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Archive for the ‘Anxiety and Fear’ Category

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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I’ve been hearing a lot about, and experiencing triggers in grief lately…that sudden and unexpected transition into yesteryear. You’re going along doing ok and something happens to set off your grief.

Inevitably, if we look for a connection, there is something about the event which hits a sore spot.

For me, my most recent experience was when my sister could have died in a house fire, (she’s fine), but it immediately brought me back to the first year after Bill died, along with the fear and reminder of how life can change in the blink of an eye.

I like Jenny Lee’s kind attitude towards herself, as she deals with triggers after the death of her fiance’. She says, “I am normal. I am moving forward in the best way I know how with God’s guidance and love. I am where I am supposed to be and moving at the pace I am supposed to be moving…there’s no rush and no “moving on” or “getting over” grief…it’s part of me and I am growing into a stronger woman.” (to read her full post, click on GriefTalk at the top of this page).

What triggers your grief? How do you take care of yourself in the midst of it?

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Several Sundays ago, my “forever” pastor*, Bob Myers (http://www.covenant-church.org) preached on the difference between a metaphor often quoted to the dying (Make peace with dying), and Jesus Himself, the author and enabler of our peace.

Bob questioned whether my husband, Bill would have wanted to hear this metaphor as he lay dying eleven years ago. He claimed that Bill, if he had been told he needed to make peace with dying, would have responded with an indignant, “Don’t give me a metaphor, give me Jesus!”

I agree. Bill knew first hand, what would bring him true peace, because he experienced this when…paralyzed and with tangled speech…all odds were against him.

When he had nothing left, he learned Jesus was enough.

God’s Son saw Bill through with His peace to his very last breath on this earth. For in Philippians 4:6 & 7 we are given this direction and promise, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The closer Bill came to his death, the more I witnessed this peace in his face and demeanor.

Of course the peace of Jesus is available to those of us left to grieve on earth too. For these verses in Philippians end with this peace being for all those “in Christ Jesus.”

Who or what brings you peace in your grief?

*Bob Myers is the pastor who loved us through Bill’s illness with his near-constant presence and reassurance.

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Denial is one of the first-fruits of grief. While long-term denial is unhealthy, initially it helps cushion us until we’re able to absorb the shock of our loss.

I had many “firsts” after my husband died ten years ago:  the realization he wasn’t coming back, our first “non” anniversary, Christmas, his birthday, and on and on… 

I met each “first” head on with…denial. Even as I knew full well he was gone. My thoughts ran in circles around me: He’s gone and he’s never coming back? How can that be? Bill’s got to be somewhere in this world. He can’t be gone. Well…you know he is. Then why can’t I grasp this?

You know and you don’t know.

Temporary denial is normal. When denial is prolonged for months on end, some help may be needed. Be kind to yourself. Seek out an understanding friend to listen to you, or talk with a bereavement counselor or therapist skilled in dealing with grief.

How has denial helped you? How has it hurt you?

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Comfort for my readers:

TILL THE STORM PASSES BY

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face,

While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place.

‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry,

Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Chorus                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Til the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,

Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;

Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,

Keep me safe til the storm passes by.

…written by Mosie Lister, recorded by Bill Gaither.

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Going through grief is enough to make a person feel vulnerable. In my loss years ago, I felt it the most in fatigue and nausea.

Are we really as weak as we feel?

Last week, I underwent minor surgery and reacted to the sedative I was given.

At the time, I was certain I would once again be battling my way, eating through the nausea in order to feel better, as I did two years ago. (see A Life In Balance, http://wp.me/pz1Df-6n).

However, I came home, slept three hours and felt fine. And I am left seeing evidence of strength I didn’t realize my body has. 

Does going through grief itself strengthen us? Or, is it God who is strong in our weakness? Or both?

What do you think?

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For my readers:

What are you worried about specifically in grief?

What would bring you comfort?

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A few weeks ago, I temporarily moved a mile down the street to dog-sit Molly, while my son and his family went on vacation.

I’m on a retreat, I realized, when I sat out on their back deck under the towering oak trees. I was surrounded by my daughter-in-law, Wendy’s vegetable plants…green peppers, tomatoes and herbs.  All thriving. Does she use Miracle Grow or is this the result of her natural green thumb?

I looked out over their back yard, to see a doe and two fawns feasting on the grass. The fawns seemed unstressed by the fierce barking of a neighbor dog and unafraid at my presence.

They were with their protector. She hovered a few yards away, keeping a steady eye on her children.

Like God does with us…the brokenhearted.*

At the end of the week, Molly was reunited with her family and I returned home. Refreshed.

Do you feel God’s presence with you in your loss?  In what way?

*Psalm 34:18. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”

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Nine years after my status in life changed from “married” to “widow”, I’m able to put my memories of Bill in my back pocket. I take them out at will without pain, and return them there without guilt, or fear of forgetting him.

Safe now in the harbor of Heaven,  Bill remains for me…as God says of His own…”my beloved.”*

*Deuteronomy 33: 12.

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I was never her daughter-in-law; always her daugher-in-love.

Last Sunday, “mom” would have turned 98, had she lived that long. As it was, she died five years after her second born son…my husband.

When she was told of Bill’s imminent death, she laid her head on the dining room table and cried, “Oh, why couldn’t it be me!”

Within a few short years, her body became frail and weary of this earth. She was forgetful and knew it.

I sat on the edge of her bed. “You’ll soon be with your son, mom. In Heaven.”

“But, how can I be sure,” she looked up at me; her eyes pools of worry.

“Do you believe in Jesus?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Then even if you forget Him, He’ll never forget you.”

She drifted off to sleep; her face creased in peace.

They’re together now…mother and son…for all eternity. Someday, this daughter-in-love will join them.

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