Tag Archives: grief

The Many Ways We Grieve

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No one ever told me grief felt so like fear.

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

My husband’s father passed into the more immediate presence of our Lord and Savior at the end of October. His death came after a diagnosis of Lung Cancer that had metastasized to his spine. A short 7 weeks later we would no longer hear his laughter, witness the love he had for his grandsons, the love he had for each of us as children, or the precious love he held for mom. We would no longer be able to hear his great stories or listen to his wise advice and constant encouragement. Near the end of his life last hugs were given and last I Love You’s said.

I called this great man Dad – not out of obligation because I am married to his eldest son but because he truly was my dad. He in so many ways, more ways than I can count embraced me like a daughter – something that was not an experience I really had before. I believe, he looked out for me, loved me, cared for me, encouraged me, and challenged me to be the best I could be.

I haven’t talked much about the role he played in my life or how his death impacted me. I’m not completely sure why – I know that it came with a great amount pain and rawness on many levels. In addition to not feeling this level of grief before, I quickly learnt that grieving is very different when you have a young one who is also grieving deeply and needing a mom and dad to help guide him. Being sure he had the support he needed often was the priority. I never wanted him to fear death. However, I do want people to hear clearly that I did have places I could openly grieve and continue to have those people and places in my life.

When I read that quote above by C.S. Lewis it was as if it were written for my son. Written for him in the sense that he has been afraid of how his Gramps death will impact his golf skills and game, fear of how things will happen now that this essential person was missing from the equation, and sadly fear of so many elements and things. Being a double PK (a pastors kid, who has two parents who are pastors), he has attended many many funerals and has grown up with hearing us talk about death, scripture, and faith. Even though he knew plenty about death, Gramps’ death rocked his world (as it should have) and opened many profound questions about life and death and the role that God plays in each. However, as C.S. Lewis indicated, grief felt like fear, to my precious child.

Last week, we enrolled him in a camp at our local hospice that was held at the K.B. Reynolds Hospice Home in Winston-Salem, NC. Although I can still sense and even see in his eyes much fear, there also seems to be a different level of processing going on within him. He’s by no means over his grief and I’m going to say all fear is gone within him. What I will say, is he is taking new steps and I’m incredibly proud of him for stepping out in faith. He’ll always have Gramps in his heart and carry precious tender and funny memories, as he himself travels through life.

In closing, I share a couple of things, Never be afraid to seek help as you grieve – it’s lonely enough, reach out to a qualified therapist or to your local Hospice. My experience as a pastor is that hospices are not only a provider of care as one comes close to the end of their life but they offer a multitude or resources to help loved ones relearn how to live. I feel certain that resources are available not only for children but for adults as well and these resources are indeed life sustaining and life giving. I know for certain that the K.B. Reynolds Hospice Home does offer resources for both adults and children and you don’t have to be grieving the loss of a loved one whom they cared for – they see the importance of grief work in general.

The pictures below are of the closing portion of my son’s participation at Camp Carousel. They wrote a message to their loved one’s and placed it in the butterfly tent and then blew bubble’s upward.

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Mixed Emotions

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Today was the birthday of Joe’s Uncle, who died two or three years ago.   He and his wife had no children, so they treated Joes family almost like their own children.   I to mourn his death and remember fond memories of him.

Today also,marked the due date of the baby I carried the longest (14 weeks).  It was my second miscarriage and I had just stopped holding my breath hoping that meant this was a viable pregnancy.   But just two weeks, into my second trimester, I would find out otherwise.   My heart was torn up and I felt so broken.

I remember our late night visit to Women’s  Hospital in Greensboro because of some severe cramping and some traces of blood. We got to the hospital and the mid wife on call for our Drs office was awaiting my arrival.

They took us back and the first sign of concern was not being able to hear a heartbeat.   Several people tried and couldn’t find it.   So then came blood work and an ultrasound.   Which concluded the baby had indeed died.   Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday – so I would have to wait for over 24 hours before they would perform the surgery.   It was the longest day of my life, spent in bed.

My D&E was scheduled on my MIL’s birthday.   So this baby is meant to be remembered.   I had a total of 7 miscarriages and several years later would have 1 more.   Following the loss of the first 7 I began to suffer from infertility.   I did the specialist at Duke thing and we tried meds and finally I said stop – I can’t handle this any more.  I would wait, full of stress and anticipation, to see if I had conceived each month – when I did I sort of distanced myself from the pregnancy.  Hoping and praying that between, before , and during each of my checkouts that I would get confirmation that everything was alright (that never happened).

So my main mixed emotion is the grief  and pain that I still feel (everyone else has moved along in their life).   I suffer and am down each year at this time.   Yet on the flip side I know that if I had carried to term  any of those pregnancies – my current littleman, who is adopted, likely wouldn’t have been with us. The simple thought of what his life might be like if we hadn’t signed papers choosing to make him our son, is extremely scary.  He could be deceased, addicted to drugs, homeless or in the social services care department and bouncing between foster parents home.   With us he has a house, food, toys and unconditional love.

So today we honored Uncle Steve, I grieved alone, and yet was thankful for a child whom I believe was a gift of God.

Miscarriages are kept brushed under the rug for the most part, yet for women the grief is real and painful (and sometimes the dad also).   I think we need to, as a church at the very least, find ways to help parents process the loss of a child before birth or at birth, we need not be afraid of it.   Great healing could occur if only we gave the gift of listening and honoring their loss.

Today was indeed a day of mixed emotions and I was grateful for the most part  that I could just stay in bed and rest.

As a challenge I encourage folks who have suffered miscarriages to share their stories and those who have not to be good listeners and offer love and support – don’t let us suffer alone anymore.   Lastly, when gathered as women talking birth experiences be mindful that this can trigger emotional responses from those for whom would never experience birth pains and breast feeding options.

Let us bind together and turn a once taboo subject into a story and journey we are willing to take with someone who’s had suffered a great loss.