I will always love you. I will always remember you. I will always cherish you. I will always be grateful to you. You have always been my number one supporter, and given me everything I could possibly want.
Your teachings have had a profound impact on the person I have become. Your creativity, your intelligence, your strength, your love and kindness, have served as an example of what it is to be a work of art.
Your legacy of love will carry on, and I will be sure that your Grand daughter knows all about you. I'm so glad you got to meet her and spend time with her while you were here. I loved watching you smile at her. I'll always remember that look of pure joy. Now that I'm experiencing parenthood, I have a new appreciation for that joy.
Thank you for giving me life. Without you, I wouldn't be here. Without my Dad I wouldn't be here. Without your love for one another, I wouldn't be here. How fortunate for me to have soul mates as parents. The Universe must really like me :)
My mission lately has been to develop a trust in Life that enables me to accept whatever it may bring. I feel that developing this trust in Life is much easier if you are brought up in a home that's safe and supportive, so in a way I have had a leg up in this mission.
However, regardless of how safe and supportive home life is, there is a big world out there full of people who weren't brought up by such a loving couple. It can be extremely challenging to maintain a high level of trust in Life once you've been around the playground a time or two.
But Love is my foundation, and years of covering it up with layers of protection can't change that. Now that I'm old enough and wise enough to see that I have been covering up that Love that I was born into, I am peeling back the layers to rediscover the core Love that we all share. That takes a lot of trust.
We have to trust that Life will be gentle with us as we become more vulnerable to it, as we gently surrender to it. We can be told that Life is trustworthy, and that it has our best interest at heart, but we ultimately have to find out on our own if that's true.
Inevitably, as we begin to put more trust in Life, something happens to throw us off. My Mom's initial diagnosis with cancer was a prime example. We were all very frightened when they found out because my Mom was in kidney failure and on death's doorstep. Despite the fatalistic view of some doctors at the time, she recovered to a large extent and was able to live for another year and a half. It's things like this that can shake our trust, but we need those challenges to help foster trust.
Over the last several years, I have learned that trusting Life is what makes it trustworthy. We create the world we see, and we can either see it as it truly is, from an open and trusting point of view, or we can see it as a dangerous and threatening place from the point of view of distrust.
In a way, the only control we have in this Life is the point of view we take. Life is going to have its way with us whether we like it or not. That's just what Life does. The only choice we have in the matter is Accept or Resist. In other words to trust or not to trust.
When we are reminded of how little control over Life we have, as often happens when a loved one passes away, it may create a heightened sense of fear, sadness and frustration. However, these reminders also create an opening for acceptance and trust to come in when we recognize the necessity of it all.
After all, if it has already happened, it was necessary. There is nothing we can do to change it, and there is nothing we could have done differently that could have changed it. Everything that happens is absolutely necessary, and when you accept that, you, in effect, accept everything for what it is, which is the secret to inner peace.
There are some important lessons here. If you are ready to be more at peace with whatever Life throws your way, the first thing is to know that you CAN be at peace during any given situation. The second thing is to realize that you might not want to be at peace during certain situations, which is perfectly fine, too.
Thirdly, your resistance to certain situations is also part of what is necessary. This is one of the key pieces to the puzzle of our return home to that place of trust and of Love - accept your resistance when that is part of your current experience.
Be compassionate toward that part of you that hates the way things are. What you are experiencing, whether we call it "good" or "bad" is necessary for your personal growth. Surprisingly enough, when you accept your own resistance, it no longer feels like resistance anymore.
Be kind to yourself. Don't hold yourself to some standard. Don't deny the unavoidableness of this moment. Allow room for the idea that Life has your best interest at heart, and that it's always kinder than you think. Allow yourself to surrender to Life once in a while when it seems like there are no alternatives. See what trust feels like when you're in a stressful situation.
My Mother made these words possible. Were it not for her, you would not be receiving this invitation to trust again right now. Much good has come from her life, and much good will continue to come even beyond her death. This is just a small taste of what she would have wanted you to hear.
I love you Mom,
PS - For more information about my Mom, JoAnn Carland, please visit www.carlandfoundation.org/JoAnn.html