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Category Archives: Grief

death_maya angelou

My mother died five years ago today.  But, tears still come to my eyes.  My children have expressed (or discontinued contact) their opinions on their own childhood as each person packs and carries his/her emotional baggage.

 

Things were not perfect in my relationship with my mother.  I, too, have my own memories of difficult times, very different personalities, or way of thinking.  For those that hear the story, their degrees of separation make them smile at my mother’s behavior.

 

Her way is how she was and is remembered by so many.  Mom made people feel comfortable and welcomed in friendship even if they had met for the first time.  She wrote letters to a jailed community member to comfort him (we knew nothing about this until after she had died).

 

Despite the differences, losing my parent was very painful.  She died of a cruel terminal disease so we watched her suffer before she eventually passed away.  For her it was a blessing, but the gap that she left behind is so large that my father is still struggling to bridge it.

 

She left behind many grandchildren and great grandchildren who would be so grateful to have such a woman in their lives.  Now, she is a photo or the subject of a brief story.  Mom is a reminiscence or a smile.

 

But, for me, tears still continue to fall.  Grief is elastic but never fully leaves the spirit.  It is a goodbye that never ends because there is nothing like a parent and no depth of love that can ever replace it.

 

I don’t know if it is so, but I hope that she is still watching me from the door as I walk away…..

 

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grief_u will not be the same_kubler ross

This is a precious time of year for many, but also one of great reflection because of the themes of Victory, Dedication, Life, and Joy.  It is a time of light continuing to burn beyond all reason or hope, a beacon in the window, a shining reminder that we continue…  despite everything, we remain.

This has been a year of immense tragedy and loss and my thoughts are with those who will not be celebrating in the same way this year.  A time of family gatherings, and acknowledging the meaning of our celebrations and observances, means that our hearts and minds are open to all impressions and senses of self, faith and Heaven.

How can we go on in the face of great sadness?  We continue to grieve and remember.  We rise because we must for those around us.  We rise as a testament to those who loved us and for whom our world revolved.

Seeing the tears of children who should not grow up without a father, as I did this week, I was reminded of all that I have to be grateful for and the prayers for healing and comfort extended on behalf of these heartbroken families.  Perhaps, I should have remained quieter, or said less; I berated myself that night and the following day.

But, I wanted them to know that there is no time limit on grief and that it will come in waves over times of blessing, holidays, and family gatherings.  No one has the right to determine how long someone else may mourn; the past, present, and future are forever changed.  While I believe that a loved one who has passed on will continue to guide and watch over those whom they love, it is we in our limited understanding who bear the pain of missing that person.

I wanted them to know that neither he, nor they, will be forgotten.

Just as the person we loved continues to be memorialized, we cannot look away from another’s heartache.   Being sensitive to another’s mourning is how we can pay testament to the great love and friendship that exists and remains.

For those in this time of passing from one gathering, one season to another, one year into another, and each day moving forward, my prayers are for peace and comfort in the time to come and to be accessible to you when you are ready to receive them.

grief_I will be there_emily dickinson

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But my brain never forgets either….

maya angelou_alike

It is that time again when I struggle to add acceptance to the other stages of grief that are playing with me again.

Anxiety, crankiness, frustration and other emotional tides are tossing me about.  It is the anniversary of a death.  I have joys and family opportunities to celebrate life and gratitude. My life has been altered by giving others permission to express their pain and truth.  We each need to be supported and encouraged to be accepted through all of our life experiences.  When I try to deny that to myself, my heart and mind know the truth.  My emotions are fragile.  Loss of a loved one is understood acutely by someone who has experienced that same gaping pain.

That anniversary surrounds me with memories of the days leading up to the passing of someone who loved me.  Looking back, I realize that I thought I had more time than I did.

My responsibilities and commitments were honored, although it didn’t mean as much to the recipients as it did to me.  When I tried to be strong, and denied myself the empathy I offered to others, I missed one more chance to say goodbye.  Another hug, or a kiss, or a kind word slipped away from me in regret.

So, now it is my turn.  Overwhelming grief makes a liar out of time.  Passage is just hands on a clock until it is someone else’s time to mourn.

 

 

 

saying someone cant be sad because someone else has it better

To anyone who has suffered a loss of self – a job, a loved one, an estrangement, a broken heart, wrenching illness, pain, or the million other tragedies that occur out of our control – this is a most difficult season.

I am not minimizing the loving family images, or the stirrings of home and hearth, that they elicit. But, in the season of comparisons, we feel incomplete.

We want the fantasy; the cozy fire glowing and reflecting the lights and sparkle of holidays sets us dreaming.

However, this is the season of comparison.

To those who still continue to grieve, or have just begun, regardless of the length of time, our mourning has no expiration date. Seeing all those happy shiny faces is a stark reminder of what, and whom, we have lost. The family traditions and holiday overload can be painful knowing our hearts will never be quite healed and that there are certain times that can accentuate the particular pain and loss that is being endured. It is hard to remember that you are not alone and that not everyone has a perfect life behind the facade.

We are thankful and acknowledge our gratitude and appreciation. Yet, we are also quite aware that we are no longer the same person in the “new normal.” For someone else to suggest that we don’t deserve to acknowledge our sadness, loss, and sorrow, is a selfish and gratuitous remark; like all of the other platitudes such as “Life goes on” and “You are still grieving?!” Remember, these comments are a lack of empathy on someone else’s part and do not represent a failing in you. You deserve to take as much time as you need to mourn your respective loss.

Sometimes, the best we can hope for is a kind friend. Grief and heartache are individual, and too delicate, to place in the hands of those who cannot understand for they have never walked the journey.

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