A TIME OF CHANGE: Honouring endings and embracing new beginnings

 

Always remembered for her devotion, duty, dependence and deep faith… The loss of Her Majesty the Queen has had a big impact on the nation as whole because she was such a constant steady anchor in what has been a time of great change and uncertainty in the world. It’s important to therefore understand and honour the feelings that may have risen to the surface in each and every one of us too (whether we are fans of the Royals or not) as we say our final goodbyes.

Both grief and change can be a challenge and so it’s important to be kind to ourselves and those around us as we navigate these feelings by honouring endings and embracing new beginnings. For some it has meant embarking on a pilgrimage of sorts to say a final farewell and none of us can have failed to have been amazed by the huge queues in London waiting to pay their last respects to her Majesty lying in state in Westminster Hall. But for others it’s simply been a time of quiet contemplation and reflection. Either way (and whatever our feelings about the monarchy) there is no denying that the outpouring of love and respect has been immense.

There is no right or wrong way to navigate loss, but I think it is important to honour endings whatever shape or form that takes before we move on to the next chapter in our lives. There is often a tendency today in our super-fast paced life to move on to the next thing before we take the time to respectfully release the passing of the old but just like mother earth has the seasons – we too should take the time to honour the different stages in life. This is also true when we are navigating the end of a relationship that hasn’t worked, the loss of a job or any other large life event which involves a significant ending in some way or another.

While life is largely filled with love, laughter and lighter pleasures it would be remiss of us to not prepare ourselves for the inevitable downs too and one thing we can all be sure of is that change is unavoidable and that we will all lose things and people we love. Sadly, the pain of loss is inevitable and life is not just a series of happy social media posts. We are all battling our own challenges and sometimes I think it would be far more helpful if we all openly talked more about our losses and prepared ourselves and our families for the more painful life events too.

As we mourn a woman (who was by many) considered a ‘grandmother of a nation’ it may also remind us of those close to us that we have loved and lost and that’s OK. We may just need to hold the space and allow any feelings to be gently processed. It may trigger old pains or deep-rooted grief because it plays right into our some of our own greatest unconscious fears of abandonment, loss and of course questions around death itself. So don’t be hard on yourself, if you unexpectedly find yourself upset, in tears or feeling a little out of sync as we witness a nation in grief. Just be aware of what comes up for you personally and view whatever that is without judgement. Maybe it has come to the surface to be released into healing.

Losing someone we love can be one of the most difficult things that we ever have to cope with, and it is natural for us to experience many unhappy feelings that we find hard to bear. We all go through the grieving process in our own way, and the emotions we experience may change from day to day; ranging from denial to guilt or blame or even anger at a loved one for leaving us. Others sometimes talk about a numbness and find it hard to express any emotion at all or even feel that a part of them has died too. While time is a great healer, the true final stage of healing is one of acceptance, and this is a stage that most of us do eventually reach – we may just sometimes need a little help.

Let us not forget that it’s a wonderful achievement of loyal service when you realise that Elizabeth II’s reign of 70 years and 214 days was the longest of any British monarch and the second-longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country. She also held the title of ‘Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England’. Her pledge to be of service to her people is in fact another great reminder to all of us that we are all in fact living here on earth to be of service to each other. Whatever our role, or our profession: – parent, teacher, therapist, carpenter, the list is endless. Ultimately, we are all here to serve a greater purpose and serve each other. None of us are islands we are all intrinsically connected and so it’s no surprise that families and communities find themselves coming together at times like this to support one another.

It’s fair to say her Majesty understood this and saw the country through some stormy times over the years including her own ‘Annus horribilis’ but remained a steadfast beacon of hope to many. It seems fitting, therefore, that a double rainbow appeared over Buckingham Palace as the clouds cleared and the crowds gathered to honour her memory.

This was also particularly poignant for me because at the time I heard about the Queen’s death I too saw a beautiful rainbow. I wasn’t in London though or near Buckingham Palace. I was simply outside, walking my dog, hundreds of miles away in the leafy countryside. But just as the news alert flashed up on my phone my eyes diverted upwards to the sky, I also saw a kaleidoscope of colour. But there was something really magical about this particular rainbow because for the first time in my life I saw the end of the rainbow falling into the very field I was standing in and I went over and stood in that exact spot . “I will remember this moment my whole life” I thought.

Sometimes life itself seeks to send us simple messages and the fact that a double rainbow symbolising new beginnings and magical transformations appeared was probably the most profound and fitting natural tribute of them all….

Can you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news?

 

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