More and more

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I find that the world in which we live tends to entice us in wanting more and more. The status quo is rarely enough. We must have more and more of: time, clothing, toys, friends, bling, food…the list could continue. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it would be easy to want more and more of things that we, on the journey of grief, feel we can no longer have. Yet, I would like to put a different twist on what we can possess.

Even though we feel set apart from those around us who use this holiday to show love to one another, we too can convey and receive love. Grieving a friend or loved one proves that we have known love. We grieve and miss them because we loved them. While it may be painful, it is actually a gift in having been part of such a meaningful relationship. Some people never realize and experience this type of bond.

So while you may feel you are missing out on a special day, February 14, your persistent, ever-present pain at this time allows you to remember that every day should be special and distinct. Experiencing grief tends to make us appreciate and value our days and our loved ones more.

Emotions can be difficult. People have the inability to keep their feeling stagnant and the same. Being sad one moment and happy the next tends to be the way of life. Human emotions have the tendency to change and fluctuate like the wind. Knowing this, we can make choices to guard against such emotional swings as we walk through grief.

We can choose to grow more and more bitter, isolated, and sullen in our grief journey or we can choose the opposite. Having more and more grace and love for ourselves and those around us reflects what Christ has done for us. Nothing we do or fail to do can make His feelings for us decrease or increase. God’s love is perfect and sufficient. That is the example we can follow.

So this Valentine’s Day, instead of bemoaning the fact that we cannot celebrate the day like others do, we can make sure that those we still have in our lives know that they are loved and appreciated. Spend time with friends, send emails or letters to family. Go have dinner out or watch a fun movie in. Focus on what you do possess with all the gratitude, grace and love you can muster. God can fill in the gaps where you may fall short.

May your day be filled with more and more patience, grace, love, freedom, joy, and beauty.

Until next time –

Karen

“It’s been a great year”…but

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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