Last time I wrote, I wrote to those who know someone who’s suffered deep, personal loss. I asked you to be patient with us and allow us plenty of time to recover. Coming back from deep grief is a LONG, painful road. Recovery takes lots of time, but we eventually find healing and learn to walk in our new normal.
In this writing I would like to talk to those of us who have personally suffered loss.
It’s a club we never wanted to join, yet, here we are.
Many of us have travelled down this grief road for a while and have learned to cope. We have a few years of “loss experience” under our belt and we don’t cry every single day like we did at first.
We walk with an emotional “limp,” but WE ARE WALKING.
It’s taken me a while to come to this place in my healing; how about you? I’ve worked hard to be exactly where I am, as a matter of fact I am about to start a class on coping with grief. I look forward to finding out if I’ve processed my pain in a healthy way. Sounds strange to use the word healthy in the same sentence with pain, but I believe it is possible.
I believe it’s possible to walk through soul-searing pain and learn more than you ever thought you could.
But, that’s the catch.
Who wants to wish pain into their lives to learn? I don’t see any raised hands. Me either.
Since we are inevitably going to suffer on some level or another throughout life, I want to find some silver lining to what I’ve been through. What can I glean from my personal tragedy, what have I learned?
I’ve learned I’m stronger than I ever thought I was.
A friend told me recently, she’s averages 100% in living through hard days. She’s made it through every one and is still here to talk about it. If you’d told me I was going to live the rest of my days without my mom, I would’ve told you I might die without her. But, you know what? I didn’t die. I’m 100% on living hard days without her so far. I get up, face each day as it comes, it’s not always pretty, but when I lay my head on the pillow at night, I remind myself I’m still here and still LIVING.
Since death wreaked havoc in my life,
I’ve found I can handle hard times with more courage.
What does that mean? Well, when a day goes awry I remind myself “I’ve been through MUCH HARDER TIMES than this.” When I feel left out, or overwhelmed or frustrated, I remember I’ve LIVED THROUGH WORSE.
And I’m still here.
I don’t want the strength the good Lord has grown within me to be wasted. Even if the only meaning I can find in my loss is to use it for coping with the days ahead, I’ll take it. There has to be more to what I’ve been through than to get past it, more than just getting over it. I want it to count for something. And when times do get really hard, I remind myself…
A bad day can’t come close to where I’ve been.
I’m going to make it.
I have a better perspective on life.
When you’ve looked death in the face, it changes how you view everything around you. Not right away, but eventually, you begin to be THANKFUL for any and everything in your life. Even the most average of days can be a festival of thanksgiving when you realize all you have. A simple walk around the park can feel freeing and beautiful. Sitting in Sunday morning church feels sacred. It’s like my senses are heightened and I’m keenly aware of the good things around me.
Even though I have to leave my youngest child in a different town so he can get an education, I am thankful to be here to cry about it. Yes, I am thankful through tears. That’s a bonus I’ve discovered since mom’s death, tears come easily and I don’t take them for granted.
Be patient with yourself, it takes a while to start feeling thankful, but if you do the work it takes to find healing, thankfulness will come.
I LOVE to make memories!
I’ve learned any event can be made into a memory and that is so important. Lately I’ve been remembering a lot about my mom. I can even remember events without crying. I thank the Lord often for the gift of remembering, it has been a life saver. So, I try to have as many “outings” as I can with my college age kids. Even if it’s just a simple trip to meet at Cracker Barrel. I plan and save for vacations where I know we’ll laugh and play together. Anything we do, I try to keep in mind our lives are flying by and I want to have lots of events to look back on and smile.
I am a picture fanatic!
Don’t get too close to me or I’m liable to snap your picture. I don’t believe you can have enough pics of the ones you love. Mom hated being photographed so I don’t have nearly as many pictures of her as I would like. I am so sad about that. My poor kids have been photographed half to death. But, they know not to give me a hard time, so they stand for the thousandth time and smile for the camera. You know what? I’ve created a chronicling of their lives and I hope one day they’ll thank me for it. I try my best to be willing to have my picture taken on my best and worst days because, one day, I know they’ll be able to look back and smile as one memory after another is laid before them in digital color.
Grief has been a defining point in my life, but I do not want to be defined by my grief. I don’t want to park there and never become the person God intended. I want my grief to mean something, to be worth something, and to be used to wield good all around me. I want to offer hope and compassion to those who don’t think they’ll live through another day because of the pain.
All of this hurt can’t be for nothing.
If I could choose, I would take my mom back in a Mississippi minute and trade all of these lessons without thinking twice. But, since that option is not on the table, I like to think she’d be proud of me for taking something REALLY hard and finding the good in it.
I think she’d give me a 100%.