In this edition of Soul Notes, I bring to you another personal story. This time, it’s about “one of those” anniversary dates. You see, March 5th each year holds a special place in my calendar.
The kind of anniversary that brings with it its own challenges as well as opportunities for honoring, healing, and growth
I bet you know the kind of anniversary I’m referring to…the kind that maybe you don’t always feel like talking about? Or, maybe you do, but you’re not sure who would want to listen? “Have I told it to that particular person already?” you ask yourself. “Is the story ‘getting old’”?
Is it just a story, or is it more? I’ve come to realize that for me it’s not really just another story, as much as it is an opportunity for healing. And for honoring… the memory of another person, another soul. A sibling. My brother.
My brother died on March 5, 1993. “He took his own life,” as the saying goes. It was a suicide.
So, March 5th for me stands out as the anniversary of a violent act — one that resulted in: a death, a killing, a murder, a suicide, of someone dear to me.
I realize, of course, that all kinds of other events happened that day, too. Beautiful, glorious things happened, in other peoples’ lives, on that date. Those events, however, are not what I remember on March 5th each year.
Each year, though, I do have a choice. I get to decide, for myself: Is it a day I’d rather just ignore, and move right on through…you know, “stay busy,” and treat it as if it’s just another day on the calendar? Or, do I allow it to immobilize me completely, and encase me in deep sadness, depression, and grief? There’s at least one other choice, too, and that is: HONOR HIS MEMORY, in some personal, poignant and meaningful way. This year, with guidance from a wise mentor, I chose the latter.
What I did to honor his memory this year
This year, March 5th fell on a full moon. Living near the ocean, I headed there as twilight approached. I walked along the beach, with a candle and camera in hand. The brisk ocean breeze meant that as soon I’d light the candle, it would quickly blow out. (The symbolism of this, believe me, did not escape me.) Nonetheless, I stayed true to my intention, and said a quiet prayer of gratitude in honor of my brother and the special bond we shared.
The photograph shown here is one that I took that night. I snapped it while standing on the sand, with the ocean to my back, and with the full moon rising ahead of me in the distance. It captures what I saw as I looked back toward the beachfront, with the houses dotting the bluff.
As I looked up at the moon, I couldn’t help but wonder if my brother ‘saw’ me there that night. I believed that he did, and that he knew then and knows now that he and I are still spiritually connected.
I took in the moonlight and felt my brother’s presence from the other side of the veil. I thanked him for his guidance (I do feel that he guides me even now), and told him that my solemn wish for him was that he be at peace.
With my heart now full and my spirit uplifted, I nodded to the moon (and to him, really), and walked back to my car. Reverence was the theme for the evening. Pure, deep reverence.
Okay, your turn:
In what ways do you honor a loved one’s memory? Do you have a ritual each year that you invoke on a particular date? I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!