Grief Revisited

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(family picture from Easter 2012)

I don’t want to write about grief, and I certainly don’t want to experience it. Yet it’s a part of my life and the process of letting go of those I’ve loved and lost. I feel like I have written quite a bit about it on my blog, but it is a subject that I have lived through for several years. Death touches all of us, sometimes striking at unexpected times and sometimes making us wait. It is a universal theme that will be a part of your life, too, if it isn’t already.

I lost my sister unexpectedly twelve years ago, my dad in  2009 and my mom in 2010 through tragic circumstances. Each of these losses have deeply affected me, in ways both heartbreaking and uplifting. These are just bits and pieces of my grief journey.

grief at the loss of  parents

picking up lint off the carpet and realizing it’s because I watched my  mother do the same

passing a nursing home and wondering if the residents have someone to visit them

finding an old kleenex in the pocket of my shorts, remembering my mother was never without a kleenex in hand or in pocket

Christmas ornaments saved from the original family tree

free address stickers in the mail for a parent who no longer lives on this earth

from my niece: learning that my sister used to have a bowl of butter pecan ice cream every night after she (Jennifer) was in bed……..and knowing it’s a Purvis family tradition passed on from grandparents to great grand kids; one I try to heartily embrace every night!

grief at children growing up and leaving home

realizing my adult children are making their own memories in lives that don’t intersect mine  as often

saying goodbye after watching my son sing in worship at school and knowing after 13 months leaving it still reaches in and strangles my heart

missing the loud bursts of chit chat that come when family is all together

in fear and awe I watch my adult kids recreating patterns and traditions that originated in their family of origin and now continue into lives yet to come

not walking in the door together from Sunday church, smelling the delicious food cooked in the crock pot and oven, ready for us to gather around the table together

looking at facebook pictures and knowing I have missed experiences and joys in their lives

Grieving is a messy process. I’m fine. Really. Days pass and I’m fine. Then out of the blue I’ll feel the stabbing in my heart that lets me know I”m still alive, yet missing the ones I love. A sister whose life is still meshed with mine, 12 years after her death. A dad who loved his baby daughter even if he didn’t know how to talk to me very well. A mom whose memory is forever etched upon my heart and life because I am so much like her. Today, on this day of Sunday rest, I remember and cherish those I’ve loved and lost.

Linking with: The Better Mom, A Mama’s Story, What Joy is Mine, Thankful Homemaker, Women Living Well, Intentional Me, Fireflies and Jellybeans, The Modest Mom Blog, Time-Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions

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  1. Sandra from the Ozarks says:

    Yes, the pain of loss remains, forever, I think. Not always as sharp and stabbing as at first, but still there, still a part of us. My beloved mother died in 1988, and I still catch myself thinking “I have to tell mama–“. And then the reality, and the pain, hits me. The week my mother died, my 2 yr old granddaughter also died, so that horrible week, there were two funerals. Two years ago, my nephew, the only child of my long-dead little brother, was murdered. Senseless. So many other loved ones, gone from this life. Of course, by my age (65), one expects to have lost parents, friends, etc. But I am older now than my mother was when she died. My brother was killed in a car crash when he was 28, his son had just turned 30 when he was killed. As I said, my granddaughter was two. Ah, how that one hurts, the only child of my only son. It is those deaths, the young ones, too soon gone, that tear us apart, like with your sister. The ones we did not expect, the ones taken by tragedy. My sister died last month. But she was older, she had been ill a long time. I miss her, of course, but her death was a blessing. She suffered greatly, and I am secure in the knowledge that she is in a better place. I would not wish her back , as she was. In fact, I prayed that she not linger, not suffer, I loved her too much to wish that for her. But tit is the young ones, the healthy ones, that breaks our hearts. I am sorry for your sorrow, I pray it will diminish with time, leaving only the happy memories, that come to you without pain. Smile when you eat your ice cream, and know that it is a link between you and those gone ahead. They are waiting for you, when it is your turn to leave this world. What a joyous reunion it will be, when we gather again with our beloved!!!

  2. Michele Webb says:

    Thank you for sharing your memories. I have been battling a lot of grief for almost 2 years now. I thought I was doing so good, the past few weeks, and today, my favorite aunt, who was only 5 years older than me, lost her courageous, difficult, painful battle with sarcoma. Aunt Annette was only 51, she had her MRI the day my mom died, 20 months ago. Last year, the same year my mom died, I had attended 11 other funerals. My boss, also the head pastor at my church, where I had been a secretary for 9 years retired. It was pretty much the last straw for me. I ended up quitting my job at the end of last year, and stayed home for the past 9 months to try to come to terms with all the loss and changes in my life. I truly thought I was doing well until I got that phone call today at 4am!!! I have been numb with sadness all day…I know it will be a difficult upcoming few days for our family as well…Just leaning on The Rock, Jesus our eternal savior!

    • Sandra from the Ozarks says:

      Oh, Michele– I do not know the proper etiquette for replying to a post on somebody else’s blog, it may well be that I am being terribly rude to do so. But I have no idea how else to contact you, and I want to tell you that my heart breaks for you. I am so sorry for this latest loss, and all the others you have endured. I understand what you mean about the last straw, and staying home. Been there, done that. At this moment, when the loss of your aunt is so raw, there is nothing anyone can say that will truly be of comfort. But I wanted you to know that I am sorry, and I am keeping you and your family in prayer. Gentle hugs, and the peace of God be upon you.

    • Michele, I wanted to make sure you knew that I got your comment on my post about grief and I, and another reader, were both touched by your story. Grief is tough. Loss can be overwhelming. I just want to encourage you that there are seasons to our lives and that this one, if you allow it, will change you and make you stronger. Having walked through so much with our adopted kids, I can tell you personally that therapy, with the right person, can help as well. Many days, I just had to push through because my kids needed me, when I had nothing left to give. And it did get better. Not for a long time and I really couldn’t tell it, but it did.

      Losing someone you love at an early age is heart wrenching. Somewhere in this journey of faith I know there is a God that loves us and our loved ones, more than we can imagine. I also don’t think God minds when we lay before Him all our pain and wounds and allow Him to put our broken pieces back together.

      Today I will pray for you to have strength to endure the pain and know you’re not alone.

  3. I’m so sorry for your losses. I don’t think we ever get over our griefs. Like you showed, it takes a small moment that propels us into grieving again. I lost a daughter in a fire and just hearing the word “fire” propels me back to that day. I’m praying God will be ever close in the remembering times.

    • My heart was so touched by your response and I am truly sorry for your loss. Memories can be healing as well as hurtful, but it takes turning them over to Christ, understanding He knows the hurt and loves our loved ones more than we can imagine. Thank you for sharing. I’m privileged to have you join me today.

  4. Marty…like you, I know grief all too well in my own life. But thankfully, our heavenly Father does not leave us to grieve alone and healing does come. But the memory is a weird and wonderful thing when grief is a part of your life. Its in my memory I remember good times with my dad and holding my infant son once again. The peace in it all is that we will once again be reunited in the presence of God. That reassurance makes my grief moments a little easier to bear. Thank you for sharing at WJIM. Blessings.

  5. Danielle B says:

    Aw Marty…. I know those emotions all too well. I went and read the post of your mom passing. My mom also died in 2010, 3 days after your mom.

    Praying for you!

  6. The second anniversary of my sister’s unexpected death is rapidly approaching. I find myself wondering if I will ever feel “normal” again or if I even remember what normal is. It’s funny, I thought the milestones would all be passed after the first year but it seems like daily I have a kind of milestone moment…Becky will never see a moon like last nights, Becky loved Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, I wish she was here to join me, etc.

    Reading your thoughts gives me some comfort. It’s nice knowing I’m not alone.

    • When my sister died we had just adopted 3 kids and had them for 3 months. I was so overwhelmed with life that I never fully grieved. It’s only been after my parents’ deaths in the last 2 years that I have allowed myself the time to remember and grieve. I remember all those 1st milestones and they are so hard. I’m so sorry for your pain but I’m glad we could share that together and know that we’re not alone.

  7. Ah… those unexpected sweet and hard moments that propel us instantly back to grief. It is good to feel them and remember again the wonderful person we lost.

    Good words.


    • Thanks for sharing, Glenda. Grief is a strange and unpredictable feeling that hits us when we least expect it, but it is a natural part of life. Blessings to you!

  8. Marty, Yes, grief is a messy process and something we do all our lives. I’ve heard it said before that those who grieve well, live well. Getting in touch with the grief/mourning process and allowing ourselves to be with each and every emotion helps us walk through it more completely than living in denial. So many people are frightened of grief. I know when I lost my mom in 2010 (even though she was 83) people thought I should be over it in 2 weeks because she was old and lived a good life. I went to work each day and when people wondered why I had grief spurts I would just say, I’m grieving I’ll be okay in a few minutes, this is just something I did and it took about 6 months before I was able to not cry so much. My christian friends weren’t any help because they really didn’t understand grief and would never allow me to talk about it. I guess they thought Jesus would somehow miraculously heal me in a couple months. As you know, faith and grief don’t work that way. I did rely on my savior because I learned to trust in him and not people. God walked me through every step of the way. I comforted my mom when she was afraid to die and go to the scary place (I think she meant the nursing home) Something that also helped me and still do whenever I’m grieving something, is Dr. Wolfelt’s writings. If you google it you should see all his writings. He is a grief expert and teaches people to champion grief because like you said, it’s a messy part of life and something that we will all experience in our lives. So sorry that you had to experience the tragic death of your mom be neglect. Sorry this comment was so long but felt compelled to write it.

    • Hi, Sandy. I’m so glad you discovered my blog and one of the many posts I’ve written about grief over the years. Your comments showed much wisdom and experience in walking through grief. I’m sorry you had such a difficult time and felt alone as you were grieving the loss of your mom. I do believe most people want to be helpful but are uncomfortable with the process if they haven’t experienced before. I’m so grateful that God has held my hand, too, as I’ve gone through different seasons of grieving.

      I’m so glad you wrote. Connecting with my readers is such a joy. Have a blessed day!

  9. ***Not to self, proofread before hitting send button!***

  10. Oh no! Did it again. Should be note to self, proofread before hitting the send button. Marty, please, please correct my spelling!

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