Just over 5 years ago, a loved friend of 15 years passed away after a brave struggle with cancer. I met her during my early college years when I was experiencing some of the biggest changes in my life — physical changes in body and environment, yes, but even bigger internal changes in spirit and mind. In these latter mental, emotional and spiritual changes, Maria Elena (or “Vito” as she was called by family and friends) was one of my most inspirational guides.
A few days before she passed away, she encouraged friends and family to visit her for a final farewell. Even as she prepared to transition out of this world, she gave us one final gift and example of gracefulness and acceptance. When I walked into her bedroom, she held out a stack of affirmation cards in her hand and had me randomly pick my own card. It read:
I am safe; it’s only change. I cross all bridges with joy and ease. The “old” unfolds into wonderful new experiences. My life gets better all the time.
Today, a surprisingly windy day in Tucson, the affirmation lines up perfectly with many transitions taking place around me and in the lives of my loved ones. The metaphorical autumn winds of change sweep through us in the most literal sense. So, yet once more, I’ve looked up to the beautiful, bright blue, Southern Arizona sky to offer my most heartfelt gratitude to Vito for helping me open my arms wide to embrace these changes with utmost grace and finesse.
As I told my sister last night, I am grateful for this period of restlessness because it means that we are morphing into our next phase. That’s what growth is. We must take the time to morph gracefully, allow ourselves the time to feel the awkwardness of the transition. It’s an important and necessary step in the process and acting on impulse to speed it up is a shortcut that never pans out.
We are safe; it’s only change.
Love you, Alicia. Love and miss you deeply, Vito