Gnawing away at grief

Decorating for fall in our front yard, we placed a hay bale, a little scarecrow and a nice, large, orange pumpkin. We thought it was the perfect display. It was easy to put up and easy to maintain. However, as the weeks have gone by, we have watched our poor pumpkin transformed by the deeds of a rather large rabbit population living in our neighborhood. Little by little, we’ve watched our pumpkin shrink and change due to the gnawing away that those little critters have done.

You may find that you feel life gnawing away at you too, as you do your best to journey through your grief. The loss you have suffered has changed you. It is rare that anyone faces death and loss and not be changed. While you may feel you have little control over this transformation, you can have some say in what your life will look like as you move forward.

Stopping grief from entering your life may be out of your control, but allowing it to be gnawing away at you is something that you can stop. Unlike our beautiful, helpless pumpkin with those rabbits sneaking up and taking bites of food away with them, you can decide to embrace your grief and face it. Once grief arrives, determine to do the work it takes to face your loss and choose how it will shape you for the future.

Some people make the unfortunate decision to live as a victim for years. They choose to be stuck in their grief. Allowing themselves to grow into a bigger, better person isn’t on their radar. Instead, gnawing away in their mind and heart is bitterness and sadness, shrinking their world into a sad existence. They don’t realize they have a choice for something more – something better.

Instead of letting grief gnaw away at you, determine how you want to change and then take steps to move in that direction. You can have a say in what you do with your life as you travel through your grief journey. Do you want to feel better? Then begin each day with a purpose in mind. Even something as simple as, “I’m going to shower and go to the grocery store today” is helpful.

I began to journal years ago when my loss was fresh. Putting my thoughts and feelings down on paper was therapeutic. Eventually I used those writings to be the foundation for my book, Grief Letters. I determined that I wasn’t going to waste what I had been through. Instead, I decided that I would begin the gnawing away myself in a positive manner. I chose to allow God to shape my life instead of letting my loss do so.

Does that mean that every day is easy for me now? Of course not. There are still difficult days that I have to maneuver through. But they don’t last long and they don’t get to gnaw away so much that I don’t recognize myself. I have discovered who I am and what I can do. I acknowledge that I haven’t reached this point alone. I have had people by my side, been blessed by the support of others walking through grief, and most importantly have relied upon my relationship with Jesus Christ to give me strength.

You can do this too. You can choose to stop the gnawing away that occurs in grief. You can be intentional about what changes your life, what it looks like and what direction your life will take. Don’t let grief distort you like that poor, pumpkin. Face your loss, be courageous, and work to shape the journey you are walking.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

Contentment – how do you achieve it?

We’re entering the holiday season, preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving. Tradition says this is a time to gather with family and friends. You are to reflect upon all that you have experienced through the year and are expected to show contentment with your life.

But what happens when your life is no longer easy; no longer the same as it used to be due to the loss of a loved one? How do you manage the next two weeks of celebrations, memories, and heartache? How do you find contentment in spite of everything that is new and different?

Contentment. Synonyms are serenity, satisfaction, gladness, happiness, gratification, and ease. While it may seem overwhelming to feel these emotions in the midst of your grief, let’s try it. You might easily be able to give thanks for your home, your food, your job, and your health. However, when it comes to being thankful for the people in your life, it may be more difficult to express contentment. Perhaps you are celebrating this holiday without your loved one for the first time. Or maybe this has been your life for the last few years and you are weary trying to find contentment with your situation.

Figuring out how to face the holidays while missing those who are gone can be difficult. It can be hard to find something good to focus on in the midst of your grief that is still fresh and deep. To complicate matters, various family members may tend to handle their grief and loss differently, leading to misunderstandings and hard feelings. Instead of concentrating on what you don’t have, do your best to focus on what you do have. Finding contentment can occur when you are able to do this.

When I first had to deal with my loss, I was numb and only made the effort to move into the holiday season with a smile on my face because of my kids. It was plastered there as I tried to fake it. The first few years after my loss, I was unable to stay in my home and celebrate the holiday due to painful memories. We traveled and went elsewhere for the day itself. But as I continued to look for things for which I could be thankful, I began to realize there really were reasons for contentment. I did have my kids. I had a roof over my head. I had a job. I had people who loved me and cared about me. I decided to handle the situation by making a list of my blessings.

What do you need to do to find contentment this Thanksgiving? Do you need to try a new location away from painful memories? Are there friends you can invite to spend the day with you in order to begin making new traditions and new memories? Perhaps you decide to take a trip somewhere instead of opening up your home. Or maybe you can find a restaurant that offers a meal for so you don’t have the stress of preparing turkey and all the fixin’s yourself this year.

Whatever you decide to do, look for the things that are in your life and contemplate them with contentment. Making specific plans for the holiday can help the day go smoother and be less painful. Be brave, be creative, be gracious, and be willing as you walk your grief journey into this holiday season.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

Pretending

When my friend and I took this picture 6 years ago, we were pretending we were the Blues Brothers for Halloween. Yes, these were costumes for the holiday celebrated on October 31. That’s what costumes are for; to enable someone to pretend they are something or someone else. So as we passed out over a thousand pieces of candy that year on her block in Wichita, Kansas, we were pretending we were people other than ourselves.

Who might you be pretending to be as you travel along your grief journey? Are you able to be yourself as you walk through your loss and pain? Do you put on a brave face even when you feel like cowering and crying? Do you awaken in the morning to find yourself pretending to be okay so that you can get on with your day? Is it too hard to explain how you feel so you pretend life is just “fine?”

Walking through grief is definitely a challenge. Your life is changed by the death of your loved one. The way you handled a special day a year ago may be different now with the loss of that loved one. Trying to figure out how to maneuver each day is a real thing. Pretending your life is the same as it has always been will not aid you in moving forward in your grief, but will actually hold you back, keeping you bound by your pain.

It has been said that in order to begin to heal and to feel better about life, you must face your loss. Easier said than done! Pretending you are okay is often simpler than facing the pain of your grief. However, pretending will only prolong your journey. Instead of hiding behind a mask, embrace your loss, admit your pain to yourself and those around you, and have the courage to step into that ache that is so present in your heart and life. By doing so, you will find that life will eventually be better and you will feel more capable of facing the differences your days now hold.

There is a place for pretending – like dressing up for Halloween. But honesty will be best as you embrace your loss and face your grief. Be yourself so others can truly know who you are, how you are doing, and how they might come alongside you day by day.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

No Control

I recently had a dental procedure that required me to be put under for the extraction of a tooth and to help endure the pain of a bone graft as well. While lying back in the chair, I recall thinking, “I need to remember this feeling for my blog.” What feeling? The feeling of no control. As I lay there, a blood pressure cuff on one arm and the other pricked with a needle for the drugs that had already begun to flow making me quite woozy, I began to cry. When the nurse asked if I was all right, I replied, “No. I hate this feeling!” Perhaps you’ve experienced this feeling too. I’m talking about that terrible, gut wrenching realization that you have absolutely no control over what is going to happen, no matter what you try.

Having no control while sitting in the oral surgeon’s chair is no fun. But it’s a cakewalk compared to what people may experience while living with grief. The pain of having no control when facing a great loss in the death of a loved one is beyond comparison. So how does one survive such a feeling – such a loss?

Perhaps it might be helpful to know that while you may have no control over your circumstances, someone else does. When I lay there blacking out and feeling helpless with no control last week, I did trust the surgeon to do his job well. In fact, I had signed papers to that effect, placing my signature on all those pages meant to protect the doctor, the office, and assure me they had things under control.

So who has control in the case of your grief? While your friends and family are there and willing to help, they certainly cannot control all your circumstances and instantly make things better. You find yourself helpless to bring back your loved one and return to days gone by. So what can you do to feel better and manage the sadness of the days you now face? Turn to the One who controls everything. God is the creator of all things, thus you can trust Him with control of your days.

You may ask, “If God is in control, why did my loved one have to die?” Good question. It’s one that has crossed my mind in the past as well. However, I have no answer for you and there are some things we just may never know this side of heaven. Even so, God is more than able to comfort you, guide you, and sustain you in your sadness. The world in which we live is a broken one. There is pain, there is anger, there is danger, there is loss, and there are tears.

This is not the way things began. God created a perfect world. But because man chose to disobey God, sin entered the world and thus our downward spiral until Jesus Christ returns for His loved ones. Until then, we really have no choice but to acknowledge that we have no control. Instead, we can choose to trust that God still has our best interest in mind. I am not sure that when my loss was fresh I would have expressed my situation that way. However, looking back over the last 7 years, I can say that I trust what God is doing. I would rather Him have control of my life because I know that I truly have no clue what lies ahead and He does.

So having no control is okay by me; at least when it comes to my day-to-day life, for I trust that God will direct my steps. If you find yourself having no control over your emotions, or your circumstances, do not panic.  Instead try trusting in the God who cares and who is more than able to direct your journey and carry you through your hard days.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

Hungry and Hand-Fed

This little deer is one that I met this past weekend while visiting friends in Divide, Colorado. He was hungry enough and trusting enough to approach me and eat out of my outstretched hand. He fed until he was satisfied. He knew what would help his hunger and allowed me to meet that need.

Have you ever been hungry? There are different kinds of hunger. The one that first comes to mind might be the hunger that pinches the stomach and creates a headache. Missing a meal or two might even make you grumpy and tired. Fortunately for most of us, this kind of hunger is alleviated by simply eating food and gaining the nourishment the body is demanding it needs to stave off the pangs of being hungry. Filling the belly is all you need.

But what about the kind of hunger that tears at the soul? This hunger is experienced as a person faces feeling alone and missing a loved one. This form of being hungry isn’t as easily satisfied. Perhaps you have felt this kind of hunger. The one that keeps you awake at night due to the constant thoughts racing through your mind. The hunger that causes you to avoid going out alone because you would rather have your loved one with you. Your companion that you have relied upon for years to enjoy adventures with is gone and picturing today, tonight, tomorrow, or next week without them is nearly unbearable at times.

Experiencing this type of being hungry gnaws at you from the inside out. And it needs to be fed from the inside out as well. Merely eating a meal, going to a movie, or taking a walk will not fix this kind of hurt – this kind of hungry. So what can be done to “feed” yourself to the point where the pain and sorrow will stop or at least feel manageable?

You can allow yourself to be hungry and hand-fed. Admitting you are hungry is the first step to realizing what is wrong in your world. Knowing that you feel “off” and out-of-sorts because you are missing someone special will allow you to take a step toward healing. When you realize what is causing the pain, you can then move forward in your grief journey in order to feed that hunger.

How? Allow yourself to be hand-fed. What kind of food will satisfy the hunger you are experiencing. Perhaps sitting down and listening to calming music while you look through old picture books will serve as an appetizer. While there may be tears and some heartaches, you will be facing your hunger and allow yourself to be hand-fed with memories that will eventually heal.

Another kind of nourishment you might partake of is exercise. Joining a yoga class or committing to taking a walk each evening to get the blood flowing can be energizing and filling. You will feel stronger and realize that you are being hand-fed from the inside out. Your soul feels better and your days appear brighter as your outlook improves.

Reading through scripture can certainly help to feed a starving soul. There is something about God’s Word that will start on the inside, touch your heart and begin to fill in the empty, hungry places of your life. I remember when Alan first died, I would sit for quite a while with my Bible open on my lap, attempting to read because I knew that was a good thing to do. Those first few attempts were not exactly successful. I could not recall anything that I had read at those sittings. However, as I was persistent and continued to allow myself to be hand-fed with scripture, I began to feel my hunger dissipating and disappearing.

Do you have another idea for how you can admit that you are hungry and to allow yourself to be hand-fed? Just like the deer that I fed last weekend, you can trust that the nourishment will meet your needs and your hunger will subside with time. Eat, dear one. Be nourished and allow your hunger and your pain to be healed.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

 

New Things

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The journey I have been on for the past 16 months has been the latter case. After nearly 7 years of journeying through my life without my first husband, I now have been blessed with sharing my life with another amazing man. My wonderment enters the picture because this relationship was not anything I had been seeking or desiring. With that being said, I am absolutely thrilled that I have it and cannot picture my life moving forward without my second husband.

New things may enter your life when you least expect them. I am not speaking only of new relationships. Perhaps your new thing is finding the courage and excitement to take a vacation to a destination you have always wanted to see. Maybe you are ready to venture out and try a new, fun career that will brighten your days as it provides for those necessary financial obligations we all face. New hobbies can certainly add dimension and happiness to your life as well. What new things do you long for?

Meeting Gary and developing this new life has given us a passion for sharing what we have learned about grief and loss with others. Our Finding Good Grief Seminar is a new thing we have developed using creativity and dreaming of how we can continue to touch hurting lives by paying forward what we have received ourselves. We have been there – facing the loss of a loved one, both of us having lost our first spouses to death. However, we are seeing that life doesn’t need to stop there. And more than that, the things we have gleaned from our own journeys are now being combined into something beautiful and educational – the Finding Good Grief Seminar.

New things can be exciting. What is it you long for? Do you have dreams that you hold close to your heart? Begin to put on paper how you might truly be able to accomplish these adventures and then begin to move toward those goals. Share your dreams with a close friend, using them as a sounding board for your new ideas as you reach out and move forward in your own adventures.

If you or someone you know needs encouragement in order to see new things as a positive in their lives, share with them my book, Grief Letters, as well as our Finding Good Grief Seminar information. In future posts, you will be able to find our Finding Good Grief Facebook page and the website we are working on. In the meantime, know that you can comment to this post, and we can be in touch.

Until next time –

Karen (Bransgrove) Cadwallader

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

 

Anniversary date

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On this 6th anniversary date of Alan’s passing, I thought I’d share my post from last year – 2015. My prayer is that others will be helped and encouraged as they journey through their own grief.

Dear Alan,

Tomorrow marks five years since I last saw you and got to speak with you. The morning I left for work you did not feel well, battling what we thought was the flu. I am so sorry we did not know better. We actually talked on the phone just minutes before you apparently departed this world saying we should go to the hospital to check you out when I got home from work.

It is easy to get caught up in the “what ifs” of grief. What if I had left work earlier that day? What if you had gone to the doctor that morning? What if… However I have learned a lot of things during these last five years. I think you would be proud of me, Alan. I wanted to share some of my revelations in an open letter so others might see and be encouraged as they face their own sadness, fear, and grief in saying good-bye to a loved one.

I have learned that even though something hurts so much that you think you might not survive – you can. Those first few hours are still very much of a blur: the wonderful EMTs; the compassionate police, the neighbor who closed up the house, my friends who met me at the hospital and held me through the night when I cried. I remember just enough to still have nightmares and flashbacks at times. So I have stopped trying to relive those hours in order to figure everything out. It does not matter the exactness of my memories. It is enough to know that I did all I could for you and that friends stepped in and were there for me when it counted.

I have learned that while time does not heal all wounds, it does lessen the sharpness of the pain. The moments when I cannot breathe because the agony is too great have passed for the most part. Yet, the tears still flow – maybe more often than others think they should. But that is also something I have learned. No one else gets to tell you how to grieve. The way you mourn and face your sorrow and loss is your own. Be kind and offer grace to yourself as you learn how to live life a new way.

There are no formulas for getting through the death of a loved one. I remember a friend told me that it would take x amount of months to achieve wholeness again because we were married 26 years. I have long since passed that time limit. But I have learned that it is important to give yourself permission to handle grief your own way. As long as progress is being made on your grief journey, you are doing well. Just because someone else may have already moved on to dating and remarriage does not mean that you are failing a task. It simply means your journey is taking a different route.

I learned that I have strength. I also acknowledge that it does not come from within myself, but from God above. Calling and telling our sons of your death was probably the single worse task I have ever had to face. I had others with me at the time who offered to share the words in my place. But those were moments that we would all remember for a lifetime and they needed to come from me. So I did it. The next day it was incredibly difficult to look at pictures of caskets and choose one. Setting up your service was unbelievably hard since we had not once discussed what you would want. You were only 49 years old. Who thinks of those things at that age?

It was ridiculous the amount of time I spent in conversations and engaging in battle for my rights with your former employer to get what was rightfully mine from HR. But through all those conversations I learned that words matter. The way things are said make a difference. Kindness and compassion are missing from this world far too often. I have learned that if you can share these aspects with others, you must do so. You never truly know the path others are walking.

I have learned that having faith before your death, Alan, kept me from despair. While I still cried, was scared beyond comprehension, and required an incredible amount of help and guidance in those first few months, I knew that God was there for me, carrying me when I was too weak to continue on. He allowed me rest from exhaustion after nights of sleeplessness and comfort in the presence of darkness and continual nightmares.

Five years ago tomorrow marks a day that I have come to dread each year. It may be that way for the rest of my life. However, knowing ahead of time that it will be a hard day allows me to prepare for it. Writing an open letter this year has helped me process a little more. Taking the day off work tomorrow is my gift to myself. Sharing my journey with others not only helps me, but I pray provides a source of hope, help, and the beginning to healing that is needed in journeying through grief.

How do you close an open letter written to someone no longer here? I suppose by simply saying I love you still and miss you daily.

Until next time –

Karen

With the holidays approaching, Grief Letters makes the perfect gift for those walking through loss and sadness. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Loneliness in the holidays

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With this week being Thanksgiving, I thought it would be appropriate to share some tips in dealing with the holidays while walking through grief. Facing every-day life without your loved one is difficult. Facing the holidays without your loved one can seem overwhelming. Loneliness and holidays tend to go hand-in-hand, especially during the early years of loss.

If you are facing your first holiday season on your own, it can help you to remember several things I have found to be true. The first is to know that anticipation is usually worse than realization. Anticipating the holiday may stir up extra feelings of loss, apprehension, and loneliness. You may find yourself dreading the holiday. Fear can be a very real emotion as you wonder how that particular day will feel and what you will do to fill the hours until you can go to bed and wake up in a new day.

Perhaps you have been invited to spend the day with friends. You want to go, but you may be unsure how to excuse yourself in the case that you need some time alone to process your feelings. Remember that your friends care about you and desire the best for you. While they may not completely understand your loss, they want to see you smile and be happy. Do yourself a favor and be honest with yourself and with them. If you feel like crying – then cry. If you feel like laughing – do so with gusto and without guilt. Your loved one would want you to experience joy again. If you find yourself needing time alone – simply state that fact and retreat to a quiet room for a while. Pretending your loneliness does not exist will only keep you from healing.

Loneliness in the holidays is not necessarily a bad thing. It is something you need to experience in order to grow and take a step forward toward healing. Be courageous, take a deep breath, and give yourself grace as you learn to maneuver through Thanksgiving Day. In doing so, you will find yourself better equipped to look toward the other upcoming holidays. Allow yourself to feel and fully experience those emotions that will roll over you this week. As you do, picture your loved one cheering you on and being proud of you for facing what may be a hard day.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. With the holidays just around the corner, this may be just the gift your friends and family need to help them. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Read the Road Signs

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I recently attended an event where the car was parked in an unfamiliar area away from the action. While this normally would not be a problem, this particular evening one very important detail was skipped. I did not read the road signs. The road signs went unnoticed so that upon returning for the car, it couldn’t be found for quite a while. When the vehicle was finally occupied and headed toward the safety of home, I thought through the actions of the evening that caused the dilemma and had several revelations.

Upon initially parking, I was preoccupied and failed to remember the road signs near the car. I allowed unnecessary thoughts and conversations to take place to the point of distraction. While I didn’t realize it at the time, the enemy was setting me up for what he hoped to be catastrophe later in the evening. Instead of noticing where the parking lot was located, I blindly walked, following the crowd, to the event.

Which leads me to my second revelation. When leaving the event to find the car, I found that blindly following the crowd was not to my advantage. Often times when moving through grief, we see how others walk and where they are going and make the assumption that we are all going to the same location. That could not be further from the truth. While many face loss and grief, your journey is yours and is not the same as the people you watch and are inclined to follow. While they may be able to give direction and advice at times, their path is not necessarily your path.

Another lesson learned from failing to read the road signs is that when you are truly lost and have no clue as to where you are, recall what is familiar and go from there. What is it that worked for you in the past? Where have you found safety and comfort previously? Is it possible to back-up just a bit so that you can begin to retrace your steps and find something you recognize as a landmark in order to gain your bearings again? If so, take action and move in that direction. Be proactive in order to once again find your way.

The final revelation I will relate to you today is that lashing out at others will not help your situation. While you may be frustrated and perhaps even a bit frightened, try to remain kind and patient with yourself and with those around you. Getting upset will not help you find your way any faster. If you have failed to read the road signs, choose to problem solve and figure things out instead of allowing the enemy and the situation to get the better of you. Breathe a quiet prayer and ask for guidance and direction. You will be able to analyze and think clearer when you remain composed.

Just as the car was eventually located and my journey home begun because of persistence, you too can eventually find your way along your path. When you refuse to give in to defeat and hopelessness, you will gain confidence and realize that the lesson to read the road signs can apply to all of life. Pay attention to where you are and you will be able to look forward toward your destination with hope and excitement. Remembering to read the road signs will save you from frustration and wasted time and gain you confidence and joy as you walk your journey.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. With the holidays just around the corner, this may be just the gift your friends and family need to help them. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Don’t Go There

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In my early months of grief, I would find myself allowing my mind to wander to unhealthy places. For instance, I would have a few decent days and instead of rejoicing in those, I would be bracing myself, convinced that a hard, sad day was just around the corner. Part of this may have been dealing with unnecessary guilt. There are times during the early days of grief when you might feel badly for smiling or laughing, thinking it is disloyal to your loved one. While this is natural, it is not a place to park and stay. It is important to realize that you deserve to find some joy even in your difficult days.

There are other times when your imagination may take off and you allow your mind to rest on unpleasant thoughts and scary possibilities for your future. These are situations that are very unlikely to happen and are not worth your worry, time, or energy. Expecting the worst is a very unhealthy place to go. Don’t go there. Do not set yourself up for more hardship than you already face in journeying through grief.

Realize that when your mind roams off course and you may think, “What if this…… happens” you are robbing yourself of the actual day you have been given. I have found myself worrying about something happening to someone else I love, or wondering what the next year might look like. These are things that I cannot control. So why invest time worrying about them. Tell yourself, “Don’t go there.” Do not ruin the perfectly good day you have by fretting over something that is likely to never happen.

Worrying about things will not change your circumstances. It may change you. Worry can make you a hesitant person; someone who is afraid of trying new things. A person who spends their time scared of what might happen is a person who is unable to see what is right before them in the here and now. By living that way, you fail to receive the blessing that today holds for you and you lack the peace that can be yours.

Sure there will be challenges in the future. You have already faced difficult times in dealing with the loss of a loved one. However, look what you have accomplished! You got up this morning. You are able to continue living even in the midst of deep sorrow and pain. Each day you choose to live to the best of your ability is a day you tell yourself, “Don’t go there.” Do not allow yourself to sink into the pit of despair, fear, and unnecessary thoughts.

The Bible tells us to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7. (NIV) Let God take care of the things out of your control. Ask Him to keep your family safe and to continue to meet your needs. Seek Him when your imagination runs wild and you panic, thinking something bad is going to happen again. Don’t go there with your thoughts. Instead, allow Him to handle those things that scare you and steal your peace and joy.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.