There is something magical I do from time to time I think of as “channeling love.” It’s never planned and, the truth is, I don’t talk about it with others. It’s special. Private. And, I’ve feared it would be misunderstood. However, the other day it dawned on me that others living with the loss of a loved one might really appreciate the practice and that I should share despite the risk. Who knows, perhaps others already do this and the value of this reflection lies simply in naming a shared experience—in knowing that we are not alone.
For me, channeling love usually happens during an emotional parenting moment. This might be a difficult circumstance like when my son asked me when he can cross into the spirit world so he can visit his mommy. Or when my seven-year old daughter came home from school crying because someone made fun of the show and tell she’d been so excited to share. It can also happen in joyous moments such as when the kids are bubbling over with enthusiasm over a lost tooth or we are having a giant “cuddle fest” on a lazy Saturday morning.
Whatever the specific circumstances, I channel love when my heart aches over the fact that my late wife is unable to be present for her little ones, to bear witness to the miracle that is their existence. Though I often grieve this loss for the children’s sake, in the instance of channeling love my grief is usually for all that she won't get to experience as a mother. She wanted so badly to raise them. To teach them. To cherish them. But she couldn’t. And while being the one left behind has been unbelievably hard for me in many ways, I get to be present for the kids, to experience their laughter and tears and soft breathing as they fall asleep in my arms. So, here is what I do when I feel waves of grief for her absence in their lives:
I close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and bring up memories of my late wife as a mother. I imagine her stroking her extended tummy and the soft conversations she had with each of our children as they grew inside her. I hear the beautiful sound of her off-tune singing as she lulled them into sleep as infants. I see the stacks of parenting books scattered on the bedside table and the art bins loaded with supplies for every imaginable craft. But, more than anything, I bring up images of her warm hands feeding them, changing them, embracing them, caressing them. I momentarily capture the thread of her love, a love that was so fierce and bright that it radiated a wild, cosmic heat. I allow myself to be enveloped in this current. To be one with her as a mother. I invite her to fill my heart and soul. I whisper, “Be with me my love. Hold our little ones.” And then I perform this action. I pull one (or both) of my children into an embrace and allow the beautiful energy I just gathered to flow into them. And for a brief moment in time, it’s her holding them.
In the end, whether this practice is simply evoking loving memories or actually connecting with a loved one on the other side of the veil is unimportant. Either way, it's channeling love.