One Sunday, I woke up to the crushing news my Mum had passed away suddenly and entirely unexpectedly. My life changed forever and obliterated in front of me in an instant.
My Mum, a psychotherapist, specialising in post-traumatic growth, referred to this experience in the context ‘the kaleidoscope’. It was built on the belief that all the extraordinary but broken pieces of ‘the self’ can integrate again after trauma to transform into something that is still beautiful yet somewhat different, but very beautiful.
The coloured pieces represent our fundamental core and our values, which rarely change, but the shape and how they operate can and has the potential for continued transformation, particularly after trauma. Each experience, or click of the kaleidoscope, deepens our story. We are not defined by our past, our trauma, or our thoughts. We integrate them.
Weeks after my Mum’s passing, I flicked through one of the books on her shelf titled ‘When I Die’ by Philip Gould, which she had read many years earlier to alleviate her fears around dying. I fell upon a page where she had highlighted the following:
“What I want to tell my daughters is this…I would like to be on this journey with you forever and a day. I want to be with you all the time. I know that it is not possible, but I wish profoundly that it was. Your own journey lies ahead of you, and you will take what I have started and turn it into something much more magnificent, much more extraordinary.’
“Grieving is a sacred art, not an art whose products should be sold or seen objectively. Grieving is an art that when it is fully known and made to actively happen in all its grandeur and integrity, is the backbone of all real peace. It is the art of all arts; it is the art behind all real art.”