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Toronto: The Day the Universe Knew – Flavours of Grief and Support

It was a day I set aside for a few reasons, but, unbeknownst to me, it was the day that became so much more.

It started with an alumnus and me who shared in the love of Cam. What we shared together was SCHC, baseball games, almost getting run over by a car, dinners, and lots of laughter. Cam died this summer and it was like a freight train for both of us.

We decided months ago that we would visit Cam’s grave – we did. It was a beautiful, colourful Autumn day. Sun kisses, blue skies, crisp air, and thoughts of Cam came together like tiny gifts of his spirit.

Only moments before the cemetery I had received the news that my aunt had died. It was a winded blow and then a deep exhale of loss. The grief was excruciating.

At that moment, with an overwhelmed mind and a tender heart, I pondered my plans for the day. I had 4 meet-ups with different alumni, back-to-back, no breathing room… what do I do? The choices:

  • Mourn the loss in a hotel room far removed from my home and my kin who were provinces and time zones away – most likely producing in panic and helplessness, with too much time to spare.
  • Go visit the alumni, but judge myself for not grieving in what others might conceive as a ‘normal grieving process’
  • Go visit the alumni who have scheduled time in their day to check-in and visit with me. To go spend time with them and be mindful and realistic that ‘we may not have this opportunity again’

I go with #3. It’s really about listening to yourself, taking everything into account, and taking in your surroundings. The world gives you what you need. That day I was truly gifted with time, support, kindness, and the presence of others.

One of our alumni asked if I wanted to take in a basketball game, but in the back of my mind I think, “what will people think, you didn’t care that much or it doesn’t hurt that bad?” Oh, it did, but at this junction in my life, I knew more about myself than ever before. I knew that missing the latter would have hurt me more in the short term and the long term. I listened to what resonated with my heart and what a eureka moment I had in the end.

It was a hard day in many ways, but it gave me so much and for that I am grateful. A lesson in mindfulness and a profound day of practice for me. Man, do I get it now. I find it quite interesting the ideas we attach to these kinds of things. That night I still cried hard, but it was a day better spent in company than in sorrow.

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