I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that it’s been thirty years since my daughter, Andrea’s (Andy’s) abduction and murder.  I am not the only one…many still communicate with me about how much she affected them in her eighteen years of life, as well as others who have developed a closeness with her after her death.

I have so much to be grateful for…I am much closer to Andy now than in the years right after her death.  I have but to reach out in my mind and heart, and right away her presence fills me with Love.  I can’t begin to find words for how much that comforts me.

Looking back, I realize that it was the indescribable depth of grief and mourning that got in the way of my being able to hear/feel her.  Grief is real, and mourning is necessary when we lose one who is beloved.  It is something that must be dived into in order to truly get to the other side.  When we reach that further shore, what we find is Acceptance.

According to Wikipedia, Acceptance means, “…a person’s assent to the reality of a situation; recognizing a process or condition without attempting to change it or protest it.”  This is, of course, one of life’s major lessons.  It has taken me decades of work in whittling away at old conditioning, old beliefs, old habit patterns of thought and action, along with a huge dollop of Grace throughout the process to reach this further shore. 

Horses and the Divine have been my constant guides in this Journey.  Horses require us to embrace Acceptance, as well as adaptation, for here is no other way to genuinely hear and partner with them.  And through them, we have the opportunity to apply the lessons they teach to the rest of our lives.  Horses are masters of Acceptance and adaptation…they model it for us daily.  The Gray Goose has been coming into my thoughts and heart recently also.  It was 21 years ago last month that he passed. 

There was a meme on Facebook that said this perfectly…

.”Sometimes you have to let go of what you thought it would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living.”  Rachel Marie Martin 

I concur completely.

Since grief, loss, and disappointment are pretty common in today’s world, I thought I would share some of what I’ve learned in the past 30 years, through multiple losses and traumatic events:

  • Everyone grieves at some point.
  • Everyone’s process is unique.
  • There is absolutely no timetable for grief, loss, and disappointment.
  • Clinging to grief, anger, and frustration can act as barriers to connecting beyond this world.
  • Meditation is one of the best balms ever.
  • No one–absolutely no one–can comfort me the way I or connecting with Andy can.
  • Longing for what might have been is not only fruitless, but for me constitutes torture.
  • It IS possible to return to Joy.
  • Laughter is not a betrayal or a denial of your loss. It is a sign of being in the moment and receiving Goodness from what surrounds you. Seize those moments and treasure them.
  • A major loss does NOT have to define you. I had to recognize and release that in myself before I could truly heal. 
  • Love, Andy constantly reminds me, is part and parcel of everything around us. We just have to pay attention and receive it.

Is it possible to reach back through the decades and bring back the unspeakable pain of that time?  Absolutely…it is burned into my soul.  However, I do not choose to do so.  I much prefer to relate to Andy as she is now…not the18 year old daughter frozen in childhood, but a Divine Presence who has Wisdom far beyond my human understanding, and who brings comfort to this tender heart.