LIFESTYLE

A Journey from Grief to Enlightenment

December 22, 2016
Overcoming grief

Exactly 12 years ago today, I lost my only sister. It took 9 years before I could talk about it, and another 2 years to make any kind of peace with it. I came across something recently that read “Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison…don’t be afraid to share it.” So, in honor of my sister, I’ve decided to finally share my story in hopes of bringing a bit of support and comfort to anyone out there experiencing the pain that I’m all too familiar with. This is the story of my silver lining…A Journey from Grief to Enlightenment. 

My sister, Sally, left us suddenly and unexpectedly on December 22nd, 2004. Leaving my family in a state of tragedy we never thought imaginable. Looking back 12 years later, I’m not even sure how we survived this period of our lives. Most everyone is familiar with the 5 stages of grief…Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. Without going into too much detail with these 5 stages, I will tell you that I experienced every single one of them…and then some. I think the only thing that saved us that first year was our lack of memory. Big chunks of time are missing from our lives that we still can’t recall. I’m guessing this is a coping mechanism…our bodies way of surviving the shock.

Luckily, almost exactly a year after Sally’s passing, my first niece was born. To say she was a Godsend is an understatement. Her arrival helped shift our focus from the numbing pain to an element of joy. She single handedly saved our lives, especially my mothers.

The next few years went by in a haze. I continued on with my life but, of course, nothing was ever the same. The anger I felt was debilitating. My behavior was destructive and I didn’t care. I lost all ability to be happy for anyone experiencing something good in their lives. I was a guarded shell who only cared about finding the next party or individual to take my mind off the pain for a few hours. Sometimes locking myself into a dark room and not resurfacing to even shower or eat for 3 days at a time.

Then something amazing happened…the birth of my 2nd niece. I remember this day so vividly. Walking into the hospital room where my sister-in-law held this beautiful newborn baby girl. My brother leaned over to kiss his wife while my other niece moved in closer to stare into her baby sister’s eyes. Witnessing this loving scene of my family woke something up inside of me. After 5 years of life without my sister, somewhere she was whispering “You see Lacey, this is what life is all about.” In this moment, I knew my initial dark stages of grief would begin to lighten.

Over the next 5 years, the devastating grief began lifting bit by bit as time went on. Even though I was no longer spiraling out of control, I was still closed off and destructive with my relationships. All types of relationships that is…friends, coworkers, family, boyfriends, etc. I was still just this shell of a person, a broken spirit walking from day to day on this planet.

The next turning point in my life happened 2 years ago when I lost my beloved grandparents within 4 days of each other. My grandparents were my martyrs, my mentors, and my 2nd parents. They had helped raise me from infancy. They were 90 years old when they passed and lived an incredibly full and enriched life. My heart broke all over again when I lost them. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was treating their passing the same as my sister’s…devastating, dark, and tormenting. This was the biggest turning point in my struggle with grief as I realized I STILL hadn’t made any kind of peace with the loss of my sister. In truth, I had no faith left. No faith in God or Buddha, in the Earth or Human Beings, no faith in myself or anything around me. Like I said, I was just a shell.

A couple of months later, I left my career behind and boarded a flight to Bali. I spent the next several weeks alone with my thoughts, practicing yoga, and allowing myself to get lost in a foreign land. I remember one night in particular during my time in Bali. I had been practicing yoga all day in a place that was very similar to a sauna, drenched from head to toe with sweat and exhaustion, I jumped into my housing’s pool and began to float for what felt like hours. Feeling weightless on top of the water with nothing in my line of sight except for the starry sky, I suddenly realized that I was content with being alone and with my thoughts. That I actually liked myself! THIS moment marked the beginning of my Journey from Grief to Enlightenment.

“Sometimes you have to self-destruct in order to self-discover and understand that the only person you have to learn to let go…is you.”
– r.m. drake

Enlightenment

I would love to tell you that when I returned home to the States I had it all figured out. Quite the contrary actually! I had no job and ZERO direction for what was next in my life. I only had the beginning stages of restored faith and clarity. And, for me, that was enough. My journey to Enlightenment didn’t happen overnight. It revealed itself in stages over the next year and a half. During the first 6 months of this journey, I began living life more freely with an open heart. I’m only human so, of course, I still made some mistakes and bad decisions along the way. Suddenly, I began to notice a shift. I no longer enjoyed some of the things I used to enjoy. Or some of the people I used to enjoy for the matter. I found myself in situations and places that made me want to run…to escape. The things that had been a huge part of my life were no longer feeding my soul.

I like to call this my “Big Bang” transition during Enlightenment as everything began changing in a significant way. My heart and mind began opening more and more while certain people in my life started dropping off like flies. People that had been in my life for 20 years and thought would never leave my side. If you ever experience Enlightenment, and I hope you do, this will no doubt happen to you. Prepare yourself as this is part of your growth process. After these unexpected breaks in my life, I felt very confused and betrayed. Not only because they had left my life so easily, but also because they showed no desire to fight for me. I had spent half my life lifting these people up with support and encouragement. But, when it came time to do the same for me, they just couldn’t manage. For a few months, I looked for the answers as to why this was happening at such a positive and true time in my life. Was I the problem???  Because if I was, I wanted to know. Truly. I wanted to fix it and make strides to do better moving forward.

Soon, clarity set in and I realized this wasn’t the issue. I wasn’t the problem and neither were they. We were simply on different paths. The things that were important to them were no longer important to me. I was seeking unconditional love, support and respect in my relationships. Because of where they may have been in their lives, and the personal issues they may have been dealing with, they couldn’t find it within themselves to truly give what I was seeking. And I could no longer give what they were seeking. It doesn’t mean we are bad people or that we didn’t love each other. It just means we were no longer serving each others lives in a progressive way. Of course, things could have been handled better by all parties and a lot of hurt could have been prevented. But, sometimes we have to learn the hard way. If you find yourself going thru a similar experience, just remember…if you are meant to be part of each other’s lives, you will find your way back to each other. Eventually you’ll end up where you need to be, with who you’re meant to be with, and doing what you should be doing.

As my vision grew clearer, I began understanding that death doesn’t have to be so final. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you must have faith that our souls still exist after we leave this Earth. Do I believe in God…yes. Do I believe in the power of energy…yes. Do I believe in some sort of afterlife…yes. Do I believe in different forms of spirituality…yes.  I also believe that my sister is with me. Now and forever. As are my grandparents. I feel them in everything around me…their energy, their soul, their spirit.

My journey finally brought me to a place of peace. I am truly enlightened and experiencing life in a better way than ever before. Always remember, what you allow is what will continue. If you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down.

As for me, I’m finally flying 😉

“Some lives are linked across time, connected by an ancient calling that echoes through the ages”

My Sister:  Sally Paige Wall 

25 Comments

Mitchell Hamilton May 22, 2017 at 10:53 am

Hey girl,
I knew your birthday was drawing near. And wanted to wish you Happy Birthday. Hope this life is feeding you th positive good vibes. This spiral of hurt and pain will never stop unless we stop it. We keep going lower and lower. And putting up more walls around us to hide our vulnerability. To protect us as we weaken in spirit and in love. Love for ourselves and those around us that are trying to love what we have left, or exposed. And we know it’s not real because this isn’t who we are. They don’t know the real me. But we accept their presence. So that we are not alone. And someone can be off on a remote island or surrounded by family and friends. And find that shell you spoke of. And cover up. I’m not gonna share my story, I’ve lived it over and over and still do everyday. That i dont need to venture down that road today. But to let you know I came to put a smile on your face. And then I found your escape door letter out of the shell. It was just as much for you as it was for someone. It helped me. It’s made me want to find my door. You put th smile on my face and in my heart as you always have. But this time you did so with hope. Not with beauty but with th scars that can harden our hearts to where we can’t recognize who we are nor why or how anyone could love us. But those scars carry so much meaning. And th ones that can’t be seen are the most powerful ones. As you have shown. Thank you for being real. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Love you miss you. Be safe on your journey. And a new thought I am trying to practice is to (Make Memories With th Ones We Love and Not Let The Chasing Of Dreams Steal The Memories we would of Made.) Wish you the best. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Thank you
Mitchell

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Jessie Lee December 29, 2016 at 7:32 pm

Thanks for sharing your story and your journey from grief to enlightenment. Many people have been searching for a purpose in life and trying to make peace with their body and mind. I’m so happy for you that you have found your enlightening. I’m still searching for mine. I wish I can find mine in the near future.

Xx, Jessie
http://4evajessie.com/gold-rush/

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thenewgirldar December 29, 2016 at 5:48 pm

I truly feel your pain as my husband lost his sister 3 years ago and it still feel like she was just gone yesterday as the pain never really left. the whole family is in despair and christmas and holidays seems impossible. I wish you great things and life and I’m sure your sister is guiding you from above. Love your story as it touched my heart so much! Thank you so sharing

Kindly
Darlene

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Katya Bychkova December 28, 2016 at 11:21 am

I’m so sorry to hear about your loss! I know on my personal experience how difficult it is to talk about traumatic events that happened in your life! Yes it takes years to even consider sharing your pain on paper (aka blog). You are a very brace person and I am wishing you to stay strong!

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State of Lace December 29, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Katya, thank you! You’re a beautiful person inside and out. Thank you so much for your sweet words and encouragement. Sending you lots of love this holiday season!

xoxo,
Lacey

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Eva December 27, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Hello dear!!!
This is very emotional and deeply moment what happened to you, I’m so sorry what happened. Sometimes the best people leave us. I can understand very well you I’m a mother of 2 girls. It’s very important for you and your family to accept your sis is now your angel and so you can live in peace and her soul too. This is not for forget, is for remember she and the arrive of other newborn member really can help, maybe a little part of Sally is there … maybe she send your family this happiness to enjoy the new life and reborn with them.
I’m sending you a lot of love from Italy, keep care.
xx
Eva
http://www.themermaidfashion.com

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State of Lace December 29, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Eva, this was such a heart felt reply. Thank you so much for your kind words. I can tell that you have an incredible spirit and understanding of this life. Sending you lots of hugs and love from the states. Happy holidays darling!

xoxo,
Lacey

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michenn (@michennblog) December 27, 2016 at 11:05 am

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know it must be difficult to open up like that but it can be really helpful to others who are also going through that. I’m an only child so I don’t know the pain of losing a sibling but sometimes I think about my parents who are getting older and I start getting sad just thinking of the years I have left with them. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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State of Lace December 29, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Thanks so much for your kind words Michenn. Enjoy each and every moment with your loved ones! Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

Lacey

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Open Kloset By Karina December 26, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Dear,
Thank you so much for sharing your Story and i feel very sorry for your Loss:(
I am happy that you find your right path:)
Sending you Love and Kisses and thank you again for this Post!
Open Kloset By Karina
New:http://openklosetfashion.blogspot.pt/2016/12/costes-downtown-michelin-starred.html?m=1#more

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State of Lace December 29, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Thanks so much Karina! Happy holidays!

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amanda December 26, 2016 at 1:50 pm

I’m so glad you shared this and I am so sorry for your loss. Although I didn’t physically loose anyone, I have gone through a similar experience realizing that people and even family in my life weren’t necessarily the best people I needed to surrounded myself with. I’m always really hesitant to share my story and this is so encouraging to here you share yours.

Manda | http://EvocativelyChosen.com

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State of Lace December 29, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Separately yourself from certain friends and family can feel very similar to a physical loss. There is definitely grieving involved in that process as well. But, when we are focused on growth, we have to move on from the things that are holding us back. I definitely encourage you to share your story. But only when you’re personally ready! When we release things into the universe, they become less and less of a burden to us.

From my heart to yours xoxo,
Lacey

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thomasfalkenstedt December 26, 2016 at 4:51 am

I too have gone through many kinds of loss in my life, although never having had siblings, so I cannot relate to losing a sister. I am very sorry you lost her at such an early age and unexpectedly. However, the grieving process is the same for most people in which you listed denial, anger and so forth and I’ve gone through all stages, several times. I am glad you have come to the state of enlightenment though. There is no better feeling than finally (despite occasional times of sadness, but these we’ll never get rid off) realizing life has moved on, you have moved on, but most importantly, that your loved ones are still with you and will be your guardian angels for the rest of your life.
This post really touched me and I am so happy to hear you finally have come so far in your process!
Love,
Thomas

http://www.thomasfalkenstedt.com/

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State of Lace December 29, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Thomas, your comment made me smile dear 😊. Thank you for this feedback as I know it is real and that you can relate. Our life’s journey is a crazy one but also an amazing one. Sending hugs and kisses to you this holiday season!

xoxo,
Lacey

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gina diaz December 25, 2016 at 11:35 pm

I’m sorry about your loss sweetie. I am happy to read that you has found enlightenment in your path and thank you for sharing it with us!

sending big hug and much love, Gina

http://www.artsyrunway.com

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State of Lace December 29, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Thank you Gina! Big hug to you this holiday season!

Lacey

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Anju December 25, 2016 at 10:49 pm

I am so sorry that you lost your sister 12 years ago and your grand parents. I am glad you found the strength to keep going forward. Thanks for sharing such a personal post. It was very enlightening and made me reflect on many things
Much love
Be strong and keep going
Anju
http://codedressed.com/

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State of Lace December 29, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Anju, thank you so much for your sweet comment! I’m so happy to hear you took something positive away from this post. Wishing you lots of love and good energy 😘

xoxo,
Lacey

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Aldora Muses December 24, 2016 at 10:33 am

I’m sorry that you lost your only sister 12 years ago & your beloved grandparents Lacey. I lost my beloved grandma over a decade ago and that void was unbearable.

However, time does help to heal wounds and I’m sure they continue to live in our hearts. Am glad you finally found your enlightenment and I wish you a fulfilling holiday weekend spending quality time with your loved ones 🙂

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State of Lace December 29, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Thank you so much, Aldora! Sending lots of love your way and wishing you an amazing holiday!

xoxo,
Lacey

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helench1k December 24, 2016 at 10:12 am

Girl this was such an incredibly deep and personal post and I am so incredibly touched that you’ve chosen to share this with us! You’ve come a long way and the journey never really stops and I am so happy to hear you’re on the right path now!! Sending you much love from Bali (I’m spending Christmas here and love it)!

Helen xx
https://ch1k.com/contiki-asia-16-part-two

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State of Lace December 29, 2016 at 1:30 pm

I’m so so happy you’re enjoying Bali! If you have a chance to get to Ubud, be sure to see Bapak Cokorda Rai. He’s a balinese healer that will bless you with an amazing enlightenment! Thank you so much for your kind words, Helen. I’m so pleased this post touched you. Can’t wait to hear about your trip dear!

xoxo,
Lacey

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Jen Duckett December 22, 2016 at 7:28 pm

Lacey you wrote this perfectly ! I struggle everyday with the loss of my Daddy! You explained exactly how I felt and feeling ! Thank you and please know you are beautiful inside and out and I am proud to know you !

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State of Lace December 29, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Jen, thank you sweetheart. You are also beautiful inside and out! I’ll be keeping you in my heart. You will get to a point when the thoughts of your father only make you smile again 🙂

Sending you so much love xoxo,
Lacey

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Ok friends let's chat! I would adore any comments or feedback you have for me. Post your thoughts here so we can continue to inspire each other! Much love XOXO