Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Journey Through Grief

On March 17, 2010 my family lost someone we all held very dear to our hearts. Today on July 29, 2010 we would have been celebrating My Great Uncle Leo's ninetieth birthday. Losing him is something that shook my world even more than I would have expected. He was such an important force in my life, and I loved and valued him, and I think about him every single day.

Saying goodbye to someone you love is never an easy task. It fills our hearts with a deep sadness, and the loss changes our world forever. It even changes us. Grief is complicated and has a wide range of responses. Grief is mostly focused around the loss of someone with which you share a special bond. Particularly the emotional response. In my case, grief has been focused on the loss of my Great Uncle that stepped in and took interest in my life. Grief can also influence our physical. behavioral, social experiences, and even our spiritual life. Each individual's grief experience is as unique to them as finger prints. Everyone responds to loss in different ways. I want to share my story with you. It's a very personal journey, but I feel it's something that I need share.

This is my story and how I am dealing with missing someone I loved dearly. This is my grief journey and how my spiritual beliefs have allowed me to cope and move forward. This path is one that I am still on, and working though. I just took for granted that my Uncle Leo would always be apart of my world and that my children would grow up with his presence in much the same way that my brother and I had. I know now when I think about that it was a unrealistic hope, and I am thankful for the time my children did have with him. Now it is my responsibility to retell his stories and share new stories to keep his memory in our lives. I have discovered that on the grief path there is no magic formula, no short cut, no easy way out of the process. You must allow yourself time to grieve. Being sad does not make you a failure, nor does it make people or Christ love you any less. Being sad is simply an emotion in life that we feel and walk through. His loss created an emotional wound for me. The wound has been healing, and I believe the experience of grief is transforming in a positive way, but being transformed and changed is rarely a painless process. This particular loss has given me a new vision on my relationship with God and how I should treasure my relationships with the people that I love. Being unafraid to say I love you! God and my faith in Him has been a major healing guide in my personal grief process. My faith has also helped me in facing the reality of my loss and the hope in that this is not the end!!! My belief in Heaven and God is guiding me through the grief process thoughtfully and deliberately. God loves me and he will not forsake me. I have learned to express and release emotions and move forward. Understanding that suppressing grief and not allowing myself to walk through this mourning season with plenty of healing time, could lead to emotional torment and even depression. So allowing and expressing my emotions to God through prayer and allowing my family and friends to walk along side me in the healing process is vital and important to myself living a productive and joy filled life. The death of my Uncle caught me off guard, as did the feelings and emotions that came along with the loss. For instance, I did not fully understand the role he had played in my life and just how much I would think about him every day. Losing him back in March still makes my heartache. Being aware that it is normal to have waves of emotion pertaining to loss, even more so on days where missing the presence of my Uncle is stronger, like on important holidays, birthdays, and even the anniversary of his passing. I am accepting that many aspects of my life have changed. I still think I am finding my way through this first year of grief. Not only has it changed me, it's made me realize just how much God loves me and this amazing and beautiful gift he has given me called HOPE!!! It is extravagant love, time, and hope that heals all wounds!

I just wanted to say in closing that this was a very personal blog about grief and bereavement. Something very close to my heart that I just wanted to share with my readers. Thank you to all my family, friends, and church family for loving me even through all the tears, heartache, and change that has taken place in my life. You have all brought some joy into this season of mourning. Thank you!

Quotes and Scripture that helped me

Grief still has to be worked through.
It is like walking through water.
Sometimes there are little waves lapping about my feet.
Sometimes there is an enormous breaker that knocks me down.
Sometimes there is a sudden and fierce squall.
But I know that many waters cannot quench love,
neither can the floods drown it.
We are not good about admitting grief, we Americans.
It is embarrassing.
We turn away, afraid that it might happen to us.
But it is part of life, and it has to be gone through.

– Madeleine L’Engle

There’s music in a well-lived life,
and melodies remain
each time a loving memory
repeats the sweet refrain.
The song that lingers
in our hearts
becomes our legacy ~
its beauty gently echoing
through all eternity.

Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Brothers we don't want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep: or to grieve
like the rest of men who have no hope 1 Thessalonians 4:13

Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. Romans 5:5

For I am persuaded beyond doubt that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39


Teresa Keisling said...

Very good, Jamie. Grief is a very personal thing and it affects everyone differently. We all grieve at different levels. But, like you, I think having faith makes the journey easier. And, like you, I think losing someone makes you appreciate the others you love so much more, and makes you realize how much you should show them and tell them that you love them while they are in your life. Very well written, Jamie!

In the Light of the Moon said...

I am so sorry for your loss and all I can say is..Thank you so much for sharing such personal feelings with us.

As I have gotten older my fear of loss has multiplied 10 fold.Two years back hubby was in the hospital for over three months and since then my reality shifted,graciously,for the better.I feel fortunate everyday for more time together,more meals shared,more hand holding,more story telling,more playtime,more of everything.And with that sense of gratitude comes fear..fear like nothing I have ever experienced..a constant ball in my throat,stopping me from ever being fully relaxed. The truth is hubby has a condition we need to monitor everyday and we have accepted this truth.So I have not experienced loss,real loss,but thankfully,I have been blessed to experience life.
A reality,I might add,that came with time.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us.My mom always tells me.."Each person is like a universe of feeling and emotion..and if we are lucky to get a glimpse of it,we are fortunate indeed."
Thank you for letting me have a glimpse.
Warmest Regards,Cat

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