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New Privacy Policy

You may have heard about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that goes into effect on Friday, May 25, 2018. In an effort to comply with GDPR, I’ve created a privacy policy and posted it under the “privacy policy” menu bar heading on my website. This regulation is being instituted by the European Union and requires that contact information of EU residents be freely given and collected. Some of you may fall into that category of readers and followers.

WordPress collects your email address when you follow my blog and uses it to send you an alert each time I post to the blog, which is about once a week. Though I don’t send newsletters or any information directly to the emails at this time, in the interest of transparency and compliance with the law, I created the privacy policy. I hope you’re finding my posts worthy of your time and helpful along your grief journey. If at any time you’d like to update your preferences, please feel free to do so.

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When We Wonder, “What’s Next?”

I feel like a cook tasked with making a stew of two dozen ingredients from a recipe I’ve never seen, and I’m a bit overwhelmed and not sure where to start.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with a new task? Do you ever wonder where to start? Which direction to go? Where to put your energy first?

“What’s next?” may be a question we ask repeatedly during our grief journey. We probably ask it after the funeral. We may ask it later, after our grief has changed us,  but we’re still recreating ourselves. Or we may ask it after we’re finished sorting through the belongings of our loved one.

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Where to next? Don’t we wish our pathway was laid out as clearly as this trail?

After selling my parents’ home three weeks ago and saying my goodbyes, I was enthused by the idea of paring down belongings at my own home and devoting more time to writing projects. But I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I’m bogged down. So much to do. So little me.

I should feel excited. I want to be excited. Instead, I am trying to peel carrots, sear chunks of beef, unwrap bouillon cubes and answer a ringing phone. I’m trying to make something deliciously wonderful out of a lot of moving parts. Where do I start?

I’m going to unpack four suggestions here. What might yours be?

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Mother’s Day’s Most Difficult Moment

With the sanctuary lights up and the pastor in the pulpit, they stand. They tower above me like a forest. A forest of women. I am small. An unimportant insect. Applause breaks out.

It isn’t for me. It has never been for me.

This is perhaps the most difficult moment of Mother’s Day. It is the deafening sound of a silent scream – I am not a mother! A nice alternative would be to be seated beside my own mother. To applaud for her. But she is dead. Dead. It is the loudest unspoken word in the church.

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My mother

Mother’s Day is one of those days we get through somehow. How do we manage without our mothers? Perhaps we bask in the appreciation of our children. But what if we are childless?

I stood up in the church one Mother’s Day. Seated along the fringe of the sanctuary this time, away from friends, I felt inconspicuous. I felt raw. I stood for the beloved dog I’d lost only days before. He’d been like my child for 15 years. I grieved him as a mother for a child. I missed the earthy smell of his fir. I missed the sound of his breath.

On that Mother’s Day, I was a grieving mother. A mother of an angel in heaven.

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Wrong Question, Right Attitude

Is this from God or a tool of Satan? In religious circles, we wonder if a difficulty has been allowed by God to strengthen our faith or if it comes as an obstacle from the evil one.

If we decide it’s from God, we may relax a bit, for we assume it was sent to strengthen our faith. If it comes from the hand of our Creator, it won’t permanently harm us. He loves us.

But if it’s from the Devil, we may throw back our shoulders and ready ourselves for a fight. We resist the difficulty with all our might. We put on our soldier outfits and fight heroically.20180324_150814

Problem is, we often cannot be certain whether a problem is from God or of the Devil. And if we focus on God’s all-powerful nature, we may blame God, believing he caused the pain, or that he is cruel for allowing it. Or maybe he was unhappy with us. Punishing us. But for what?

I believed God was loving when things were going my way, but when they weren’t, the questions nipped at me like a feisty Chihuahua I could not escape. It put a wedge between me and God. I couldn’t really trust the one being who could comfort me in my deepest difficulties. I was alone.

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