Tell your story

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Four years ago when I began journaling about my grief journey, I would never have dreamed that it would lead to the writing, publishing, and selling of the book Grief Letters. In reading that sentence again, note that I did not say the journey ended with Grief Letters. Traveling grief does not end with an accomplishment or the fulfillment of a dream. In a very big way, loss will be part of your life forever – so tell your story.

Just because grief is part of your story does not mean you are doomed to forever taste your tears or feel your sadness. The things in your life shape you and help make you who you are today and tomorrow. This concept goes hand-in-hand with one of my favorite scriptures. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

You can trust that God will take your sadness and give you joy again. Know that the pain you feel today can shape you into a smiling person tomorrow. When you tell your story, you not only preserve your thoughts and feelings on paper. You also allow others the privilege of traveling along with you.

Some people have never yet experienced a deep grief. They are uncomfortable with the idea of death and lack the knowledge of what to say and how to address those in the midst of a painful journey. When you share your story, you allow others to see inside a walk that is unique and full of meaning. No two people grieve alike. While there are similarities in loss, it is said that the greatest loss is your own. Opening up about your particular grief can aid you in healing while giving hope to others.

One of my greatest concerns in walking my own grief journey was that all the things that I was learning would be wasted because I could not voice the lessons out loud. They were too fresh and tender. Tears accompanied the words each time I spoke. Yet I was determined to make my journey worthwhile and to honor Alan’s life more. So I began to write.

In the beginning, the words were therapeutic. An exercise I was encouraged to do as I worked my way through a workbook, sitting through a 13-week course of Grief Share.  http://www.griefshare.org

As I continued to pour out my heart, my feelings, and the lessons I was learning, I began to see the value in those written words. With the encouragement of friends and especially my oldest son, Austin, I decided to bravely venture into the book-writing process, creating my book, Grief Letters.

Tell your story. Write, not just to pen a book, but to have the advantage and experience of organizing thoughts to better understand your own journey. No one else needs to read your journal. It can be as private or as public as you desire. Pic up a pen, or open your keyboard and begin. May your find healing and better understanding as you place your own words to the written page.

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.

 

 

Tightrope Walker

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As I watched the news this morning, I listened to the coverage of the recent tightrope walker in Chicago. Unable to see it first hand on television, I looked forward to hearing the interview. Being a person who hates heights, picturing myself in his position terrified me. His view from high above the streets was something I never hoped to experience. Yet, I was intrigued to see what attracted him to such a sport.

A reporter asked him if he had been nervous as he moved on the wire, free from tethers and safety nets. His reply was that there was no room for nerves or fear. They would only distract him from his objective – to walk the length of that wire safely, from one end to the other.

The wind during his walk seemed to be less than ideal for his circumstances. They played part of the commentary he gave while walking. At one point, it showed he had planned to stop to take a “selfie” photo. However, due to the wind and movement of the wire beneath his feet, he opted to keep going. It seemed the risk was not worth his planned picture. I smiled when he mentioned this since I saw the whole ordeal as a huge risk.

He made one final comment, informing the audience that he was from several generations of tightrope walkers. He seemed to be conveying the importance of continuing that tradition. He thought of that vocation as a gift that was enjoyable.

There are similarities and lessons we can learn from this man as we walk through our grief. In order to make it to the other side of our sadness and missing our loved ones, it is important that we never lose sight of the goal. Keeping our focus on the objective of slowly but surely feeling better and healing over the next weeks, months and years can be motivation to move us forward.

We do not want to feel lost and alone forever. Having the impression of falling and losing control is miserable. Remember that scripture tells us we can do anything we are called to do with the help of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 4:13) Fear will only slow us down. Make the choice not to give in to it.

While we move through our days, we may have one plan in mind only to find it necessary to change in order to continue our journey. Just like our Chicago walker chose not to risk the “selfie” photo to assure he remained safe, we too may need to re-evaluate to balance things in our lives. Not every idea we have is a good one or in our best interest. Be wise enough to know when to alter and adjust to the events life may blow your way.

Our Chicago walker came from a long line of tightrope walkers. He had learned the skill from a very early age, with people investing in him and teaching him along the way. I realize that I am blessed to have grown up with people telling me how much I am valued and loved. My hope is that you hear this too. The importance of having people in your corner offering wisdom and encouragement is enormous. No one should have to walk the journey of grief alone. If you are at a point when you feel isolated and by yourself, reach out for help. Contact a church, a friend, or the Grief Share organization.

If you feel yourself teetering a little today, take a moment, and focus your eyes on your goal. Be open to asking for and receiving help, so you can continue forward.

Until next time –

Karen