When someone close to our heart dies, it feels like some kind of stability disappeared right beneath our feet.
I lost three very close family members within a few years and my lesson from it was very different than when it happened the first time. In 2014, just within two months apart, I lost both of my grandparents. At the time, I was living in China and being separated thousands of kilometers made it impossible to join the funerals.
Being so far away gave me an opportunity to deal with their death very differently. I believe that I was destined to deal with their death on my own. My mourning was so much different than it “should’’ be.
The day when my grandmother died, I had a very strong gut feeling that something was off. Although, I never check my phone during the night, that night, I felt the urge to do so. At 3 am, I saw a message from my dad about her death.
I was shocked, shivering, and in deep gratitude. You might ask why gratitude?
I know it sounds weird but my first natural response was gratitude for everything beautiful she had taught me. In my mind, I played over all the wonderful, loving, and funny memories that I had with her.
In my mind, I was telling her that everything was ok. I told her how happy and blessed I was to be part of her life. I also told her that she didn’t need to worry about me; I’d be fine and continue living her legacy.
Then as if a stream of thoughts was coming to me and I understood what her final message for me was. Let me share her legacy with you all.
From a broader perspective, one could say, that her life was ordinary – she grew up during a second world war, met a commissioned officer whom she married, had two beautiful and talented kids, worked as a director in a kindergarten, retired and died.
But, nothing about her life was ordinary. This is the biggest lesson that she taught me.
There are no ordinary moments.
For me, she was and will remain a role model. She was a wise and always elegant woman with a very distinctive style of expression.
It didn’t matter whether she’d be cursing about politics or talking about love, she would always speak nobly and with such a passion that I’d been able to listen to her for hours and yet hanging on her every word.
She was an artist expressing herself creatively in everything she did. She was a magician converting ordinary moments in magic.
Even when she reached a relatively high age, she’d dress up in the most fashionable clothes, wearing red lipstick and mascara, and her long blond hair styled in a bun.
She’d decorate every meal and make each lunch an enjoyable ceremony. She’d decorate her apartment and keep it light and clean and take care of her husband. She’d stay updated with everything what was happening all around the world and reading many books.
For me, this is the way of an artist. This is the magic of life.
Many people complain about missing deeper sense in their lives while missing the present moment.
For me, her legacy was that we can make every moment special because each moment is about expressing ourselves. It’s not about what’s happening, it’s rather about who we are in every moment.
We always have choice, and this is the true meaning of free will.
I realized that free will is nothing but a theoretical concept as long as we don’t behave as free human beings. It’s our choice each moment that makes the difference and our choice is a question of who we are.
Although, I was about 12 thousand km from my home country when she passed away, I could very clearly feel her presence and love. I remember as I stopped doing what I was doing because I was suddenly surrounded with love and felt deep inner peace.
I can still feel her presence and as if she’d be telling me that I should cherish every moment.
She taught me that I should look into eyes of people I meet and smile at them and listen carefully what they say. I should dance more, dress in my best clothes, and cherish my body with healthy food.
I should be an artist with a brave heart enough to express my deepest passions and be gentle as water flowing in the silent nature. It’s time for me to be pure and compassionate thus transforming each moment in magic.
Circumstances don’t matter; it’s our state of being that matters.
There are no ordinary moments for each second is an expression of you. @SylviaSalow (Click to Tweet!)
It’s our own uniqueness that is the greatest gift that we can offer. Live as you count and never settle for less than who you really are because everything that you really have is in now.
The morning after I learnt about her death, I put on the best clothes and went to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I was listening to the stories of my friends with my heart and genuine interest because I understood that it was the most valuable moment.
I believe that we can cherish death of others by listening to what they came here to teach us.
Sylvia Salow is a motivational public speaker, a spiritual life coach, and an author of two books. In her work, she encourages people to unlock their potential and let go of their fears and emotional pain that stops them from creating the life they desire. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of Jeremy Bishop.