Navigating Grief With Your Family

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Grief is a universal experience. We all experience loss, but everyone expresses that grief in their own way. When families grieve together it requires grace and compassion.

At first I was busy taking care of the things that had to be done, trying to shield my mom from as many decisions as I could. And as long as I was busy, I was ok. It wasn’t until about a month later that I realized that the sun didn’t shine as brightly as it had before my father passed away. Sometimes panic or fear would rise up in me. The rest of the family had a good cry, but every time I could feel grief swell up in me I carefully pushed it aside. I was sure I would break in two if I let the tears come.

Dear friends, would you join me for the rest of this story over at Family Fire? I pray that all is well with you and your family, and that if you are reading this because you are grieving that God would heal you where you hurt.

Sharing a playdate today with dear Laura:

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Laura Boggess

How A Book Launch Quilted The Pieces of My Heart Together

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Healing takes time, and time is something I seem to have very little of. So when my father passed away very unexpectantly several years ago, as an only child I shifted into survival mode; checking on mom and making the necessary adjustments.  I gave myself very little time to grieve, and that was probably calculated to some extent.

Reading takes time, and time is something I seem to have very little of. So when my dear Emily asked me to be on her book launch team and read her first piece of fiction, A Promise In Pieces, part of me groaned.  Between running a non-profit, attempting to blog here and there, writing a novel, being a brand new freelance blogger at Family Fire, promoting a children’s picture book and caring for my family, the request seemed like another thing to add to an increasingly long “to-do” list.

But God…He is so good at multi-tasking!  I began reading this novel, and enjoying the strong female characters as I was drawn into their world…but as I continued I couldn’t put the book down.  What was the Holy Spirit doing here?  I wondered.  It seemed as though the last portion of the book so closely mirrored an area of my life that it was uncanny.  Soon I found myself sobbing, something I don’t believe I have ever done while reading, even the most sorrowful of stories.  And I wasn’t sobbing because the story was sad, but because Emily’s words caused me to take a journey where I hadn’t allowed myself to go years ago.  Now that the floodgates were opened, I couldn’t seem to stop the tears from falling.

And isn’t that the way God is? He gives rest to the weary, and in due time He comforts us as we grieve until we are broken. Then he sews up the scraps like the pieces of quilt in Emily’s book and creates a beautiful menagerie of brokenness, patched up and ready to bring warmth and comfort to others.

No matter how bright the light inside you, if everything around you is oppressively dark it begins to leak in through your eyes and eventually you either have to die or find a miracle.  And I found one. – A Promise in Pieces

That’s exactly what this book was for me…a miracle.  I am convinced that it is possible that God had Emily write this book, labor of love, hours of work, just. for. me.  Just so that I could face through another character what I wasn’t willing or able to face through my own character.

Healing takes time.  Reading takes time.  Death is the ultimate time taker. God used the gift He placed in Emily to patch up my heart, and I can not thank Him or her enough.

 

Emily Wierenga’s gook will be available on Amazon, April 15th. Would you consider becoming part of AmazonSmiles and choosing, Love INC of Tinley as your preferred charity? See the side bar for a link.

 

Eulogy to the Death of A Role Part Deux

Almost a year ago, I wrote about the death of the role of mother. Of course I will always be a mother to my three children, but not in the same, every day, home school, stay-at-home mom way that I’ve been for the past nineteen years. You see, I’m enrolling my youngest into college…and in the flurry of excitement, visiting schools, filling out FASFA’s, scholarship applications and auditions, I hardly have time to feel anything…at least until the house is empty and all I can hear is the dog snoring and the refrigerator running. Because now, I am alone with my thoughts, much like the day I realized that I was the mother of an eighteen year old, I grieve. But this is far worse, all that there is left to who I was before motherhood and home schooling is a shadow.

I have heard mothers scoff at the place I find myself in. I have heard them criticize ladies before me who have wrestled with this identity crisis. They have whispered behind the back of this pained one, “That’s why I don’t believe in home education. If her focus was more on her husband, she wouldn’t be so lost right now. Home schooling is far too child centered, and not nearly enough helpmate centered.” I hope that our choice to educate our children and everything else that we have done was Christ centered and not people centered at all.

My husband recently lost his job; a job that he loved dearly. He anguished over it, and grieved over the fact that he was no longer associated with this company that he so loved and admired…and he only worked there for 2 years! I have been on this journey for almost ten times longer than he has, and yet no one blames him or thinks that he’s silly for feeling disappointed, and maybe even a little depressed. After much thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s normal to be saddened at the end of a journey. It’s kind of like the let down you feel when you come home from vacation, or after all of the Christmas presents have been opened; the “what now?” feeling.

I suddenly have all of this time on my hands, and I don’t want to fill it with just anything. I don’t want to give over my future to the first thing that comes along. So I guess in addition to grief, I feel a little anxiety, like a girl just out of high school who is deciding whether to get married or go to college. I mean this is the rest of my life, I must choose wisely! And though the feeling may be similar to the high schooler, I don’t have as much time to fix it if I make a mistake.

In the midst of all of this confusion, I do feel a glimmer of hope and excitement. I know that when I acknowledge Him…He will direct my paths. And His paths always drip with abundance. My prayer is that I don’t bend under the pressure of uncertainty, but rather that I bow humbly offering my life to His Majesty knowing that He has plans for me, and that they are good. So now I’ll encourage myself like David did. Stay still, and know that He is God. Don’t bend, but bow, these must be the words I choose to live by. For I am out of control, and let me tell you I’m not loving it. However, deep inside my heart I know that this is the only place to be; the place where his hand turns my heart like a compass to new lands and adventures planned out, just for me.

Father’s Day Without My Father – A Year of “Firsts”

A year ago, my father suddenly passed away.  He went for a walk that Saturday morning.  No one knew it would be his last walk. I saw him the day before.  He drove me to the bus station, assuring me that he was just fine.  He wasn’t.

As I reflect on the past year, it was filled with firsts.  The first Thanksgiving without my dad.  The first turkey, not carved by him.  The first Thanksgiving prayer without his cough.  He always coughed during his lengthy prayers.  I used to think it was kind of annoying.  Now, I think it was charming.

The first Christmas without Daddy.  Gifts were rather sparse, as his income was the largest contributor to our family’s gifts.  He always made a handmade card.  There was always a misspelled word.

My first birthday without my father.  No Colonial Fannie May’s.  No Mom and Dad coming for a day or two.

His first birthday without himself…:).

Today, June 17th, is my parent’s 44th wedding anniversary.  He wasn’t here to celebrate.  He never really celebrated anyway, except for a another beautiful handmade card with another misspelled word in it.

There are days when I am sure that there must be a special telephone I can use in order to talk to him.  I’d like to ask him what it was like.  To die.  What Heaven is like.  I wanted to ask his advice for my son and what college he should attend.  I still want to ask his advice about my Prodigal.

He was a holy man.  A quiet man.  If you woke up early enough, you’d find him reading his Bible every morning.  He and my mother prayed together. Every. morning.  A man of discipline.  A man of wisdom.

This Father’s Day will be the second without him, as he died the night before Father’s Day last year. I miss him much more today than I did last Father’s Day.  Last Father’s Day, I was dreaming a horrible nightmare.  Now, I’m awake.  I hear the birds again and I’m allowed to cry.

Joining the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood Tuesday linky.