That Tink Moment

Photo 0013

Tinkerbell. That cute little pixie who brings a smile to faces around the world. I love this picture from my trip last summer. We were told to pretend there was something in the hand and act surprised and thrilled. Upon seeing the final picture at the end of the day, after the photographer had added Tink, I saw my face displaying excitement and wonder. Those are two emotions that have been difficult to feel these past few years. However, that Tink Moment on vacation made me realize that I really can enjoy life again.

While Tinkerbell may not be real, I think Tink Moments are. They are “ah ha” opportunities which present you with sudden pleasure and sweet surprise as you once again experience happiness and joy.

In the early days of grief, it can seem as if nothing will ever be good or right again. I know. I have been there. Fortunately, I can also testify to the fact that the journey does get easier and joy will enter into your days, little by little. You may notice all of a sudden that the sun is shining and your favorite flower is blooming as if to say, “Hello there! Smile!” Perhaps you awaken to a swell of energy one day and cannot wait to get out and hit a few balls on the golf course or take a walk and breathe the fresh air.

Those better times will sneak up on you, so be looking for them. They are a gift: an encouragement from a loving, caring, all-sufficient God who also knows the ache of watching a loved one die. Just as suddenly as grief struck and stole the joy and confidence out from under you, it is possible to unexpectedly experience a smile, feeling a warmth from within that assures you of better days ahead. That is a Tink Moment.

May your days be full of these special times that remind you just how loved you really are. Look for your next Tink Moment amid the rough spots as you journey forward in grief.

Until next time –

Karen

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief letters is now available for purchase.

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Author/Default.aspx?BookworksSId=SKU-000980156

or on Amazon – paperback, hardcover, and Kindle.

“It’s been a great year”…but

Photo 0013

As I look at my Facebook account this week, I keep seeing people posting the special year-end review entitled “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being part of it.” While I am sure these are very fun to make and I really do believe we all have much to be thankful for, a little pang of pain cuts each time I see one of these.

I agree that many good things have happened this year. The fact remains, though, that I just cannot claim that it has been a “great” year yet. There have been great moments, but moments are fleeting and often forgotten in the midst of walking through grief. Some might say that I am just being too sensitive and it is time to move on and get over it. I would like to help explain my point of view.

My first vacation since Alan’s death rocked my world was very fun. Who would not love a Disneyland trip with a good friend? It was something Alyce and I had planned for months and I am so glad we went. That adventure was definitely a highlight in my year.

Our youngest son graduated from college and a few months later got engaged to an incredibly wonderful woman. We are in the midst of wedding plans and looking forward to a marvelous celebration of uniting two lives next summer. Both of these events are undeniably beyond “great!” These are two special times in life that I have prayed about and dreamed of since giving birth to that adorable, blonde baby boy.

I have had the pleasure and satisfaction of finishing up my first book and sending it off to a publisher. Awaiting its arrival on bookshelves in stores is exciting, if not a little bit daunting.

The year held numerous opportunities to travel and see family and friends as well as opening my home to host fun times here. I realize how blessed I am to have a large family that loves each other and many friends who enrich my life in a variety of ways.

So you see, it has not been a bad year. Just the opposite, it has been full of accomplishments, celebrations and fun. Why then, does it still hurt me to see the posts of so many boasting that it has been a great year?

Because grief hurts. Will that pain end? I am not sure it really ever ends – but it does change. While I still hurt and miss my husband terribly (some days more than others) I can honestly say the pain is not as intense. That realization is what propels me forward.

The pang of pain I feel in doing life without him is not as overwhelming as it used to be. So while I still miss him; while I can still feel sad watching others enjoy life – I am also able to see progress in my journey and know that this life is getting a little easier to navigate. I can celebrate the small victories that sometimes still get lost in the vastness of grief.

So go ahead and post your pictures and be grateful as you state “It’s been a great year….” I will smile and be glad for you. I do not begrudge your joy at all! In fact, seeing it gives me something to look forward to. I can be certain that there will be a day you will see such a claim and post of my life too.

Until next time –

Karen

Let Me Off This Ride!

AT Disneyland 2014 016

Have you ever been on a ride and found you had made a mistake? What were you thinking getting on that? I admit, I can handle just about any roller coaster you place before me. Fast, upside down, loops, turns – I love them! However, I abhor anything that goes around in a continuous circle. I cannot stand the movement and tend to feel sick to my stomach quickly. I recall one Tilt-a-World ride as a kid and how I immediately threw up the moment the ride ended. Since that time, I have avoided those spiny rides at all costs!

There are three stages of experiencing one of these park rides: standing in line, the ride itself and the effects on your body. Keeping these stages in mind, we can compare our grief journey to an outing at an amusement park.

This summer I enjoyed Disneyland for the very first time. I was amazed at the work and effort they placed in making the cue line for the ride part of the actual experience. My favorite was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. As we waited nearly an hour to get on the ride, time passed quickly. We wove in and of the jungle and ventured into caves tunnels. Before we knew it, we were at the front of the line!

As we journey through grief, we too can lose track of time. Unfortunately, the time in grief is not as pleasant as the cue lines at the park. A day may fly by without our accomplishing anything. Where did the time go? How did the day get away from us like that? The weight of loss can affect how we view the passing of time. Some days will fly by and we honestly will not remember what we did. Others tend to drag along so slowly, that we question whether we will even survive.

Waiting for grief to pass, is really the ride, or experience, for those who have lost a loved one. We wait for the hurt to go away. Each day holds its own challenge as we struggle to finish our grieving.  We desire to get off this ride we have been strapped on to without our permission.

Just as a roller coaster can make us dizzy and raise our heart rate, grief also takes a toll on the body. Those in grief often have no appetite and forget to eat. Sleep seems impossible and the idea of resting and ever feeling refreshed again can be a long-lost dream for the bereaved. Perhaps sleep is all you want to do. Finding the energy to get up and out of the house is difficult at best.

Getting proper nutrition and rest is vital to stay well and journey successfully through your grief. Being aware of challenges you may have in these areas is the beginning to getting help. Seek the advice of a nutritionist or doctor. Find what works for you to wind down in a healthy way at night so you can get the rest your body demands. Turn off the television and read a book. Drink some hot tea and allow your body to relax and mind to slow down.

Going through your grief is like entering an amusement park for which you did not purchase a ticket. Yet, you find yourself strapped in and trapped, unable to get away. Remember, the only way off the ride of grief is to go through it and finish it up. While it will be longer than you desire, realize that only by accepting your journey, will it be shortened. While we may scream “Let me off this ride” the only way off is by going through it.

Until next time –

Karen