[This story features images in the clouds.] Hope is a funny thing. It is the very opposite of despair. We find them both in familiar places and paradoxically we also find them in the most unlikely spaces. When I consider all our family has been through in the last five years as our son fought cancer and then departed from this earth, my heart skips a beat. So many crushing emotions whirl through my memories and yet these memories are tinged with hope as well.
Beacon of Hope
Hope is sometimes all that is left to cling to during the tidal waves of grief. The waves drag us under and just when we feel we cannot hold our breath any longer, we suddenly emerge. Maybe not for a long time, sometimes just long enough to catch our breath and prepare as best we can for the next wave to come crashing through. Soon we learn that eventually the waves may recede…for a time.
Time and again I have lain on that beach, soaked in tears, tattered and weary in body and spirit. Often I have wondered, “How will I ever pick myself up again?” And then I see it. The light is faint at first and often comes from a totally unexpected direction. It is unpredictable in where it originates. But it never fails in its persistence and intensity to shine right through the darkness and illuminate my way back onto the path. Sure I’m drenched by the waves of spent emotion and not quite steady on my feet, but it lights the way clearly, this beacon of hope.
Where does it come from you may wonder, especially if you are still lying on that beach, stunned from the force of the waves of grief. The answer I am slowly discovering is while hope often comes from external sources, it is also found deep inside us all. Sometimes we find it in the kind words of a stranger or the meaningful actions of a friend. Even more difficult to believe is that we may find this hope deep inside our own grieving hearts.
Yes, I believe even through the depths of despair, hope is always waiting. A tiny glimmer to lead us all back onto the path.
Our family has been the recipient of many acts of kindness over the years. When I consider each and every one of them I am astounded for there are more than I can count. They have softened me and chipped the edges of the brittle armor of grief with the purity of their intentions.
Over time, my grief has waxed and waned. When it is really intense, I have discovered there is a story to be told and my feelings can only be fully understood and comprehended even by me once the story is written and released. So I poured my emotions into stories of grief and hope. With each little piece of me I revealed I felt a healing connection to my child and my own emotions. It isn’t easy to feel such intense emotions as I write. But miraculously, because I do not deny or stuff these feelings down, I believe they are able to move through me and I am able to breathe once more.
I started posting my stories on Noah’s memorial Facebook page six months after his death. This page has served many healing purposes in my life. It provides a platform to share memories of Noah, a safe place to share stories of grief and create awareness and funding for childhood cancer. I have always been a very private person; I shocked myself in creating this public page and revealing my most private feelings of grief and despair. You see, I could not be silent any longer; it was killing my soul to hold back all these emotions and feelings of impotence in not being able to save my son.
Above all, I just needed to be HEARD.
I was afraid at first, after all what would people think? I certainly did not want pity; that was not my intent. What I did want was for my son to be remembered, for my pain to be acknowledged but above all I needed a place to pour the water of grief flooding my soul; so that I would not drown silently and be left alone on that storm tossed beach.
Probably the most shocking thing of all was the response I received from my son’s memorial page. I was heard without judgement or expectation. Better yet, I was given support, love, compassion and the knowledge that I was not alone. It felt so healing to be able to share my deepest emotions and be received with acceptance and support. People connected so strongly and emotionally with these stories that I knew they were not just for me, they were helping others realize they were not alone on this path!
Finding purpose in the storm of grief is an astounding thing indeed.
Last year friends were visiting. It was a beautiful fall day so I coerced them into going for a walk to the rainbow bridge. Well, it’s not really called the rainbow bridge. It is a favorite place for me to go relax in nature on the lake near the flowing river of water. I often receive inspiration for stories here and take pictures and it was on the little bridge that spans the running water connecting two lakes where I saw the most amazing prism rainbow one day. While sharing this story with a friend, she laughed and recounted a memory of her grandchildren calling it the rainbow bridge for no apparent reason. So the name stuck.
It is the most surprising little treasure tucked between two main roads. A lovely path leads to the rainbow bridge and then over through the woods to the other side. An old part of a canal lock system, you can see the deep space that would have been part of the dam connecting two waterways in the past. There are benches and a little dock to sit on.
As the girls explored, I went down among the rocks and the trees to take some photographs. Here is one that illuminates the very essence of this story.
The middle tree trunk is broken off but is made whole by the column of light which cascades down completing it once more. Healing orbs of light illuminate the darkness with their vibrant purple and blue shades - just as my soul has received healing from the heavens above.
Afterwards, I sat on a favorite spot overlooking the flowing water and dock. The warm sun shone down on me and it felt so relaxing. I love nature; it is so calming and therapeutic. We were surrounded by many dragonflies, birds and squirrels that day. Sam showed her friend all the little nooks and crannies; they settled on the dock plunging their bare feet into the warm lake water. The dragonflies flew all around us, dipping and cavorting in the sun. Sam held her hand out and was delighted to have them land on her for a few magical minutes. The very water was alive with many small fish and the girls found this fascinating. As they looked at the fish and chatted I felt a contentment wash over me; I felt so grateful to have this peaceful moment in time. The quiet that settled over me chased away my whirling thoughts and chaotic feelings in the silence of simply being present.
Looking up to the sky as I often do, I saw a cloud which looked like a foot stepping forward. I smiled as I thought maybe this was a reminder for me to get moving and start focusing more on the things that nourish my soul. As I dreamily gazed at the lake in front of me, the sun sparkled and glimmered as though the sunbeams were dancing on the water.
My gaze rested on a wave of sparkling water that shimmered in the distance, when suddenly, it seemed to move with purpose, headed straight towards me. It caught my attention as one shimmering area seemed to take form, dancing and cavorting in glee. At the forefront, a tiny glowing shape seemed to lead the sparkles directly towards me. The magical image appeared curled up like the mast of a boat and it was sailing in quickly on the shining ripples of water.
At first, I was mesmerized, wondering what on earth it could be. As it drew near, I came out of my reverie and ran to the edge of the water. Kneeling down, it floated directly into my outstretched hands. I scooped it up and marveled at the small, curved, gray feather I held clasped in my hands.
One little feather on that huge area of water and yet it found me that day. Something so small and yet it lifted me higher than any material gift I have ever received.
It was one tiny feather of glimmering hope.
Several days later, I was surprised to learn I had been selected for the “Beacon of Hope” award presented by a local non-profit, charitable organisation, “Alex’s Safe Harbour”. To be recognized by an organisation which is dedicated to supporting children, teens and families grieving the death of a loved one was very meaningful.
I believe we all have a story to tell and when we lose a loved one their story needs to be told in all its sadness and glory. We all have the power to give and receive by simply listening to these stories with an open heart. Death is a certainty in life. As a society, we can support each other through this inevitable process by being open and reverent of each soul’s sacred journey here on earth. Our loved ones live on through us and the ways they have impacted our being. In turn these lessons and beautiful truths are passed down generation after generation. So in a sense we all live on forever even here on earth through the impact we have on other souls, especially our loved ones.
Take this story for example. By reading it, you have welcomed Noah’s memory and spirit into your being. Although short, Noah’s courageous life has impacted many who knew him. In reading these stories, you too are now part of the story. Thank you for allowing our family into your awareness and listening with kindness and compassion.
To die young is truly one of life’s great injustices. It is something we cannot control. But to be given a long life and never shine your light on other’s paths is a sadness I never want to feel. Open your heart and be the light.
We all have the potential to send sparks of light which when joined together, can form “Beacons of Hope.” It is my dearest wish that the stories on this site spark the flame of hope that lives inside us all.
Dawn | Reiki Master |
Dawn Williams is a Reiki Master in the Usui Shiki Ryoho/Tibetan Reiki Method of Natural Healing. Her work infuses Reiki with the Resonance of Symbolism & Intuitive Story. Open the Portal of Services to discover how to plug in to your own inner magic.