Maria-Hélèna Pacelli

Returning to the ashes

About 2 months ago a friend of mine took her own life, and I’ve been reflecting since on some of the issues that arise from this way of transmuting into the next life.

Suicide is a difficult thing to witness, whether it was a family member, close friend or an acquaintance with more distant. It brings up trauma and leaves many unanswered questions and can challenge many of us in many ways with guilt or blame that compounds the grieving process.

I’ve come to find that the truth is that no one knows the reasons why she has chosen to take her own life. I personally find the rhetoric of ‘saving’ people to be problematic because it produces guilt and shifts the responsibility of the suicide onto the survivors. I think it is possible to continue loving someone and nurturing a connection with them even after they die, and the biggest challenge I have found is to honour her by respecting that choice, though I disagree with it, and carrying the legacy of her spirit forward.

As I navigate my own grieving process, this has touched me in many ways, bringing up haunting memories of other deaths I have witnessed, other suicides I’ve known of, and my own direct encounters with near-death and suicide.

With that said, while there is a natural process of sadness and grief towards the loss of her being in her human form, the spirit of her existence in this realm is cherished.

As I hold space for my own grief, I recognize the importance of moving forward with life, not to forget but precisely to honour the most salient message of her life: the importance of self-care, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, innocence and celebration towards life.

Much love and many blessings.

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