While sitting on my patio enjoying the early evening, I caught a glimpse of a little lime-colored green worm that was stuck in a spider web. The web was very close to the ground and the worm was not far from safety. I watched the worm struggling so hard to break free from the web that he just became even more entangled. If a worm could panic it sure seemed like that’s what this one was doing. The harder he struggled the deeper in trouble he became. He needed help. I realized that if I intervened he would have a second chance at life. It would just take a little nudge to get him out of the web, and safety was so close! In fact it was just beneath him, inches away, which to a little tiny green worm was probably a great distance!
You probably know where I am headed with this story about my little green friend . . . As I watched him I thought of how like us that little worm was. . When we get stuck—and I mean scary stuck—we need a loving soul to come along and help us out of the web we’ve tangled ourselves up in. Sometimes all it takes is just a little nudge or tug.
I reached down and helped release the tiny worm from his silken prison and placed him on the ground. Now it was up to him to keep going. It takes strength to keep moving forward, and for the worm a little tiny puddle of water nearby could spell death. He must have sensed this because he changed direction and started to move around it. He wanted to live.
Maybe the moral of this little story is that in life we are never alone, whether we are a little green worm or a human being. When we are stuck Spirit will send someone to help us. But from there it is up to us to choose to live, to use our discernment, and to find our peace.
After I brought our little tiny friend to safety it was difficult watching him struggle through the puddles and the big leaves he needed to get through, but if I had rescued him every time he came upon an obstacle, he would have learned nothing. The same goes for all of us. We don’t need to be rescued at every turn. And we don’t need to go around trying to save everyone around us, either. But a nudge and loving support when needed can empower family, friends, neighbors, coworkers or whoever crosses your path. Help them to help themselves so that they may learn and grow.
The worm story is also a metaphor for events that happen in life that shake us to the core, or pull the rug out from under our feet. We have all experienced extreme sadness, anger, or frustration that can make life seem unbearable. This is when people come into our life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, as the saying goes. Often they are not there for our lifetime, but are with us only for a while to help us in our time of need. They are God’s earth angels.
I am an earth angel to many. And many times when tragedy happens, I nudge, I love, I empower, and then they leave “my house.” I pray for them, and sometimes it can be challenging for me to let them leave.
I met Wendy at an event where I was giving healings. Wendy had just moved to California from the Midwest. Her brother had committed suicide only three months before, and they were very close. I felt her pain as her eyes searched mine for answers. Her life felt like it was unraveling. She felt as though she was being swept downstream and there were no branches to reach for. I tried to schedule time with her, because I could see how badly she needed it. But she refused, saying she just could not come if she could not pay me, and her job didn’t start for another four weeks.
Since she wouldn’t schedule sessions with me we talked on the phone instead. Even on the phone I could tune into her and feel her pain, and I was provided with just the right words to say. I don’t think any one person can give you peace. We need to find it within ourselves, but a little help along the way can be good. Over several conversations I was able to help Wendy find ways to achieve a sense of balance and peace in her life.
Grief shows up in our life at many different times and not just with death. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s model of the five stages of grief can be helpful to refer to when you or a loved one are struggling with the journey through grief. Notice I say through, because grief can never ever be walked around. You have to move through it, as it will reappear when you least expect it.
The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages can overlap, intermingle, and sometimes we may move back and forth between them, there is no right or wrong way to do this. These stages can be a guideline. We all seem to experience them as we move through grief, though each person’s experience is unique. If you are able to prepare for the death of a loved one it makes the process a little easier. Anticipatory Grief is a term used to describe preparing for the death of another person. I am not sure HOW much easier it makes it on us. Maybe it just puts us a little ahead in the process by the time it happens, though I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the loss of my mother. Knowledge may help prepare the mind, but the heart is an essence and energy that we have no control over.
Whether we get the chance to prepare or not, especially with sudden death as in suicide, or a sudden terminal illness that moves very quickly, grief comes, and having support is a must. In preparing for my own mom’s passing I discovered that what others say and what I know comes from the heart: grief comes in waves, some days they crash and other days they are just lapping at the shore.
I run into people all the time who, especially if I am wearing my hospice badge, want to talk about an experience they had. Rarely have I heard that someone had a bad experience with hospice. People always tell me how wonderful the hospice team was to them and how they helped them with their mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa. They always bless me and thank me for doing the work I do, and I sense these folks are doing okay with their grief process at that moment in time. Then there are others, where time has gone by and they say to me, “It’s been a year. I should be doing better.”
My first words to them are always, “You get to take as much time as you need. There is no set time to grieve. There is no being done or finished with grieving. Over the years its gets a little easier, that’s all.”