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Archive for November, 2009

Bittersweet Blessings

Early in my grief walk, my pastor, Bob Myers (www.covenant-church.org) assured me of God’s sustaining care for orphans and widows. As time went on, I saw this firsthand.

For thirty-five years, Bill and I lived alongside the snarly traffic near Baltimore. For thirty-five years, I longed for us to move back to our home state of Michigan. We almost made it…only another year or two until his retirement. I just didn’t plan for our return to be with his body housed in a mahogany box.

Now I live in a small town, four blocks from Lake Michigan. The quiet streets are lined with large shade trees overlooking Victorian homes. Much like the streets of my childhood. And…my four grown children, their spouses and my seven grandchildren have moved nearby. I am surrounded by their care.

There were times after Bill died, when the only thing getting me through the day, was the awareness of God’s compassionate love shining through these blessings. Making my sorrow…bearable.

What gets you through the day?

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Perhaps I was slower to heal than others. Each of us goes through grief at our own pace. And that’s okay.

At the one-year anniversary of Bill’s death, I was a mess…still shackled by guilt over not being there when he died, and bowed down over the suffering he’d gone through.

At two years, I felt as though Bill, had he known I was again at the gravesite, would be nudging me with a gentle smile, “You still here? Move on, girl.”

Three years passed and I knew in the marrow of my bones, I was ALONE.

As I approached the fourth year, I refused to put myself in any position accentuating my aloneness.

During year five, I focused on fine-tuning my Memoir–reliving Bill’s illness and death all over again–hoping I had the objectivity of an editor.

By year six, I was trying to hang on to the memory of Bill; afraid I’d forget him.

And now, in year seven, I don’t think about him every hour of the day; my memories of him secure on the backburner of my mind.

Do I still miss him? Yes. Do I still have times when I feel the pain of my loss? Yes. But even the worst moments don’t hurt very much anymore.

Have you seen any changes in the depth of your grief over time? Is it getting better? Or is it too soon?

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Morning By Mourning

Morning by mourning, my body remembered my sorrow before I did. The clog in my throat destroyed any thought of eating breakfast, while the emptiness of loss gnawed at the pit of my stomach.

I moved through these after-Bill mornings at a snail’s pace. I had no idea my body would empathize with my mind and drench itself in misery. Or that grief would be so draining. To my chagrin, I had to back out of appointments and get-togethers more often than not.

I would like to be able to say I then became wise and logical…that I allowed myself the time and care I needed to heal–body, mind and soul. Instead, I smothered my grief with the heavy, artery-clogging gravy of false guilt, until I could no longer taste the sharp pain of my loss.

No wonder I felt queasy.

How has your body reacted to your loss? What was your response to it?

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