While flicking through photos I’ve taken during walks over the last year, I notice that I’ve gathered a collection of images of lilac flowers. This seems odd. Lilac isn’t a colour that I like. And then I remember that this is my Granny’s colour. My Granny who died a year ago. Lilac is the shade she would wear, the shade of her favourite flowers and the colour of her funeral floral tribute.
I’m surprised that without even noticing it, my Granny has featured in my walks. My Granny has been with me whether I actively think of her or not. She has continued to be with me, even though she is gone. It reminds me that we do not walk alone. We are made up of all of the people that have featured in or impacted on our lives. Family, friends, colleagues, ancestors. All of these people walk with us, in spirit as well as in person. They guide our adventures and also direct our attention.
Grief is painful. It is a powerful loss. However, our impact does not end when we are gone. We live on. Our experience is created through a lifetime of connections and interactions with others. Our every day is made of memories and hopes as much as it is of concrete reality. The power of grief reminds us of the importance of the relationships we have in forming us. It reminds us that we also unknowingly accompany others when they walk. We walk with those that have touched our lives.
Who do you walk with when you walk alone? Slow down and notice what pulls your attention. Consider how what you notice on your walk represents your loved ones. Also ask who you are unknowingly walking with? What colours or plants will be reminding others of you?
Here are some more reflections on walking and grief
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