My life changed radically in 1998. It’s hard to believe that seventeen years have passed since then. However, flashes from those days will stay with me as long as I live. Do you feel as though grief is the end of your story? For a time, I thought grief marked the end of mine.
Posts Tagged ‘hope’
By Judy Brizendine
Something about the idea of a new year, new beginning captures my mind and sends me down a road of reflection. What will this year bring? Where will we be this time next year? What will have changed? What would we like to change? What do we plan to change?
Last year I purchased two little white erase boards. They’re small – about 5“ x 8” – but I love making my ‘to-do’ list on these boards, crossing out what I’ve completed, and finally erasing those items and starting again. I know this sounds really silly, but I take great pleasure in using these little zebra-edged boards to plan my activities and then wiping the boards clean and starting over. The action clears my mind! That’s how I think of a new year, new beginning. A fresh, blank slate. A new opportunity. (more…)
Last week brought terror and heartache to people across our country, but our collective pain and grief are only a shadow of the pain and grief felt by victims whose lives were directly touched by the tragedies in Boston, MA and West, TX. My heart aches for each of these people and their families … for the way their lives have been forever changed and for the unbelievable pain they face over the next weeks, months, and years as they work through their grief and learn to accept (and adjust to) the changes inflicted on their lives because of their losses. When tragedy and grief devastate you, what do you do?
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.
I doubt that anyone would argue with the statement, “Life is an ever-changing, developing story.” Stuff happens to us all the time. We find ourselves in different situations, sometimes unexpected. We meet new people. We go places, and we try new things.
Everything factors into the way we see ourselves and the world around us. We hardly notice certain things while others produce life-altering effects. That’s what I’m talking about here — the life-altering effects — and whatever creates them! So the question is: “What defines your life?”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I have a pair of work boots that I used to wear on job sites to keep my nice shoes from being destroyed. We never knew what we would run into on construction sites—drywall mud, paint, dirt, construction debris—or just about anything! So I tried to keep my work boots in the trunk, just in case. The grief journey is kind of like that—you never know just what you’ll run up against or how something will affect you at a certain time.
My work boots were comfortable, sturdy, ordinary, no-nonsense shoes. And well- worn. They were made for work. Certainly at times grief felt like hard work—and I felt worn-out and a little ragged—just like my work boots.
At other times, something would happen to really lift my spirits and give me hope— kind of like my red suede slip-on loafers. Comforting. Positive. Someone would call just to let me know they’d been thinking about me. Or a friend would offer to help with something I couldn’t do by myself. Optimistic shoes—like a grief day touched by the reassurance that everything will be okay again.
Not every day during grief is a ‘work boot’ day. Thankfully, there are some ‘red suede loafer’ days, too!
What kind of grief day are you having?
© 2011 Judy Brizendine
It’s great to meet you. Take a few minutes and look around. See what’s here.
This blog is about hope and inspiration. It’s about help. It’s about seeing the beauty that’s all around you, even if you can’t see it right now. It’s about finding a way to smile—and know that you are not alone. It’s about getting you to believe—really believe —that you will make it through grief. And that life will be good again. But it takes effort on your part. You have to believe in yourself and really want things to get better!
You’ll find truth here. I won’t pull punches. I’ll tell you about things I learned the hard way. I want your path after loss to be easier than mine was.
Let’s make this journey together. You don’t have to do this alone.
© 2011 Judy Brizendine