Grades of Grief

1CC51986-2CC6-456F-BCB2-98B5AF2690B2     I have had my share of grief in life and no doubt, you also.  It, of course, can come from a physical death of a loved one or friend but grief is shared among other losses and the pain is there.
     Growing up and probably until my own mother passed away, I dealt with deaths and the visitations, funerals and family gatherings afterward never wanting to lose touch with cousins and extended family members, but you do.
     It was when my mother passed that it all became real, the grieving of what was and what will never be.  While we were not the mother-daughter connection as pictures show and memories are made of, still she was my mother.  Sitting at traffic lights looking up at the beautiful sky and seeing the clouds, the tears would flow were my usual bouts of grief.
     Just a few years later, while trying to maintain my own home but also my father’s home and all of his financial and medical affairs, my marriage was dying.  I could feel it, I knew things were not right. I blamed myself as I was being pulled in many directions and apparently neglecting him.  While that was all true of caring and doing for many, I am not to accept all the blame and I will not.  Still, grieving the marriage of what was and what will never be.
F36661FC-75AE-4792-88F7-1F4EFB5ACE0E     Through the years, I have lost friendships for whatever reason by job change, moving, etc. no doubt, you have also.  Realizing their friendship was just for a season, whether it be their season or mine, it still hurts to lose the closeness. Depending how close we were, the grief can become intense, not just uncomfortable for a bit.
     With that I found myself to be distant with some because of the hurt, the grief of losing them. They are still alive but not there. Just recently, I went through this with someone very special to me. Every level of grief was there still and I knew it. Even today, I now teeter between the depression stage and acceptance.  This can last for a bit.  When sadness hits, I cry and then I get back up accept what is. Thankfully the anger has lost its power but it was there and normal.
     Whether it is a person, a pet or whatever to cause your heart to ache, it is normal.  It just shows you are normal and have a heart and love within that you shared.
Looking at the chart of the many levels of grief, I recognize each one and understand when it hits.  One of those, ‘been there, done that’ quotes.  No matter what your situation, grief is hard and exhausting.
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     Understanding the levels of grief in whatever you are facing, it will help you through it.  Normal.  Cry if you need to and then carry on the best you can. Some days you will need to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.  Normal.  Will life be the same?  No.  A new normal will form and you will adjust.  One day, your experience will be encouragement to another; you made it and they will also.
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Nothing!

0518437e-e078-4127-b784-db8ae8dcfe70-4006-000002db793c0401Here I am alone in my office and no desire to finish my work that can really wait until tomorrow, so I write for a bit.  The quietness in the office space far from everyone in the building, hearing the HVAC motors on the roof above me makes me feel as I am on an airplane ready for take off.  Anytime now, the flight attendant will be at my door offering up those yummy cookies.  Hey, I can dream.  Dream to take off in flight to somewhere exciting and yes those cookies. cb2b0a80-d041-46e4-877a-cb3a7c4cf0a9-4006-000002dbad019654 Tick tock tick tock, as I have two hours left to maintain this status until I can leave.

Even then, the boredom of life exists.  I joined classes and get regular exercise but my energy level and joy is depleated, as I just fall into bed.4b4d5133-5fef-4f5b-925d-25af21d5693f-4006-000002e1177629f6

Depression, perhaps.  Exhaustion, perhaps, Grief, perhaps.  Loneliness, perhaps.  Put those things and probably a few more it becomes overwhelming.

I know to keep moving and doing and not be isolated, but that comes so easy.  Vacation time is nearing so hopefully that will help, to get away.  A change of scenry, shopping and laughing with a dear friend although tears will fall, too.  Just to get away from nothing here and probably nothing there to really gain but a brief change and there’s nothing to lose.

a4f22023-0749-45cb-bf53-147ea2129562-4006-000002dc8f2ccc3aOh Lord, I need you.  I need your loving arms to hold me.  Only You know me like no other.  Give me strength to keep moving forward and be kind to others and to share your love and your mercy and grace. My focus needs to be on you, as you know my name and where I am when I do not even know myself.

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Gently Woven

4156B4E3-9EAE-4A84-BFA9-DE9EAD041FD3There have been times in life, I have wanted to forget something that I did or happened because the thought either brought torment, insecurity, embarrassment, etc.  No doubt, you also.  Things happen in life.

Plus, there have been times I have wanted to forget somebody or several due to being hurt, etc.  The pain of remembering either/or was too great.

Giving thought to how to forget, I found myself Googling just that.  Believe it or not, Google comes through yet again.

As I read the information and the six to ten steps on how to forget someone, etc., I had to laugh at some and come to the realization that no matter what you do in following the steps and recommendations, you can truly not forget.  Our brain is so complex that a scent, sight or memory will be triggered.

06AB7B8F-F83B-4FF0-91BA-26F25A57817BAlthough the pain, as in my instance recently, I would like to forget in order to ease the pain, but in all honesty, I really do not want to forget.  I just want to get through the pain and I will.   Plus, I know that their life is woven into mine and always will be, and mine in theirs.

770B8D89-A272-41BF-B607-CF77AB91ED78So many facets of my life are connected that I do not want to forget how they all came about. To toss them aside, to delete and block out all of the resources received, learned and love shown, it would be impossible.  My life has been and was touched.

Given thought to another, someone that caused me great pain and years to require forgiveness and come to terms with the hatred they have toward me, still they are woven in my life and I am theirs, whether they like it or not.  They can try to shut me out of their lives but family is family and the blood is there.  Still woven, just not so tightly.

Believe it or not, your reading this, we are woven together.  There might be something down the road that will bring this to your remembrance by being with someone.  You have touched a life of someone or they have touched yours.  Woven.

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No matter how or whom we come in contact with, we are gently woven with one another.  It’s pretty awesome to think of how we can or others affect one another.  Perhaps just a kind gesture or even a brief smile that made your day or a touch of somebody’s hand on your arm to encourage.

In life, we are woven to care and show God’s Love.

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Walls Up, Walls Down

Which is it?

There were many discussions through the past four years of discussing my life with my recent counselor of having my walls up.  For what I dealt with in life, rightfully so.  Was it right for each person in my life?  No.  Why take a chance until trust is built and still no guarantee hurt won’t come again.

9C514E57-818D-418E-80A8-7C1F2F882E9FAs we discussed the walls, I recognized I did just that.  Odds are, if everyone was honest, walls are present in many if not all lives.  How could there not be?  Life dishes out crap at times in situations and words said to us.  It hurts.

35EB0068-1190-434F-AAFE-6FC114CD6268Then, there are others that will talk about having your walls up as a good thing.  Talk about confusion.  Between my real-life conversation (walls down) and then hearing this (walls up), I could understand them both.  With that, I felt I had dyslexia, unsure which is right.

Depending upon the situation, they both are.

In my years as a client, we discussed a lot and this counselor knows some deep, soul wrenching parts of me that only God knows.  My walls were down.  I needed and also wanted help to understand me and she had the knowledge and expertise to do so.  I trusted her, I had to. Would I do it again?  Yes.  Probably now, moreso; wish I had more time with her. Now that our time is over, I did feel anger for doing so but if it had not been, I would not be where I am today.  Today, I am grateful.  Walls down.  God is doing a work within me.

Walking with a new friend recently, she probed into my life a little more than I liked of my marriage and depression from it.  Pretty bold of her, I thought. Using my words carefully, I gave her enough to calm the curiousity within her.  I was not comfortable in that situation and there will be a wall and general conversation from this point forward.  Walls up.

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Even last night with several of the church ladies for a small group, I knew of them only in passing.  This class is for healing of hurts and abuses. While I know what is said there, stays there, I could not be transparent.  My walls were up and I knew it, although I could encourage them and recognize their pain.

This past week has been an emotional roller coaster for me, and I had to question my walls.  I recognized and felt when they were up.  Right or wrong, they were there.  While they can protect, they can hinder.  Just knowing the difference.

No matter if my walls are up, down. half way or sometimes made of steel, the Lord knows my heart.  He knows my every emotion and fear that entangles my life of being hurt yet once again.

I owe no one fullness of me, unless I choose.  We have that choice. Like me or not, I may not you or trust.  God has given us discernment and we have a right to use it.

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Etched In My Brain

B2DF652A-ABAF-4849-B530-805EC91B7768So many instances in my life and I am sure of yours, there are moments that are like they happened yesterday.  You can feel what you felt at the moment, see the place you were at the atmosphere around you and remember the words said, as if was all frozen in time.
I was thinking of this comment made to me months ago, while driving to work this morning, I did just that.  The words said meant the world to me and re-living that moment, hearing them, knowing where I was, seeing the surroundings and feeling the gasp within as I heard the words on the other end of the telephone.  I did the same this morning, I gasped as in being frozen because I remembered everything exactly as it was said, my posture, etc., because I did not want to forget and I haven’t.
While pondering this moment in time, I thought of other verbal comments made to me throughout my lifetime and, of course, some of those words were not as kind and forgiving, but I do freeze as if the words are being etched in my brain forever.
The words, “I care for you and I love you” were said on that day  and I believe in all sincerity.  I have had to repeat them over and over to myself since because of the sadness and grief feeling I have experienced since that day.  Just dwelling on them this morning and recalling the memory, I am thankful I can remember the details.  It has helped me cope with the separation in our relationship.
1EF9396A-C845-4540-8DEA-F1433BA3A50CWhat we say to others just might be the spark of hope they need to hold on to, as these words are for me.  Without saying, and as I previously mentioned, this can also include negative but let’s focus on the positive and lift up others.  Let others know you care.  We never know what the next person whether friend, family or a complete stranger is going through.  Sadly, it just might be the last time you see them or associate with them and this lasting memory will be etched in their brain, as these words in mine and bring hope.
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