May 9, 2022
“The holiest of all holidays are those kept by ourselves in silence and apart. The secret anniversaries of the heart…” --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This quote came to me through Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, one of my all-time favorite books. She has an essay on “the secret anniversaries” that we each carry in our hearts. “The past asks only to be remembered. The past wants us to move on more than the present can ever imagine, because until it does, we can’t have the future that’s waiting to unfold. The sacred contract and prime directive of the past is to get you to your future” (Simple Abundance, p. 252).
May holds several sacred anniversaries for me, starting with Mothers’ Day which feels poignant and precious. I cherish my mother whose legacy continues to enrich my life, and my daughters who bring me joy and comfort. Last year another layer was added as I lost my dear friend Kim on the day after Mothers’ Day. We said our good-byes over the phone that weekend as she faced her final days and hours. We tried to hold each other while letting go, and it was excruciating. It was my last chance to tell her how much she and her friendship had meant to me for the past 25 years. “You are the best friend I could have ever asked for,” I said through tears. We didn’t want to hang up the phone, knowing it was our last conversation.
Sarah Ban Breathnach writes, “…we can’t receive the blessing or the bounty if we are not willing to acknowledge the benediction hidden behind every letting go” (p.253). One of the definitions of “benediction” is “something that promotes goodness or well-being” (Miriam-Webster). Somehow, our release of something we cherish opens us to a deeper presence and power. It may not be apparent at first, but hidden like a treasure that is discovered as we move forward.
“Honoring the personal passages that altered the trajectory of our lives…is how we grow, change, and eventually heal. We find the strength to continue our journey to Wholeness with morsels of our soul’s manna: remembrance” (Simple Abundance, p.253).
This anniversary brought a layer of sadness to my Mothers’ Day this year. I was remembering. I was aching. I was missing Kim and my mother. Over the past several years, through losing these two significant women in my life, I have discovered the beauty and grace that accompany grief. I have found strength and comfort within my soul. My tears have cleansed and anointed me. Remembrance is nourishment and salsa for the soul. It stirs us to a deeper awareness and awakening of our own humanity. When we have loved fully, we have lived the truth of who we are. We have embraced divinity.
Anniversaries of the heart are opportunities to remember the love that we are. We can honor those whose lives have made ours better, and whose love will never, ever leave us.
Grace & Gratitude,
Elisa J. Juarez