The faces of grief are an ever-changing landscape unique to each person’s experience. Depending on where you are in the process, the face of your grief and the words you use to describe it will vary all over the map.
Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category
You’re probably thinking, “I don’t even know what a ‘grief’ umbrella is”—and you’re asking me, “What color is your ‘grief’ umbrella?” Let’s work through this idea together …
Grief is a mystery and a shock when you first meet up with it. Nothing you’ve ever seen, read, or thought about grief prepares you for its reality. Just like death—when death steals someone you love away—a staggering realization hits your senses that your life has changed and it will never be the same again. That’s the way grief is, too. And when grief shows up, trust me, you’ll need ‘grief’ umbrellas.
As 2012 ends and the anticipation of a new year (along with the prospect for new beginnings) arrives, I can’t help but think about life through the eyes of a little child. Children have the right idea—and we can take away valuable lessons for living by looking at life through their eyes.
I sensed life through a new lens this Christmas. As adults, I think we often tend to become jaded over the years—a bit cynical; less than enthusiastic about things that excited us before; and sometimes we end up just going through the motions of holidays, celebrations, and even our everyday lives.
As I lay in bed last night, trying to go to sleep, a line from John Donne’s famous poem kept racing across my mind: “No man is an island.” His words of so long ago are surely as true today as when he wrote them.
I kept thinking about the tragedy last week in Newtown, CT, especially since just a few of days ago marked the first day of funerals for those who were gunned down. I couldn’t get those families out of my mind … nor the words of the poem.
I hope you’ll check out the article—and share it with your friends, family, and people you know.
People everywhere are experiencing all types of loss. Everyone needs hope. And when faced with grief, we all need help.
Just click on the link to read: Fairhaven Memorial Blog
Each of us can probably point to certain defining moments in our lives when something happened that changed our course or direction. Maybe it’s an ‘Aha’ moment when suddenly we understood a concept that changed everything for us. Perhaps it’s an achievement such as finally earning an advanced degree, winning a race, or reaching an important personal goal. Positive events such as these can be pivotal in moving us ahead, in charting a new path, or by propelling us to a higher level. Such events may also work to redefine who we are and who we can be as a consequence of our experience.
On the other hand, painful events carry the potential to define our lives, too, and the result can either be positive or negative.
I hope you’ll check out the article—and share it with your friends and anyone you know who would be interested.
Just click on the link: Fairhaven Memorial Park
How many of you have had to fight against discouragement? Every single one of us has been there—right? Whether you’re facing disappointment, despair, or another difficult condition or situation, unfortunately the following quote is true, and going through the ‘what is’ can be a challenge:
“In order to get from what was to what will be, you must go through what is.”
Hopelessness seems to show up at the worst times—when things keep going wrong, when plans or dreams aren’t working out the way you hoped, when you’re being bombarded on all sides by challenges, and sometimes when you’re just plain tired!
Fourteen years ago, I questioned whether I would ever feel like smiling again—and whether I’d be happy in the future. But now I know it’s true—and not just for me, but for so many others who have been through the pain of grief. If you’re wondering the same thing, I want to reassure you that happiness is not only possible, but likely to happen for you, if that’s the choice you make after loss.
A wonderful friend from a past grief support group, who lost his wife several years ago, suggested that I share my story to encourage others who are disheartened and now facing loss. Regardless of where you are at this moment, know that you are not alone, and many of us have been in the same place—struggling with negative feelings, fears, and uncertainties.
My story of loss happened suddenly, without any warning. I thought everything was just fine. My husband took off on a mountain bike ride—something he frequently did—except this time, he never came home. The instant he died, my entire life changed. I had trouble envisioning any kind of future for myself back then.
Millions of people around the world are mourning the sudden death of Whitney Houston and trying to take in the reality of something they cannot believe is real. For Whitney’s family and those who love her the most, the pain is beyond comprehension. My heart breaks when I think of what her daughter Bobbi Kristina, her mother Cissy, her ex-husband Bobby, and others closest to her are going through right now, because I’ll never forget the unspeakable pain I lived through fourteen years ago when my husband John went mountain-bike riding and never came home. Tragedy strikes—and we are overwhelmed by grief.
No one is prepared for death, even if someone is sick and isn’t expected to live. And when death comes unexpectedly, we feel even more helpless and confused. Grief is not something we think about until we come face-to-face with it, and by that time, it’s too late. We’re thrust abruptly into grief, we don’t have a clue what is happening to us, how to respond, or what to do—and at some point, we’ll know we have to find a way to navigate the fear, confusion, and uncertainty of our personal grief journey.
Misunderstanding surrounds grief.
The word I haven’t been able to get out of my mind this week is ‘hope’ because I so desperately want to express this sense of hope to you. Each of us face losses of many kinds, and they are all devastating in their own ways. Our losses cause pain — and the pain is inescapable. But here’s where the hope comes in!
Grief is the way we get from pain to a fulfilling life again. When we choose to grieve, we are choosing hope, because we’ve decided to take the necessary steps to move through the pain (over time) and start living again.
Grieving does not happen automatically.
A friend shared something with me that changed his life. Last year he started a gratitude journal. All year long, he’s written something in his journal each day. Even on the worst of days, he’s been able to find things to be grateful for.
Before going to sleep at night, he thinks about his day and records his gratitude in his book. Each time he writes, he starts out by saying that he’s glad to be alive! He almost died. That experience changes the way you think. Some days my friend also begins his day by writing in his gratitude journal.
We have high expectations for the holidays, and we naturally think about our loved ones more than ever. We long to be with those we love, and when that’s impossible, we’re sad. I’m no different than anyone else. The first holidays without my husband were especially tough. But I had built a foundation that held me up despite the utter sadness and pain I felt.
Soon after my husband died, I made a decision — and I remember exactly where I was standing when I made it. Making that decision was clearly important to my future and critical to my grief journey.
But beyond the collective grief of all Americans, for those who lost loved ones that day, 9/11 and what it represents in their lives will never be forgotten — as is the case for each of us who has suffered the profound loss of someone or something that means everything to us. 9/11 is a symbol for all who have known deep loss — but I want to convince you that it’s also a symbol of hope and determination.
Each person who is alive will experience grief. If you haven’t already, it’s just a matter of time. Grief is a fact of life. But what is even more tragic than your loss is for you to allow grief to define the remainder of your life!