & Death.
As a birth & labour doula, I have had the distinct privilege of being present for many people's entrance into the world. Although each labour and birth is unique, my job always remains the same: support, support, support. Be present for that woman. Tell her she is strong and wonderful and beautiful and loved. Bear witness to her journey, and do what I can to ease her discomfort during this time of transition into the next phase of life: motherhood.
My grandmother recently passed away. This is sad news for our family, and she will be greatly missed. She died surrounded by her children, the ones who loved her most in the world. She was ill for a couple of weeks but her health declined rapidly early one morning and it was clear the time was near. My mother, aunts and uncle rushed to her bedside.
It occurred to me afterwards, they were there essentially to be her death doula. They were there to be present for her. To tell her she is strong and wonderful and beautiful and loved. To bear witness to her journey, and do what they could to ease her discomfort during this time of transition into the next phase of life: death.
When a baby arrives into the world, the scene is always the same. The room explodes with tears of love, joy, excitement and cheer - hooray! A new life has begun and we were all here to witness it! But at the end of life, the scene is different.
When the last breath left my grandmother's lungs the room exploded with tears of sadness, despair, and sobs of a deep sudden loneliness. My mother had lost her mother - a concept I can barely fathom for myself or my son. A mother is so much more than just a singular person. She is the sun around which the planets of her family turn. She is the heart of the family, the bearer of all life, and the root of all love.
My grandmother's passing affects us all - namely her children, grandchildren & great grandchildren - there are 26 of us in total. Here's a wild concept to consider: none of us would have ever even existed without her. One tiny, dainty, lovely little British lady is responsible for the whole crazy lot of us. She was the mother, the heart, the bearer, the root of us all.
This is the main reason I aim my videos and products toward health-maintenance techniques for mothers. Because honest to goodness, if mama ain't healthy, ain't nobody healthy!! As mothers, we are a vitally important person to so many, so we must must MUST take care of ourselves.
While I am sad to not have Nanny around in our day to day lives, I am happy she is at rest now for two reasons:
1) She was a large part of my life. I am happy we had those years together to know each other so well. She was a wonderful, kind, gentle, sweet, very stylish, proper little English lady. Whatever aspects of her personality managed to rub off on me, I am grateful for that.
2) She is no longer inhibited by her aging, ailing body. I am not necessarily a religious person, but I am certainly a fiercely spiritual one. I am a firm believer in the spiritual realm, so I know she is still with us and I take comfort in that. While it was a sad time for our family when she passed, I imagined her soul doing a graceful double backflip up and out of her very ill body. I am sad for us but I am happy for her. She is free now to continue to love us as hard as she did on earth, but now from a much more peaceful and powerful place.
From birth to death and back again - the circle of life is happy and heartbreaking all at once. But it's a necessary part of life and existing as a human being here on earth. Our time here is fleeting and can be over in a moment - I hope I am so lucky as to live to 89 as Nanny did. Once the tears dry and the heart mends somewhat, the experience of losing a loved one has a very clear message: live. each. moment. Lead with love. Have graditude. Don't waste a second of your time here on futile energy or fighting with loved ones. Life is short and precious - a fascinating, mind-blowing miracle. Having attended 14 births - including my own - has made that very clear.
Nurture your family. Repair your relationships. Optimize your health. Listen to your heart and follow your dreams. Make the most of your life and live it to the fullest. You get one shot, don't waste a drop.