The Orchid Blooms

I’ve always loved orchid blooms. We have several beautiful orchid plants in our kitchen window. They seem to thrive there, blooming and growing in abundance. Their colors are bright and vibrant and they bring us joy as we look and see how well they are doing. The orchid blooms fill the space in the window and prove they are healthy by their spectacular looks.

However, for the second time in two years now, we have suddenly noticed that the orchid blooms are looking sad. They are slowing falling away from their strong, green stems and to our horror, some of those stems are beginning to turn brown! When this happened two years ago, we waited patiently – and a little doubtfully – for something to else happen. Would the orchid blooms return? Had we killed the plants? Too much water or not enough food or sun? Neither of us knew the answer so we decided to bide our time and wait.

At times, life seems to be like those orchid blooms. Things are beautiful and moving along at a smooth pace. You couldn’t ask for a better time in life. Your needs are being met as well as your desires. In fact, it doesn’t seem that you can do anything wrong. The word “Camelot” comes to mind, equating your present journey with that fictitious, perfect land. Then it happens. A small bump in the road causes you to veer just a bit. Instead of gliding along, oblivious of sadness and hardship, you now begin to wonder about the future. That small bump turns into a major uphill climb in your life. You pray and seek wisdom yet see no real end to the detour that has been thrust upon you. Like the orchid blooms, parts of your life seem to be falling aside and you see no reason nor have control over those circumstances in your way.

Take courage my friends. Every path will encounter rough spots. No matter how smoothly you are moving along through life, there will be moments – even long spaces – of hardship to endure occasionally. Why? I believe one reason is because you and I get too comfortable in our “Camelot” worlds to learn and grow as we should. Complacency takes the place of moving forward and becoming better, more informed people. We enjoy it when life is easy and it requires less energy from us. However, what do we really gain in those times?

It’s not a bad thing to have to it easy once in a while. In fact, finding rest and relaxing is necessary to re-energize for the days ahead. If we go full-tilt all the time, burnout will surely occur. However, be prepared for the periodic bumps in the road. When you least expect them, they can appear out of nowhere and throw you headfirst into a deep, dark cavern of loneliness and hopelessness unless you are already well-grounded (or in the case of the orchids, well-rooted) in your faith.

Next time you experience unpleasantness or are forced to face a rather sudden and harsh bend in your path, look up for guidance and remember the orchid blooms. I told you earlier that we decided to wait and see what would happen with those poor bare stems last year. It took several months of continuing to water the roots and dirt, hoping for new blooms, desiring affirmation that all was well with the plants. Finally, an assurance came that all indeed was well. One morning we saw a tiny bloom on the end of one new green shoot. As we watched day by day, continuing to feed and water the seemingly useless potting soil, we saw that life was indeed coming forth. Before our very eyes, we experienced the gift of new blooms appearing daily. Before long, the plants once again held beautiful, full blooms and they were plants we could be proud of.

Thinking back on that waiting period, I now realize that we could be proud of those plants even in their dormant stage. Just like you and me, my friend. We are still a wonder to behold. We are still made beautifully and have a purpose in life. That reason for being may not be as clear-cut at the moment, but you can be sure, just below the surface – if you keep watering and feeding and growing – you will come forth with beautiful reasons to be doing life and knowing what direction you are to go. Be proud of who you are, for you are created special and wonderful.

Don’t let the dormant times knock you down. Hold your head up, point your eyes upward and seek out what you are to learn as you rest and grow and get ready to bloom once again.

“Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God’? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV

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/

The Dash

I had a friend comment on all that the dash signifies when used between dates. 1960 – 2010 signified the span of my first husband’s life; 2006 – 2010 the dates of my son’s high school years. A lot of life can occur within the span of the dash.

2000 – 2018 reflects my span of work and service at Riverside. A lot of life has occurred within this time period. The move to a new town. The purchase of a new home. Watching our boys grow, get married, and begin families of their own. The death and burial of one husband and the discovery, love and marriage to my current husband. The joy of watching kids grow up and discover who they are in Christ and the equipping of parents to be their own children’s spiritual leader.

These past 18 years have been amazing. They haven’t always been easy, but they’ve been good because this is what I was supposed to do. However, the time has come when this chapter of my life has been called to close and I await with anticipation, joy, and perhaps just a bit of nervousness to see what the next chapter holds.

I have gained knowledge and many skills over these past 2 decades. Skills that will serve me well in another workplace. Knowledge that I’m eager to put to use in making a difference in the lives of people I will come into contact with and work alongside. I desire that chance! I will pursue that opportunity! To know that whatever I’ll be doing will be important if only in my own little world. And I know this to be true because God wastes nothing. No part of the dash in my life is for no reason. The space on either side of the dash signifies a beginning and an end. Not an end that will stop forever, but an end that involves a change of direction.

So I’m ready! I’m ready to see what this new direction will be. I’m taking up the challenge of doing something new and different after all these years. Just bring it on! I’m eager to begin a new dash!     2018 – ___ !!

Until next time –

Karen

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/

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


When you are walking a grief journey, there will be situations that come your way causing you to pause and contemplate, “Is this for real?” It seems that many days you must try new things and be brave as you branch out and expand your knowledge and skills now that you are walking through life without your loved one. Sometimes these moments of contemplation are spoken in confusion and other times you voice that statement in wonderment and are amazed at how blessed you can be, even while dealing with great sadness.

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/

 

I never used to

GEDC0318

Before I experienced death and grief in my family, I never used to dread coming home from work and the long, quiet hours that accompanied the evening. I recall phone calls on the drive home talking about possibilities for dinner and plans for spending the night together. At times that involved household chores. Other days held the promise of a special movie, concert, or just sweet conversation together.

I never used to struggle with figuring out what to eat and how to fill my body with the proteins and nutrients needed to stay healthy when I have no desire to cook. Having an appetite has become a thing of the past. Caring about eating the right foods at acceptable times of the day has become a puzzle that oftentimes seems to be missing a piece.

Lying awake for hours is a nightly ritual. Dreading the routine of bedtime even when the body is fatigued makes no sense, but is a common battle these days. Restful sleep is elusive, causing mornings to be filled with exhaustion and a lack of energy. I never used to toss and turn in bed. I have heard it said, “Just close your eyes.” However, that only opens the door for the memories of times gone by, accentuating the reality of what is missing today.

While there is plenty to be done in the home to fill up hours, finding the motivation to accomplish these tasks is difficult. Doing the work of two people in keeping a house in shape demands organization and work. I never used to lack the desire to get busy and finish the to-do-lists. But now when I see those lists, I feel overwhelmed and experience despair. How will I ever get it all done? Why even try? It really does not matter anyway, does it?

I never used to cry so much. Even though the tears fall less often than when grief first struck our family, the intensity of the sobs has not lessened when they do break through the stoic front I have learned to put forth for the public. The force with which the tears flow at times is still paralyzing. The only comfort is that these episodes occur less often as when the journey first began.

There is one ‘I never used to’ that must be added to this list. Perhaps it is the most important one of all. For without knowing grief and loss personally, I am not sure if a person can honestly know this quality. It is the attribute of I never used to have such a close, minute-by-minute walk with Jesus. While I have known my Savior personally since the age of nine, the relationship I have with Him has been shaped and sharpened by the tragedy and sadness that invaded my family five years ago.

I never used to spend so much time with Him in prayer and Bible study. I never used to be so totally dependent upon Him for my every need. I never used to see His absolute care and provision for my life. I never used to be so bold as to speak out to other hurting people, telling them how they too, can receive help and comfort in their own grief journeys.

As you face your own list of ‘I never used to’, may you discover a new closeness to the only One who can truly make a difference in what your life is now. There is hope. There is healing. There are possibilities that will astound you as your new life – your new normal – takes shape. Be encouraged when you realize how greatly your life has changed. While it is difficult and not what you might have chosen, it can still be a good, productive, and blessed life.

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.

Calming Yourself

14430_10152849169308766_4954085384851199922_n

Have you ever seen an upset child settle down as a parent speaks in hushed whispers and lightly strokes their back? What about watching a startled adult place a hand to their chest as they gasp and struggle to catch their breath, working to recover from whatever had frightened them? Calming yourself is a technique that you share with young children and learn to do yourself as you age. Do you recall how nice it was as a child to have someone embrace you and tell you that everything would be all right? I know that I have occasionally longed for that experience of comfort even as an adult since I have been journeying through grief. Trying to handle everything on your own can be taxing and exhausting. Calming yourself in the midst of loss and pain is a valuable skill.

I recall the first night of Alan’s death, just hours after leaving the hospital a final time. I lay in bed trying to sleep. Apparently I dozed off because suddenly I was in the midst of a nightmare as I sat straight up in bed and found myself crying aloud, tears flowing down my cheeks, rocking back and forth in an effort to calm down. A friend who was spending that first night with me heard my cries and immediately came in to rub my back, hug me, and allow me to rest my head on her shoulder. Calming yourself sometimes takes the aid of another.

When you find yourself in the midst of great stress and anxiety, what do you do? Sitting and crying for a while can be therapeutic. Perhaps reading a book pulls you to another world and relieves your pain for a while. Running a hot bath after a long, tiring day can bring relaxation to tight muscles and aching limbs. Calming yourself with Epsom salts and bubbles can work wonders in improving the view of your next few hours. And when you are aching, scared, and feeling alone, that may be all the further ahead you can look. Venturing forward into tomorrow’s plans can seem too harsh and too much of a herculean effort. If you find yourself in this situation, know that you need look no further than what you are able. The future – at least tomorrow – will take care of itself, so concentrate on making it through just today.

Calming yourself with bright hope and promises of better days can truly be a gift. Realize that you will not always feel lost and alone. Encourage yourself by singing that famous song from Annie, “The sun will come out tomorrow…..” Even though tomorrow may seem daunting, it can give you the incentive you need to make it through your present day.

Allow the tears to flow, the rocking to proceed, and the healing to resume as you find ways of calming yourself along your grief journey. Embracing your fears and hurts will actually help propel you forward along your grief journey.

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.

What do you say

IMG_4766

A friend reminded me today that my situation is unlike others in my office. When they call it a day and return to their homes, they have a husband or wife to talk to. The challenges or joys of their days are shared with others using a face-to-face conversation with a flesh-and-blood person. When I return home it is quiet and empty. What do you say when there is no one there to listen to you?

How do you unload the heaviness of your day when you are missing a loved one? What can you do to celebrate a success and incredible joy when you can no longer hear their voice and they yours? Is there a substitute to use in filling the void? What do you say and whom do you say it to as you journey through another layer of your loss and grief?

Talking aloud is quite therapeutic actually. I speak out loud often when I pray, realizing that God hears me just as well when I am silently beseeching Him. However, there is something to be said for actually voicing your thoughts. It feels a little more like actual human conversation when I push air through my vocal chords and allow the sound of my own voice to reach my ears. Knowing that God is listening is a comfort and I utilize this method of speech often.

Perhaps you are not real comfortable praying, even though it is just conversation with God. But if you would rather try something different, you can voice your thoughts, joys, fears, highs, and lows through the written word. There is something special about taking a pen to paper and allowing the words – the speech – to flow. While writing or journaling about your day is not exactly the same as verbally telling your story, at least you have found an outlet for your pent-up emotions.

What do you say when you find yourself dissatisfied and needing more though? You look for a trustworthy friend. A confidant in whom you can safely share your wounds and your wonders. This person should listen and not interrupt you. They should not judge you how you are feeling. It would never dawn on them to tell you how wrong you are to feel the way you do. Instead, they encourage you as they listen before sharing their own view of the situation. Hearing their perspective on things will ease your stress. Even if you do not agree with every word they share, you know that at least they care and you are not alone.

What do you say when the words run dry? When your emotions are too thick and messy to decipher and translate for someone who has not experienced your kind of pain and hurt? That is when silence is best. The quiet whisper in your soul calling out to God, “Help me, help me, help me.” never gets old to Him. He is ready and willing to not only listen, but to then ease your ache as only God can.

A favorite part of scripture is from Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I especially like the part of God giving us peace. As you wonder, what do you say next time, be assured that there is Someone waiting and eager to listen to you.

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.

Project Runway

IMG_5327

One of my favorite shows is Project Runway. I enjoy seeing the creativity of those designers. Watching how they make unbelievable clothing from practically nothing at times amazes me. Seeing their success inspires me to take what resources I hold and turn them into a beautiful life.

On Project Runway there is always a twist or theme to which the designers must adhere. However, on the grief journey, there are no such rules or outlines. No one can tell you what today should look like or what tomorrow will hold. So it is up to you to take every opportunity to cherish the past while you create lovely memories for your future.

As I watch the designers sketch, cut, and sew their creations, oftentimes their plans seem to make no sense. It is hard to catch the vision of their end goal. When Tim Gunn enters the room and gives his critique, alterations may occur and a new direction taken due to his expert advice.

Your journey is much the same. You may find that the path you are walking is not healthy or good for you. Perhaps you are failing to care for yourself physically. Maybe you have entered into harmful relationships where your best interest is not considered. Seeing these dangers and difficulties, you may need to change your path. Alter your journey in order to build a better life for yourself. While you are in the middle of grief, it is not easy to envision what your life will look like tomorrow, next month, or next year. However, it is important that you do your best to live each day with wise choices, being ready to adjust and make alterations along the way.

Five years after the loss of my husband, I am now seeing more good days. Life seems a bit brighter. I have had to make adjustments along the way and I am sure more will occur just down the road. That is all part of life in general. Preparing yourself to make small alterations in your journey as you are able, will help you fashion a better life for yourself in your own Project Runway experience.

The grief journey is not what anybody gladly chooses. However, it is something that everyone will experience at some time in life. Being willing to sketch, cut, and create your own new path will guide you toward a beautiful creation in the future. A creation that is brighter and better than you might ever think possible.

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.

The Empty Room

IMG_5568

I recently attended a funeral. While I didn’t personally know the deceased, I am very close to several of his family members. We arrived early to make sure all the details were being handled for the music and media that would be used during the service. At one point, everyone left that family holding room leaving me to myself. I stood and looked around realizing the significance of the moment in that empty room. Having experienced an incredibly difficult loss myself five years ago, I took a few minutes to think back over time to see the empty room for what it stood for in my own life.

When all the friends and family go home after the service and the obligatory condolences are said, you are left with the empty room. There comes a time all too soon after your loss when you find yourself alone and trying to figure out what is next. One moment you have more than enough people around you and then the next you would give almost anything for the diversion and company of someone sitting with you again.

The empty room conveys a closure to your loss that you may not be prepared for. Seeing the vacancy that loss brings is stark and painful. No longer can you hide behind the need to play host or hostess to a room full of people. Keeping busy meeting others’ needs and concentrating on anything but your own hurt and loss is no longer an option. Now the empty room looms over your days and nights.

Now that you see the barrenness that grief can bring, how do you handle it? What can you do to move forward on your journey and not feel locked away and trapped by the empty room? Recognizing the posture of being alone is the first step. When you find yourself dreading to return to your own empty room, be intentional to change your position. Make plans to go out with friends. Invite someone over, asking them to pick up dinner on the way. It is within your power to alter the emptiness.

For those times when the empty room persists, embrace the quiet. Set aside time to mourn, remember, cry, and be thankful for what you once had. Realize that your daily schedule may not give you the time you need to heal. So take advantage of the empty room to do just that – begin to heal and face the reality of your loss. This will be the beginning of learning how to live again with the great change that has been brought into your life.

Be encouraged when you see the empty room. Don’t feel that you need to run from it, but also don’t feel trapped by its existence. It’s just a room. What you do with it will make the difference in your own grief journey.

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.