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Posts tagged ‘Grief’

A Decade With Grief: Eight Behaviors That Transformed Pain Into Peace

This article is different from ones that reflect on how grief evolves years after the death of a loved one. I’ll share what changed my grief – what got me on the other side of tremendous pain.

I howled as I stood beside my mother’s bed 10 years ago this week. After taking her pulse, I realized she was dead. I buried my face in my husband’s chest. I howled again when the hospice nurse arrived, put a stethoscope on her chest and shook her head “no.”

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Mom’s house became my mourning place as I cleaned out hers and Dad’s belongings over an eight year period. Not that I didn’t mourn her elsewhere. But it was an operation room of sorts. It’s where I exposed all my insides to the full force of grief’s scalpel.

Last year, I sold their house. Despite all the years that had passed, I hated letting go of the place where I felt their presence the most. However, I definitely saw a change in me. My grief was not the same. How did that happen? Was it simply passage of time? I can confidently say no.

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How long will grief last? When will the pain subside? I see social media posts from people who say the grief still feels fresh years later. They fear that sorrow will never subside. While each of us will follow a unique timeline with our grief, I sometimes wonder what might be happening that keeps a sense of healing out of reach. I want to connect, offer a hug, and help.

As I reflect on my grief, I see not only a different sorrow 10 years later, but I see things I did and things that occurred to help me experience a measure of healing. I’ve identified eight that I share below.

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Reading Inherited Diaries

What if you could hear your deceased parent tell a story you’ve never heard?

What if you could discover thoughts they’d never expressed?

What if you could get perspective they never gave you in life?DadJournal

If a parent or another loved one left behind a diary or journal – or even letters or tales of events in story form – you’ve got a gold mine.

I also realize our perception of someone may be shattered by what is written in a raw moment of honesty, guilt or bereavement. We also may learn intimate details we don’t want to know.

Early in the project to clean out my parents’ home, I found a batch of their love letters I’d never known existed. I hesitated reading them. I feared the equivalent of walking into a bedroom and discovering my parents naked.

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Do You Need A Mid-Year Reset?

I decided this past weekend to declare a mid-year reset. Lots of events may force resets. Loss and death. Job changes. New homes. New cities. New phases of life. These are resets forced upon us.

And then there are those we choose. We draw a line in the sand. July 1st is my line in the sand.

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“Perfect,” I thought. “The first day of the second half of the year. And a Monday. The beginning of the work week.”

I needed a reset. Saddled with bouts of depression this year, I’d languished in loss and in uncertainty about life and about myself. I’d surface for a while only to be pulled under again.

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Do Little Losses Prepare Us for Big Ones?

I wrote earlier this month about a long ago event of betrayal. Of pain. Of grief. Yes, I’m used to writing about grief, but not this grief, not this particular loss.

The Wonder Report published the article My Dream Didn’t Come True, and Here’s Why It Was the Best Thing to Happen I began the story with the moment I realized I’d lost the man I loved. Forever. He probably did not consider his action a betrayal, but I did.

I typically write about loss associated with death. So what does this incident that happened 20 years ago have to do with my writing and my journey of loss?

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Could it be that those “little” griefs along the way prepare us for the “big” griefs?

That’s what this relationship did. In many ways. Not just at the end point. Read more

Who is Protector After Dad is Gone?

Our sense of security is often rooted in our fathers. After my dad died, I called out to God spontaneously, “Send me a protector!”

Where do we find that sense of safety that we lost?

I caution not to go looking for it in a romance. That was my first go-to. I did not realize exactly what I was doing. My reasoning was that God was buffering the loss of my father with a husband-to-be, the lifelong dream of being a wife.IMG

You can imagine the sense of double loss I felt when that security blanket was ripped from my life, too, a year after my father died. Read more

Do You Hear Voices Like Me?

I hear voices, but don’t be concerned. I don’t need medicine. I don’t need a psychiatrist.

You hear voices in your head, too. Our voices try to pull us down daily, feeding us messages of fear and inadequacy. They tinker with our sense of identity. They attack when we are weak from grief and stress. They attack when we are strong, too, in places we’ve left unguarded.

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“I keep fighting voices in my mind,” sings Lauren Daigle in You Say, a charting contemporary Christian tune being played by secular radio stations and venues.

I’m convinced the popularity of the song is evidence of our society resonating with its message. We’re undergoing an identity crisis. We don’t feel loved. We don’t feel strong, able to meet the challenges of life. As a result, we seek out ways to patch the insecurities.

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Mother’s Day: Grieving & Gratitude for the Mother I Knew & One I Never Knew

When you’ve lost your first love, your biggest fan, your highest image of womanhood, Mother’s Day is never the same again. A day set aside to express gratitude to her becomes a day of grief.

I really hated Mother’s Day the first few years. I faced Mother’s Day’s Most Difficult Moment if I did not skip church, where the pastor asked mothers to stand to be honored. It was salt in the wound as those who did not know me in our large congregation assumed I was a mother. So sometimes I skipped the whole ordeal and slept in.

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Having avoided that grief trigger one year, I drove for an afternoon treat only to be confronted with the ice cream store manager suggesting I put “Mom” on the personal-sized cake I selected. I wanted to put a pie in his face.

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That Grief Term: “Letting Go”

Letting go. The term and its derivatives come up frequently in grief circles. I detest them. I cringe when I hear them used.

It’s typically thrust at us, as in, “You need to let go” or if you do this or that “then you will let go.” Or we ourselves decide our healing is in “letting go,” thus we strive to stop crying, or obsessing, or feeling. Or we strive to release a loved one’s clothing. Or their car. Or their home.

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It seems so long ago that I sold the house where I grew up, the place where my parents died. I suppose that means my life has been filled with other pursuits for a year, but do not assume I did not miss the place. In fact, I’ve grieved letting it go. You can learn more about surviving this process in Letting Go of Where You Grew Up

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“I Know How You Feel”: What To Do With Grief Platitudes

How should we respond when well-meaning people say things that injury us? Has anyone ever delivered any of these platitudes, clichés or other expressions meant to comfort you as a griever?

“I know how you feel.”

“Time heals all wounds.”

“God must have needed her more.”

“You can have more children.”

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“She’s in a better place.”

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Parkinson’s & the Impact of Prolonged Illness on Grief

What is the impact of prolonged illness on grief? Does it give us time to get used to the idea of death? Does the anticipation in some way lessen the sting of loss?

I think on these questions as we mark Parkinson’s Awareness Week and World Parkinson’s Day, April 10th on the 2019 calendar. My dad had Parkinson’s. His symptoms began in the late 1990s, but doctors initially believed mini-strokes caused his shuffled gait.

person in hospital gown using walking frame beside hospital bed

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I remember the phone call. My mother was on the other end. A neurologist diagnosed Dad with Parkinson’s disease. The year was 2000. She sounded relieved. Almost happy. I understood why.

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