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rose kennedy quote pain is never gone
This is a see-saw life, not a balancing act. Each day is a new attempt to rise up to the challenges of daily living. Sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other is an act of brute strength.

There have been many challenges that tire me and have left their empty spaces and raw places in my heart. It would be wonderful if others could appreciate how hard it is to grieve for someone you love and that there is no time limit. For those who are grieving, and have, they do understand. For those who are most fortunate not to have to examine the most difficult part of the life cycle, do not take this time or another person for granted.

Losing my mother and grandmother four weeks apart was a double blow. Others just pretend it never happened or cannot understand the extent of the relationships I had with my mother and grandmother. Yet, I have been asked if I am all better. There are no parameters to the love I feel for my mother and grandmother, so how could I limit the grief and mourning to some preconceived notion of propriety? I had fifty years of experiences with my mother and grandmother, how could three months be enough time for grieving?

I think of my mother and grandmother every single day. A song, a photograph, a thought, a flower…… can suddenly bring tears to my eyes and I relive the loss again and again. This goodbye is permanent; my first instinct to call my mother or visit my grandmother means I have to remember that the door is closed, the bed is empty, the phone no longer rings.

grief is normal

The kindness of letting another cry, or acknowledge the depth of sorrow, is part of the elemental behavior that makes us human. We can extend it when we see someone like us, struggling to make it through the overwhelming losses. Pain recognizes pain.

When sadness threatens to overwhelm me, it is the conscious decision to commit an act of kindness that brings me back up again. Even in the simplicity of speaking to another, I am deciding to reveal myself. If he finds comfort in the telling of my own struggles, then it is a conscious listening and sharing on both of our parts. We welcome and make room for our stories with respect. Again, it is scary to take the first step, but if the other person responds, a weight is lifted.

Trying to instill ethics, values, courtesy and the awareness that we can alter another’s personal world, and the universe at large, is hoping that the germ of generosity and openness takes root in those whose lives we touch. Fear and mistrust is an unlearning of those ideals to which we hold dear. All it takes is one playground bully to push us to the ground and our fragile child-like strength shatters.

There is nothing random or small about an act of kindness. Empathy, and the desire to create a cycle of good and trust where hearts and minds have been broken, leaves the world a better place. We do not want to face the loss of someone we love, but the intention to comfort another is at the heart of a kindness we cannot repay. It is that intention that gives me hope through the highs and lows of the see-saw life.

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10 Comments

  1. I have found (and appreciate) that just being with someone, in silence, can be more comforting that any words or deeds. Be warmed then, by my gift of silence. And thank you for your post.

    • Sometimes, with a person who exudes loving energy, silence is a comfort. Since kindness and warmth can be extended as a ray of energy, that could be comforting silence. Also, a hug and a hand to hold are silent comforts than can say more than words.

      Thank you for reading my post and joining the dialogue. I appreciate “hearing” your perspective and thoughtful gift.

  2. Beautiful post.
    Over time, I have understood grief some, and to me, it seems like a gradual process of realization. Something we all dread, but in the end, accept. Some of my profound moments have come when others have comforted me with their understanding silence and a warm hug. It has not lessened the grief but has made me a bit stronger, a lot compassionate.

    • Thank you so very much for your comment. It really helps to hear how someone else feels and their experience. Sometimes, grief and the experience can be so overwhelming, especially when we fee alone. Your “hug” and compassion in sharing mean a great deal to me. I will “hold” your hand too and we cam reach out when needed. That is the wonder of this process.

  3. For me, grief wasn’t a process, it was a condition. But when I was finally able to reconcile myself with the realities of loss, (3 years), I found an odd sort of peace that keeps my dearly departed alive inside me without having to revisit his death again. I’m keeping you in my heart. Take all the time you need, its your time table, my friend.

    • Thank you so much, you are so dear to me and your kindness is palpable. I am still unable reconcile with peace. Rationally, I understand that where they are is so much better for them. However, emotionally, on that plane where rationality and logic have no bearing, it is overwhelmingly painful. I know time is part of the process and it may be years until I can see my mother’s photo without crying. The support and sharing from someone who has been through this is so special.

      • When my grandmother died, it took me 7 years to stop crying every time I looked at my children, 2 & 3 years old, knowing how much she wanted to be part of their lives. It will always hurt, that vacant feeling in my heart; it’s like a slow leak. Sorry. I should try to be up beat, but I’ve chosen to be honest instead.

      • I prefer honesty to false cheer. I was very lucky to be an adult with grandparents. I lost one grandmother when I was 36; I was able to introduce her to my children, although my youngest was 3. My kids still have crayons that she gave them. I was 50 when this grandmother passed. She was at my daughter’s wedding (her great granddaughter) and my children and I had life experiences with them. My mother was 70 and I know how much my children missed out on by losing her young in their lives. That was so hard and still is. At a family wedding a month ago, her absence was monumental for all of us, her children and grandchildren. She was so full of life and was such an amazing grandmother and quite the character. She was and is a presence and not someone easily “gotten” over. I will always miss having a mother and mine, in particular. No one fills that role. I accept that it will take years, with each birth of a baby, holidays, her birthday…..she will always be missed.

  4. Powerful quotes and discussion. I could not agree more…time is no automatic remedy. Thanks to all who have commented…really inspiring!

    • Julie, Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. I am so glad you joined the conversation! I am sure that you have a great deal of experience in this area so your comment is very appreciated.


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