No matter where I go, at least one bag of LEGO bricks go along with me!! After years of facilitating LEGO Serious Play sessions I’d feel naked leaving home without some bricks and on this trip they even had some healing power!
For four days this week I had the absolute pleasure of being in fellowship with my spiritually-soulful sister Karen, her awesome husband Ted and their daughter Emilia who joined us for a few hours of fun! I don’t know many people who would open their heart and home to someone they’ve only met in person once but Karen and her family did! I originally met Karen through Paul Abernathy’s blog and we became friends through reading and commenting on his always thought-provoking posts. Then shortly before COVID I was scheduled to speak in Minneapolis where Karen lived. She offered to pick me up so we could have lunch and she even came to my presentation too!! What a JOYOUS day that was!
Because COVID caused a lot of trip cancellations I had an airline ticket I needed to use before it expired on March 30th. Well before Mom died on Jan 31st, Karen and I decided that it would be a fabulous time if I’d use that airline ticket to come to Minneapolis to be with she and her husband! I was so excited to accept her generous offer!
But as the time grew closer to the end of March and the two month anniversary of Mom’s death coming up, I was starting to feel Mom’s loss more deeply and I prayed I’d still be ok going on this trip. When Karen and I talked on the phone a few days before my departure about what activities we’d do during my visit, I mentioned I needed to take some “healing breaths” while we were together and her response made me instantly feel as if I was heading to the right place at the right time and for the right reason!
I don’t know how we packed so much into four days without feeling rushed or overwhelmed but we did. We went to George Floyd Square, Prince’s Paisley Park, a Shakespeare play and lingered over food and wine for hours at a time! We rode in the car looking at awesome sights and even walked in the bitter cold.
Approximately 20 minutes after they picked me up from the airport we were standing at Minnehaha Falls and the temperature was 19 degrees! But I didn’t really feel the cold because seeing and hearing the rush of the part of the flowing water that wasn’t frozen gave me life! It struck me that part of me had felt frozen since Mom’s death yet there I stood watching the rest of water flow freely from that waterfall as if Mom was holding my hand while allowing me to flow freely through the rest of my life without her! I was smiling so broadly I thought my face would freeze with that expression on it, and yet my tears flowed freely too!
I was laughing and crying at the same time and it felt so freeing! I don’t even think Karen and Ted noticed my tears because I was also so happy to be standing in front of that waterfall that I was doing my usual happy dance! At that moment I knew that no matter what happened during the rest of the trip, even in the freezing weather my grief began melting and pouring out!
On Monday evening I led Karen and Ted in a LEGO serious Play session and encouraged them to “think with their hands” like I do with all my participants. They built their joy and favorite memories of being married for 47 years. Earlier that day as we’d shared stories about our Moms Karen read me a poem she’d written about holding her Mom’s hand during her journey with dementia and how her Mom would rub her hand and arm in an act of love as they sat together. As we sat at the dining table and continued to explore the LEGO pieces even after our LSP session Karen picked up the big pink LEGO heart and 5 additional pieces and began attaching them! She then showed us what she’d put together and explained that it represented her Mom’s hand during their precious time together!
After hearing that poem earlier in the day and then seeing the resulting model that came into Karen’s spirit, I just about lost it!! The LEGO model was so profound and captured not only the essence of the poem she’d written about her Mom, but also captured for ME the last few days of time with my Mom as I held and rubbed her hand often so she’d know I was there and that I loved her! Because LEGO models are one of the ways I express my feelings just as Mom had, I instantly began snapping pics of what Karen had built because it was part of my story too!! I knew I had come to the right place, and had begun to process my grief more clearly from a model I hadn’t even built!
As I flew home tonight I knew I was in a different and better place! I don’t really know how to thank Karen, Ted and Emilia for helping me to take those healing breaths in a place far from home, but I’ll be forever grateful to them!! I know I’m starting on a healthy healing path now and shedding the tears I need to. I have always loved waterfalls but never thought that one would unlock and be the start of my grief process. My visit with Karen and her family reminded me that during this time my sisters from other mothers have my back! As Karen and I hugged goodbye at the airport we hugged as if we had climbed a mountain together, and maybe we had! Without me even asking, my other sister Kris held down the LEGO business piece for me while I was gone by buying and then picking up some DUPLO bricks for me that I’ll be using to lead more folks with dementia in my Amazing LEGO Serious Play sessions!! It’s such a Blessing when we allow others to help carry us – because they may just help lead us to the healing places we need to be! Amen to that!