A Story of Profound Personal Transformation
By Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D.
All the hardships that you face in life, all the tests and tribulations, all the nightmares and all the losses, most people still view as curses, as punishments by god, or as something negative. If you would only know that nothing that comes to you is negative. I mean nothing. All the trials and the tribulations, and the biggest losses you ever experience, things that make you say, “If I had known about this, I would have never been able to make it through,” are gifts to you. It’s like somebody has to — what do you call that when you make the hot iron into a tool? — you have to temper the iron. It is an opportunity that you are given to grow. That is the sole purpose of existence on this planet Earth. You will not grow in your heart if you just sit in a beautiful flower garden and somebody brings you gorgeous food on a silver platter. But you will grow if you get sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain and learn to accept it, not as a curse or a punishment, but as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.
I will give you a clinical example of this. In one of my workshops there was a young women. She did not have to face the death of a child, but she faced several of we call “little deaths”. Not very little in her eyes. When she gave birth to a second baby girl, which was she was very much looking forward to, she was told in a not very human way that the child was severely retarded; in fact, that the child would never even be able to recognize her as her mother. When she became aware of this, her husband walked out on her, and she was suddenly faced with two young, very needy, very dependent children, no money, no income, and no help.
She went through a terrible denial. She couldn’t even use the word retardation. She went through fantastic anger at God, cursed him out. First he didn’t exist at all, and he he was a mean old you know what. Then she went through tremendous bargaining — if the child at least be educable, or least could recognize her as a mother. She would fantasize about finding ways to dispose of the child, or have it “accidentally” die. Then she found some genuine meaning in having this child, and I’ll simply share with you how she finally resolved it. It began to dawn on her that nothing in life is coincidence. She tried to look at this child and tried to figure out what purpose a little vegetable-like human being has in this Earth. She found the solution, and I’m sharing this with you in the form of a poem she wrote. She is not a poetess, but simply speaking from the heart. It’s a moving poem. She identifies with her child and talks to her godmother. And she called the poem “To My Godmother.”
What is a godmother?
I know you’re very special,
You waited many months for my arrival.
You were there and saw me when only minutes old,
and changed my diapers when I had been there just
a few days.
You had dreams of your first godchild.
She would be precocious like your sister.
You’d see her off to school, college, and marriage.
How would I turn out? A credit to those who have
God had other plans for me. I’m just me.
No one ever used the word precocious about me.
Something hasn’t hooked up right in my mind.
I’ll be a child of God for all time.
I’m happy. I love everyone, and they love me.
There aren’t many words I can say,
But I can communicate and understand affection,
warmth, softness and love.
There are special people in my life.
Sometimes I sit and smile and sometimes cry.
I wonder why?
I am happy and loved by special friends.
What more could I ask for?
Oh, sure, I’ll never go to college, or marry.
But don’t be sad. God made me very special.
I cannot hurt. Only love.
And maybe God sees some children who simply love.
Do you remember when I was baptized,
You held me, hoping I wouldn’y cry and you wouldn’t
Neither happened and it was a very happy day.
Is that why you are my godmother?
I know you are soft and warm, give me love, but there
is something very special in your eyes.
I see that look and feel that love from others.
I must be special to have so many mothers.
No, I will never be a success in the eyes of the world,
But I promise you something very people can,
Since all I know is love, goodness and innocence,
Eternity will be ours to share, my godmother.
This is the same mother who, a few months ago was willing to let the toddler crawl out near the swimming pool and pretend to go the kitchen, so the child would fall into the swimming pool and drown. I hope you can appreciate the change that had taken place in this mother.
This is what takes place in all of you if you are willing to to always look at anything that happens in your life from both sides of the coin. There is never just one side to it. You may be terminally ill, you may have a lot of pain, you may not find somebody to talk to about it. You may feel that it’s unfair to take you away in the middle of your life, that you haven’t really started living yet. Look at the other side of the coin.
If you’re in this situation, you’re suddenly one of the few fortunate people who can thrown overboard all the “baloney” that you’ve carried with you. You can go to somebody and say, “I love you,” when they can still hear it. Because your here for a very short time, you can finally do the things that you really want to do. How many of you do not truly do the kind of work that you really want to do from the bottom of your heart? You should go home and change your work. Do you know what I’m saying to you? No one should do something because someone tells you you ought to do that. If you listen to your own inner wisdom, which is far greater than anyone else’s as far you are concerned, you will not go wrong and you will know what to do with your life. And then time is no longer relevant.
Source: Death Does Not Exist in The New Holistic Handbook: Living Well in the New Age, by Shepard Bliss.