when bree kars’ mother passed away, she called on Rite of passage funerals to help plan her sendoff. since then, we’ve been in awe of bree’s growth, humility and resilience, as she navigates her grief journey one day a time. here, she share her story.

[Just a heads up: the following blog contains content around suicide. If you’re sensitive to this content or may be triggered, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14].

THE PASSING

RoP: Can you tell me about your mum?

There are so many wonderful ways I could describe my mother, but the two main words that come to mind are compassionate and resilient. She was a woman of true strength and grace. She suffered throughout her life and struggled with the life conditioning that was handed to her, however she had the most beautiful soul and spirit. 

She was a kind, loving mother – there is no one on this planet that could ever deny that she loved my siblings and I so deeply. My mother was my leader, my first healer and spiritual teacher, she taught me how to fight for my life and be unapologetic and soulful. 

When she fell ill at the start of 2018, we were all deeply concerned. She began to lose weight and eventually ended up unable to care for herself. Months of pain and uncertainty went by and the doctors still had no answers, my mother’s condition got worse and her mental health was deteriorating rapidly, so she made the decision to end her suffering on her terms.

RoP: How did you get through those first hours, days, weeks and months?

Reaching out for help and letting others be there for me. I was so distraught, I started to shut down emotionally, however having that higher awareness and opening and embracing the help and love of those around me was so powerful and healing.

However most importantly I found that being a compassionate healing voice to myself was the most helpful healing technique of all. Speaking to myself and understanding where I was at mentally helped me prepare my days. Some days I couldn’t move from bed, so on those days I made myself comfortable and made sure I felt safe. And other days I wanted to move my body and ground my energy, so I planned a wonderful day close to nature, with my favourite book and a coffee. 

Reflecting on these times I feel the most important message I would want to share would be: to be able to heal and Transcend the pain of grief you must educate yourself and others about the dying process – to understand that the body is a temporary vessel that is only a shelter to our soul for this lifetime. The soul however is eternal, and it never dies, nor the love you shared with it, the soul simply returns home back to unconditional love and peace.

RoP: How has her passing changed you?

After my mother’s passing, I had a profound spiritual awakening. I matured into a woman, a healer and a spiritual mentor to others. My spiritual gifts flourished, and I was inspired to open a holistic healing practice – Kara’s Legacy – in my mother’s honour. I offer Reiki and crystal healing, colour therapy and spiritual life path readings. I have met so many wonderful clients and my healing career has brought me so much fulfilment. I have truly found my life’s purpose and only hope to continue on this journey. 

LESSONS

RoP: What are some of the greatest lessons your mother taught you?

The true beauty and magic my mother left behind was the lesson of unequivocal compassion. Her heart was so tender and warm she truly inspired me to search deep within my soul to really cultivate within my heart the same pure love that she shared with the world. This example of compassion that I had felt and seen my mother live before me is her legacy – she leaves it as her mark that she lived, she was here and brought the vibration of heaven on Earth by simply existing. 

RoP: What have been the biggest lessons you have learned from grief? 

I think the lessons I take away from grief is that the actual grief itself is a funny emotion. However, it is just another emotion. It is temporary. It comes like a wave on the back of memories – good or bad – and it stays for as long as you allow it to. A huge part of moving through grief is understanding the stages of grief, others may skip stages while others linger in particular phases. Usually it is a process of reflection and acceptance which can occur at any moment. My moment happened when I realised my mother is now free of pain and suffering, and that she is in a better place. 

GROWING THROUGH GRIEF

RoP: You’ve really leaned into your grief. What was your process? 

I believe the healing process for me personally is a lifetime commitment to loving myself. I had to step up and become my own parent; as I do not speak to my father I felt very abandoned after my mother’s passing. I struggled to find a safe place with the people around me, so I turned inward to love a nurture myself. I do believe though that the universe stepped in and helped me connect with many other nourishing relationships since my mother’s passing, each in their own way have brought around profound healing and growth. Bonnie, Jack, Tay, Nanna Gilly and my son Eddie have been the biggest inspiration for me to live my life’s purpose.   

RoP: What have been the biggest challenges you have faced in your grief? 

The way my mother passed away really affected my confidence, I also felt very abandoned by her, which led me on a journey of inner child healing, I had to regain my inner power and finally learn how to love myself fully. I have loved every moment of healing my inner child, I have learnt that “little Bree” at her core is a very loving, sweet-natured girl and I have fallen in love with who I really am. 

I give thanks to my mother who I believe was behind the scenes orchestrating my healing, and who guided me through the hard times. 

RoP: How have you grown in your grief? 

I have grown into a woman who I can see reflects my mother’s core values & beliefs of love and compassion. I have grown to deeply appreciate what it means to live in the face of adversity and thrive. But the biggest indicator of my growth would be the ability to surrender to let go to a higher power. 

BREE’S GRIEF TOOLKIT

♦ Self-love and compassion

♦ Healing, nourishing relationships

♦ Honouring emotions as they come up

♦ Deep commitment to doing ‘the work’ and shifting the perspective of death

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