When something is taken

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Upon coming home from work today I found that one of my nice recliner lawn chairs had been stolen off my front porch. I stood there in disbelief at first. I had saved up for the pair of chairs last summer and have enjoyed sitting and reading in the cool of the early mornings. I was furious as I stood there and realized that the theft had occurred. One thing I do not tolerate is taking things that do not belong to you. When something is taken unjustly, your emotions tend to flow; anger, regret, revenge, disbelief, and maybe even surrender.

When you face grief and loss of life, you feel that something has been taken from you. Life as you know it is changed and will never be the same again. Your ability to talk to your loved one, give them a hug, share a laugh, and watch the future unfold with them will never happen.

This realization also brings with it emotions that ebb and flow as you journey from day to day, doing your best to maneuver and figure out how to live without them. It is natural to feel anger and regret. You may feel that revenge is needed. Disbelief may cause you to doubt yourself and your whole situation. Eventually you will work through these feelings to reach a sort of surrender. Not the type where you give up and fail to live life. But one that understands that when something is taken, you are still left with much.

Please understand that I am not saying your loss has not been incredibly painful and huge. I can make that statement because I have faced great loss as well. However I have come to see that I still have many blessings in my life. I encourage you to evaluate what you still have after you have given yourself time to be sad and to grieve.

When something is taken from you, it is helpful to see what you still have. Do you still have family and friends who care for you and love you? Is there a place where you can lay your head at night and rest, feeling safe from the outside world? Did you have the opportunity to eat today? Even though your appetite might be hard to find, there is food available when you want it. Take a look around you. Evaluate what you still have. Perhaps something new is there to help fill the void of your great loss.

Ask God to reveal these things to you. Remember that He is the greatest treasure than no one can take away. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

Holding on to your anger and what you feel is unjust when something is taken, will only cause you to mourn longer and move slower through the grief journey. While you do not want to rush and skip the steps of healing, you do want to give yourself permission to feel better when the time comes. Accept the joy that will peek through your clouds of sorrow.

Just as I need to get over a thief taking one of my recliners, you will need to let go and begin to move forward as well. Do not let life be ruined forever when something is taken.

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!

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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.

My Slurpee Adventure

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After attending a meeting and driving in the heat yesterday, I decided to treat myself and stopped for a drink at 7-Eleven to cool off before heading home. Little did I know that the detour would end up being my Slurpee adventure. As I stood in line to check out, I watched a young man give the manager money, asking for a pack of cigarettes. Before handing them over, she of course asked to see his license. His response surprised all of us. He complained that he did not have his billfold and proceeded to yell at her then stormed out the front door, kicking it open as he exited.

A moment later as I was paying for my drink, the other clerk announced, “He broke the door!” Sure enough, we looked and the lower section of the front door had shattered. After a call to 911, the manager pursed the man who had gone down the block trying again to buy his smokes. Police came, the young man ended up admitting what he did – still yelling – and I stuck around to encourage the upset manager and to be a witness in case they needed to take my statement.

Looking back on the experience, I realized that my Slurpee adventure has some similarities to a grief journey. While you may think you are doing well dealing with your loss, there are times you find you do not have things as controlled as your thought. Just when everything is going smoothly, you are told you can’t do something or you are missing a necessary tool to accomplish a certain task. Suddenly you face an unexpected difficulty that threatens your peaceful day.

How you handle these obstacles can vary. Being ready for challenges in your journey will prevent you from being surprised and reacting in a less than ideal way – such as the young man in my Slurpee Adventure. Anger has a way of rearing its ugly head and momentarily taking over.

While I am not disposed to angry fits, I admit I have had my moments when I have given in to frustration or fear, and have become upset and angry at times. Those are not proud moments for me and I hope and pray that I have not harmed my relationship with others with those times. Knowing that you can give your struggles over to God and seek His help and strength is certainly a wiser choice than melting down and screaming at someone.

Another similarity my Slurpee adventure has with the journey of grief is that you will find it helpful to allow others to stand with you in your loss. I physically stood beside the manager as she was being verbally assaulted. My presence was appreciated and helped ward off fear and possibly harm. Receiving her thanks as I departed, I realized how helpful and encouraging it is to have friends and family who stand by as you take each step toward healing.

As you deal with all that life brings your way, may the lesson from my Slurpee adventure be helpful to you. Be ready for challenges and allow others to journey with you providing support and encouragement along the way.

Until next time –

Karen

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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.

Layers

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There are some beautiful things made of layers. Rock formations in both the Rocky Mountains and the gorgeous Grand Canyon area display the various kinds of minerals and rock in their layers. These formations stacked one upon the other are truly a sight to behold. Certain clothing styles exhibit uniqueness using layers of flowing material to flatter the model. Foods intrigue the taste buds and please the appetite with layers of delicious flavors begging to be explored and devoured.

The grief journey is made up of layers as well. While beautiful may not be the adjective used to describe this part of life, the layers do have purpose as you learn to live without the presence of a loved one. The order of the layers in grief is not always neat or clearly defined. Yet along the way, there are certain layers each grieving person will most likely encounter at some point in their journey.

When first presented with your loss, it is natural to want to deny the event. Shock tends to bring a numbness that is actually helpful in making it through the very early days of grief. Soon, however the second layer appears.

The pain of loss can be severe. It is felt not only emotionally – but can manifest itself physically as well. The inability to rest and sleep well takes a toll on the body. Fatigue contributes to your hurt and exhaustion is a real danger. I personally experienced a sudden weight loss in the first week – 25 pounds, which I did eventually gain back. However, I have heard that others tend to see a rise in their weight as they deal with loss. Either way, the body fights to adjust to the loss and pain.

At times when you reflect upon grief, you might consider doing anything in order to see your loved one again. Talking and trying to bargain with God is not unusual. When the desired response is withheld, feeling anger can be the next step. You are angry with the situation; angry with the person you feel is responsible for your loss; angry with God; angry with yourself for not being able to change things; and perhaps even angry with your lost loved one for “abandoning” you. There is no shame in anger – it is holding onto that anger and acting upon it that can later cause you regret.

As you are forced to move forward in your journey, you have time to reflect and evaluate your situation. Perhaps you face loneliness that none of your friends can understand. Living without your loved one is hard and you are unsure of how to proceed. Depression closes in and the world looks dark. While this is also a common stage or layer of grief, the severity of the depression and sadness should be monitored. If you find it difficult to get out of bed for days at a time or you feel desperate enough to make unwise decisions, please tell someone. Go to a church, tell a friend, or pick up the phone and call someone who will listen and share your burden. There is hope even when you cannot feel it.

This leads to the final layer of acceptance and hope. You will come to a point in your grief journey when your outlook on life is better. Joy will be felt again, in spite of what you have gone through. You will experience more good days than bad days.

Do not be alarmed if you find yourself revisiting a layer that you thought you had left behind. As I stated earlier, the journey is messy and a bit circular. It is not uncommon to re-experience sadness at certain times, even when you feel you have made progress in dealing with your new life.

Keep living, place your focus forward, and realize that the varying emotions you experience are the layers of your journey. Those layers will shape you into a beautiful person with an incredible, unique purpose.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Until next time –

Karen

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.