A Story of Ancestral Healing and Working Through Grief and Trauma
Passed Down Through Time.
by Denell Nawrocki
Inside, I was screaming.
My true essence was clawing away at this shell, dying to get out to be seen and to be heard. But the dark, shadowy essence held me back and pushed me down. Wasn't it better to be liked then to risk showing my true self?
The answer came in the form of an intense revelations regarding trauma my family system experienced long before I was born.
The first epiphany was revealed through an Ayahuasca medicine ceremony in 2014, where my ancestors from my Mother's Irish lineage came before me and told me that I was the product of thousands of generations of trauma that have never been processed. Because of this suppressed trauma, most of my Irish family members experienced alcoholism or sugar addiction (an accessory to alcoholism) to cope with these condensed feelings and experiences. This trauma went far back into time, and it coalesced in me. Yet, this was only from half of my family system. There was more.
The second epiphany came over a year later-only two weeks ago- and has left me reeling and in the throws of processing and healing. At the beginning of August I went to a family reunion for my Father's side of the family. While at the reunion, I became viscerally aware of how much PAIN my family was in, and how they coped with food, alcohol, and marijuana. Everyone looked unhealthy, unhappy, and gray. There was not light, no life. This broke my heart because I am on a healer's path and am going to graduate school for Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching, but I could see that this pain was something I couldn't touch. A heart-felt conversation with a younger cousin revealed to me the plight of my family and is what inspired me to ACTUALLY begin the process of healing my family trauma. I choose to not share the details here because of the tenderness and gravity of the story, but the fact of the matter is my family NEVER fully grieved or processed the trauma. Due to this, most of my cousins and family members are harboring this grief and cope in the ways that they can. I realized that that is what I had been doing- coping with grief that had been passed down to me through my Father, and I was repeating the patterns they had set: Ignore the feelings and drown them in substances, food, and poor life choices.
I felt like I was going crazy. Revelation after revelation came into my awareness. Memories surged forth from my childhood with new clarity with this new information. My life had not been what it seemed. I was not who I thought I was. I was the carrier of grief and trauma and was playing it out in my own fashion.
The following day, I went to the forest for the first time to begin this work. I felt scared and nervous. The feelings had overtaken me in days prior and I was weary of feeling this pain once again. As I entered into the Redwood forest, I became very aware of all the giant tree stumps, and felt saddened by the fact that these once great trees had been cut down. But then I saw something else...
I saw how most of the trees around me were the off-shoots of these once large and great trees. There were always several trees surrounding the stump, which had emerged to heal the severed body of the old tree. I saw how this could have actually been what was needed for the tree-entity to transform into something new; giving it new potential and new life. I saw how in order to complete transformation, the Old tree needed to be completely stripped away and severed in order for metamorphosis to occur. Perhaps it WASN'T a bad thing that these trees were cut down, but in fact gave them the OPPORTUNITY to change and transform.
Then it hit me: This is what I am doing for MY family tree- cutting down and stripping away the old, stagnant, dark energy to make room for new, light energy to emerge. Yet, it hurts to do this. It is very painful and trying. There will be time needed to heal (for the stump to heal), and that comes after the shock of the wounds moves on. Then, once the healing of the stump is complete, new trees, new shoots, new potentials are born and Earth (my family) is given another chance at creating something breathtaking.
So, right now, I am cutting away my old family tree- severing it completely to end the cyclical process of coping with substances and self-abuse. This will be painful. This will be uncomfortable. However, I am confident that, like the giant redwood, this will give my family-system space to create something new in its place. I have been chosen to heal my family systems of generations of grief and trauma, and what an honor it is.
From the darkness comes the light. I am a Warrior of the Light for my Family System.
I set forth on the path of Ancestral Healer, and choose to do the work my family members never did. May my journey flow with gace and ease, and may the spirits of my Ancestors do their own work alongside of me. I look forward to the day when I can say this is all behind me, but until then, I will find solace in Nature and give back the dark-energy to the Earth for processing and healing.
Thank you Ancestors for your patience. I hear you now, and am ready to do the work I am here to do.
And so it is.