While at the gas station the other day waiting for the tank to fill up, I thought about all that I had to do in the next few weeks. I was looking forward to spending the holidays with my family and friends. I was also excited about the coming year and penning my New Year Resolutions. Over the years it had become a tradition for me on New Year’s Day to walk a labyrinth with friends and later when alone write out my goals for the year. I’m a Capricorn and having goals to look forward too is part of my nature. I have several projects that I want to bring to fruition, but each has it own little challenge. I felt as if I was spinning my wheels and going nowhere.
When I looked up to replace the gas nozzle of the hose back into place, I noticed a woman dressed in all black walking towards me. I know her I thought, but I couldn’t remember from where. As she walked passed me without even a glance in my direction, tears came to my eyes, and I remembered. She was the mortician for my son who died almost nine years ago. Tears flowed as I was no longer in the year of 2009, but in 2001. My heart was heavy with grief and pain. Finally, getting a gripe on myself, I drove out of the gas station thinking about how in January it would be nine years since my son made his transition. Gradually as the day progressed the heavy emotions lightened and my rational mind returned. I asked myself what lesson was there for me to learn from that experience.
Later that evening I pulled out my 2001 journal to review the last nine years, the end of a cycle. Many of the entries were ridden with grief thoughts of a mother gone mad. I cried a second time. Closing the journal, I knew I wouldn’t find solace in it. For days I wondered what this experience was all about.
While shopping one day, I picked up a skein of yarn to crochet a hat and scarf for a Christmas gift. The color was black and as I held onto the yarn, a flood of thoughts came into my consciousness. The lady in black was a wake up call. The black she wore represented death, not in the sense of dying, but the releasing of old beliefs and stuck emotions that would no longer work for me in a new cycle. Standing in the middle of a parking lot, I released the grief emotions I still held onto. Like the Ghost Whisper, I had sent my son to the light many years ago, but I was still holding onto the grief.
And I needed to see and understand what was blocking my progress.
As I drove home from the store, the projects that I thought were so pressing, no longer worried me. I immediately knew what I had to do to move them forward. But more profound was the feeling of freedom that I felt. Even though for a moment in time the grief consumed my heart because I wouldn’t let it go out of guilt, it had now turned to joy; the joy for having the opportunity to walk part of my son’s path with him and the joy of receiving and understanding the symbolic message of the lady in black that life is about beginnings, endings and regeneration. It’s okay to grieve, but you also have to know when to let it go.
This article is dedicated to my son Antoine Aparicio and the victims and families of 9/11.