Photo: The Lee Valley where we spread Gus’s ashes
Authentic Connection – Part Three (following on from Part one and Part two)
Avoiding or Creating Authentic Connections – it’s our choice.
Not long after Dylan’s death, a long standing friend of almost 20 years – withdrew, and to this day still ignores me. Since she won’t talk with me, I have had to understand the reason she withdrew without her input. I consider at least some of the reason was a conversation we had.
She had been a support for my family and I for many years. One day, a few months after Dylan’s death I was expressing to her that I was still struggling with Dylan’s departure and she answered that he was still around strongly in spirit. I answered that I knew this but that I missed him on the physical plane. She reiterated that he was still around. I answered her by way of trying to get her to understand what I was experiencing about missing his physical presence, and asked her if she could imagine what she thought it might be like if her daughter wasn’t here (on the physical) any more.
Boom, that was it – no more contact. Interesting…
About a month after Dylan’s death I rang Mum. We spoke often and talking daily was pretty usual. This particular day that I rang her I was feeling very down. When Mum answered the phone she asked how I was and I said ‘awful’ and she had asked ‘why?’ and I said ‘Well my Son killed himself and she said ’Oh…. Still that’. I said, ‘yes, still that!!’ She just answered, ‘Oh’.
It felt like my allocated time of expressing how I was feeling about Dylan’s departure was up.
It had only been a matter of a few weeks and it seemed Mum was already ‘over it’. She was of the era that perhaps had learnt not to dwell on things (post WW11 baby), not show too many feelings and to ‘ just get on with it.’ It could have also been a bad choice of words on Mum’s part and a over reaction on mine.
However, I was able to say to Mum that I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to find my peace and that I needed her to understand that for me. She heard me and during her remaining time, she allowed me the space I needed to consciously grieve.
A third instance I remember was when my dog, Gus, died 10 months after Dylan. Someone very close to me did not acknowledge his passing at all. They are a dog person too and we have been in each other’s life long enough to have consoled each other numerous times when pets had passed. It was very different that there was no acknowledgement at all. I consider the lack of acknowledgement was directly related to the fact that Dylan had died – Perhaps it was just too much for them to connect again over something painful so close to Dylan’s death – or something else about the situation – I don’t know…
Surmising the Why’s
I am just surmising any ‘why’s’ in the above examples. The ‘why’s’ aren’t currently important for what I am trying to explain /show about authentic connection in this blog. They are some of the topic on the next blog on connection.
What I am trying to say about my experiences after Dylan’s death is; that people didn’t/ couldn’t always authentically connect and that lack of authenticity had no positive value – and could have been extremely damaging.
The ‘Why’s’ are for each of us to answer for ourselves if/when we find we are not authentically connecting.
I can say – even though it hurts my heart to say so – that if Dylan and I had still been connecting authentically he would not have taken his life. He would have come to me and told me where he was at.
I know this to be a truth.
How We Connect Authentically
If as humans, we have authentic connection – even to only one other person – and we know and trust that connection is strong and true, we will seek that connection at our lowest and our highest – at any time at all.
Authentic connection requires us to be firstly connected to ourselves – wherever we are in ourselves – we don’t need to know all the answers we just need to be in a state of self-honesty, graciousness and openness.
I want to finish with a story that will stay with me always as one of a beautiful authentic connection moment. A friend of mine had been in Nelson for part of his summer holiday. The day before Dylan died this friend had left Nelson to return home – which was city in the North Island of NZ. I live in the South Island. This friend had known Dylan and I had phoned him just as he arrived home, to tell him that Dylan had died. The next day there was a knock on my door. When I went to answer it, standing there was the same friend. I opened the door and before he hugged me he said: ‘I didn’t know what to do so I came back.’ Blessings.