The Living Dead
Loss | Celebrate | Heal
Living on after death is easier than you think.
When I was seven years old, someone very dear to me died. Her name was Nina and she was someone I had always known; someone whose arms I ran to with ramped childhood joy, someone who held me warm and close when I was hurt and crying, someone whose almond cookies brightened my day (and increased my already high energy), someone whose aroma comforted me – she was someone my little heart cherished.
Her death came suddenly, and as the first loss I had ever experienced, brought with it many questions. I saw her body, but she was not there. Little me knew we all die someday, and had a concept of the afterlife, where everyone’s souls lived on into infinity, where I would go one day, but it hurt.
Weeks passed and I seemingly got on with things. That is until my grandmother, Nina’s sister, made my favourite almond cookies.
After a day of playing, I entered our house, smelled the familiar aroma and was hit by a wall. Little me, stopped, smelled, relived and started sobbing – my face in my hands. My grandmother, a strongly intuitive woman, came running to me and knew exactly why I was crying. “It’s the cookies,” she said as tears streamed down my face and I hiccupped repeatedly. “She is always with us, through our memories, traditions and there, right now beside you, with her arms open.” I cried even more.
From that day on, almond cookies mean Nina to me. Whether it be a familiar smell, dish, keepsake, song on the radio or dimes you constantly find on the ground, confirmations that our loved ones are with us need only be limited by your love for the person.
Aromas are very powerfully linked to our memories, acting as keys to past experiences, places, events and people. A specific aroma and as such Aromatherapy, can trigger an emotional or mental response, giving us access to deep seeded memories and emotions, allowing us to heal.
By remembering, incorporating and celebrating our deceased loved ones in our everyday, we learn to ease the pain, look for confirmations of their ongoing presence and encourage those around us (especially children) to view death as a natural process, not to be feared, but to be included, as a part of life.
Whether it is All Souls’ Day, the Chinese Ghost Festival or Japanese Bon Festival, many cultures and religions commemorate the departed on given days of the year. In many parts of the world this day of commemoration follows Halloween, on November 2. Did you know? Halloween has it’s roots in Samhain, an ancient Gaelic end of harvest festival celebrated with big feasts, music and bonfires to light the night.
Whether on November 2, the anniversary of your loved one’s death, on their birthday or everyday, I encourage you to commemorate your departed loved one and allow their light and soul to live on through you. Do this by lighting a candle, playing a song, saying a prayer or poem, looking at old photos and telling stories (noticing similar physical or persaonlity traits), doing something you associate with them like cooking a special dish or going for a walk in their old neighbourhood. It seems easy to forget, discount and get caught up in our busy lives, but commemorating only takes a moment of your day, is very enriching and improves your connection with your loved one’s soul.
I am grateful to have had Nina in my life. October 18th was the anniversary of her death. I made almond cookies, connected with her energy through meditation and made a Special Blend of essential oils to mimic her aroma for her daughter-in-law to wear, in loving memory.
For those of us who remain, the light can seem dim, as only a few rays peak through, but I find great comfort in knowing that my loved ones are near, not just in my heart, memories and traditions, but in my blood, the colour of my eyes, shape of my fingers, walking with me everyday. I will not forget those who helped shape me.
Being aware, living in the present with a fond and learned eye on our past and keen sharp eye on the future we are better placed to live wholly.
I’ve used Aromatherapy and Reiki to release, bring light and encouragement when faced with life’s challenges for 20 years now and I am truly grateful. Trying to see the light at times of loss isn’t always easy, but by using my holistic toolkit, I bring the light back.
I cried as I wrote this. Not because I have yet to release related emotions, but because I still miss Nina. She is someone my big heart still thinks about, fondly brings forward in my everyday life and cherishes. ❤