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Getting To Okay After Loss, Grief

There was no waiting line to see Santa, and I could not resist.

He saw me eyeing him. He lifted his gloved palm. I waved back. He seemed to usher me over. I curled around the stacks of boxed toys Bass Pro had strategically placed along the pathway.

“Hi, Santa,” I said, advancing toward his seat. “The little girl in me had to come see you.”

He smiled. A rustic bench rested at his knee. I sat on it. He asked me how I had been doing, as if perhaps we were old acquaintances.

“Well, okay, but it is hard sometimes. My parents are dead, and I miss them. We had lots of good Christmases together.”

My admission to Santa triggered me. Tears filled my eyes, but they were for a million things that had gone wrong with 2021, for things too complex to explain to Santa Claus.

The year was supposed to be restorative for us all. In 2021, the virus was supposed to be conquered. Life was supposed to return to normal.

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What Would I Do Without You, Mom?

I discovered the homemade Mother’s Day card inside a box of her things and read what I’d written at the bottom as a young teenager.

“If I didn’t have you what could I do?”

(I ruminated time and time again on that question. It was years ago I first wrote about it, but as Mother’s Day approaches here in 2021, I’m sharing this post again. We often do not know for years what we are going to do without our mothers.)

Indeed, I told myself, sitting in her house among her things, This is the question I’ve lived with since she died.

Photo by Daria Obymaha on

This is my 8th Mother’s Day without Mom. Among my friends are those who face their first Mother’s Day without their mamas. For others, it’s been many years.

We all manage to get through it, but not so easily. I hope by the end of this post, you can personalize my ideas and cope more easily.

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Starting Over in Life, Grief

Grief forces us to start over. It forces a huge start over. And then there are the smaller start overs in life. That’s where I am today.

It’s scary. It’s uncertain. Starting over also is full of possibilities. Full of new opportunities. Full of growth.

I invite you to come with me. For the past few months, I’ve been preparing for a start over that will impact our relationship here. And this week, I am launching. (Update: Another delay! I found someone to help with the techie stuff, but must wait for his schedule to clear.)

It’s scary. Uncertain. But also full of opportunities for growth.

I will be redoing my website and blog over the next few days. You may continue to see changes through next week. I’m not a techie, but if everything goes as planned, I’ll be taking you with me. All followers will be transferred to the new website.

“Don’t be afraid to start over again. This time, you’re not starting over from scratch. You’re starting from experience.”

Lacey johnson, author

Note: The website address will not change. You still will find me at

I began the website in the fall of 2016. You will see a new, user-friendly design. You will see more useful, inspirational content.

Back to grief: For a while, we sit with our grief. We struggle within its waves. We’re cast about in its storms.

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Am I Grieving Properly?

Am I doing this right? Is this what grief is supposed to feel like? Am I normal?

We all have a picture of what grief looks like, but in the middle of our own loss, we ask questions like these. Because grief is more complex than the image society gave us.

If we are laughing, we feel we are dishonoring our loved one. Or we may wonder if we harbor some sort of callousness. What kind of person am I?

While our inner voices beat us up, external ones may, too.

We hear the judgment:

“How can she be laughing? Her husband (mother, father, sister, child) died six weeks ago.”

“She’s finished grieving. Look at her smile.”

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COVID Boosting Parental Death Awareness

COVID-19 has brought parental death out of the shadows by smattering the world with orphans, young ones and adult ones. What will this mean for those grieving a mother or father?

I’ve already seen more chatter across social media platforms on parental death. More people expressing the loss of a mother or father. More people feeling that they can express this loss.

Photo by Luis Galvez

And yet, because so many are grieving a loss due to COVID, some of us may feel we cannot express our loss. We may get the subliminal message that the collective grief outweighs our personal grief. And so, we push down the moments of utter hopelessness and sadness.

We don’t cry. We don’t phone a friend nor ask for help from a support group.

What a complex social dynamic added to the existing complexities of grief! I’m not surprised that the totality of COVID losses is creating what’s been called a tsunami of grief.

The Horrible Body Count

More than half a million people have died in the United States of “deaths involving COVID-19,” according to officials. The oldest die in greater numbers. They are the most likely to be parents. They also may be grandparents.

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Valentine’s Message: Grief & Abuse

Our life experiences and abuse might have messed with our sense of what God thinks of us, but I want anyone who feels “less than” to stretch out in prayer to find out who He really is.

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Give Yourself Credit – You Survived

I am a perfectionist, and I suspect there’s a little bit of perfectionism in all of us.

I mean, we’ve all got that nagging voice in our heads that fears failure. The nerve – it even bugs us in the midst of grief. Depression. Loneliness.

It judges us. It berates us. It tells us everything we are doing wrong. Everything we should be doing right. And everyone who has it all together.

Photo by Alexandro David on

Well, I’m here to say that you should give yourself credit. Even if you aren’t doing grief like your mother or your best friend or your neighbor. Even if you haven’t been out of bed in a week. Even if you still collapse in tears recalling how you missed your father’s last Christmas.

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Super Heroines & Super Grievers: What Happens When We Take Shortcuts

Wonder Woman possessed superhuman strength, the Lasso of Truth, bullet-busting bracelets and an invisible plane, but she was powerless over death.

Spoiler alert ahead: Despite her remarkable powers, she couldn’t bring her true love back from the dead. But oh boy, at the beginning of the latest movie, she certainly wished she could.

Photo by Keenan Constance

The story portrayed in Wonder Woman 1984 released last month to movie goers is fictional, of course, but anyone who has lost a loved one can understand her plight.

It’s instinctive, almost like if we wished hard enough, we could bring them back. We play with the “what ifs,” as though we could time travel. We’d fix the events to avoid our parent’s death.

Or our father’s. Husband’s. Brother’s. Sister’s. Our grandmother’s.

Grief Gone

Wonder Woman got her wish with an assist from an ancient object. She reveled in the return of Steve Trevor, who’d died in the 2017 Wonder Woman movie that featured actress Gal Gadot.

That grief she’d been holding onto for decades – gone. She didn’t look back, until she discovered the power that granted her wish wanted something precious from her in return.

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Rebuilding After the Fire

We’ve been in the fire almost a year now.

The pandemic burned away life as we knew it. But in addition to a collective grief, we’ve fought our own personal, devastating fires.

Do you feel like your life is burning down around you today?

Been there. A few times in my life I’ve felt like my life was being burned to the ground. The death of my father kicked off one of those times.

I pictured myself standing among the charred embers of what had been a house. I was a sole, bereft figure. My sense of security had been incinerated with any idea about how to fix the rip in my soul.

Are you looking around today, seeing everything that gave you comfort, love and purpose in ashes at your feet?

The task to rebuild feels monumental. You don’t know where to begin.

I was 6 years old the year a fire consumed my family’s house in the middle of the night.

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3 Christmas Songs That Loss Changed Forever

Christmas won’t ever be the same after a parent dies and neither will the messages within some of our beloved songs.

In the thick of grief, we may decide to rip off the volume knob, ban any Christmas tune. Or we may sing along.

Whatever serves our healing is the right thing to do. Yes, we must allow our sorrow to spill out to find some healing, but we may temper our tears for a better time and place.

Photo by Francesca Zama on

What are the Christmas songs that especially tug at your heart? Why? What words strike a cord with you?

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