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/

Pretending

When my friend and I took this picture 6 years ago, we were pretending we were the Blues Brothers for Halloween. Yes, these were costumes for the holiday celebrated on October 31. That’s what costumes are for; to enable someone to pretend they are something or someone else. So as we passed out over a thousand pieces of candy that year on her block in Wichita, Kansas, we were pretending we were people other than ourselves.

Who might you be pretending to be as you travel along your grief journey? Are you able to be yourself as you walk through your loss and pain? Do you put on a brave face even when you feel like cowering and crying? Do you awaken in the morning to find yourself pretending to be okay so that you can get on with your day? Is it too hard to explain how you feel so you pretend life is just “fine?”

Walking through grief is definitely a challenge. Your life is changed by the death of your loved one. The way you handled a special day a year ago may be different now with the loss of that loved one. Trying to figure out how to maneuver each day is a real thing. Pretending your life is the same as it has always been will not aid you in moving forward in your grief, but will actually hold you back, keeping you bound by your pain.

It has been said that in order to begin to heal and to feel better about life, you must face your loss. Easier said than done! Pretending you are okay is often simpler than facing the pain of your grief. However, pretending will only prolong your journey. Instead of hiding behind a mask, embrace your loss, admit your pain to yourself and those around you, and have the courage to step into that ache that is so present in your heart and life. By doing so, you will find that life will eventually be better and you will feel more capable of facing the differences your days now hold.

There is a place for pretending – like dressing up for Halloween. But honesty will be best as you embrace your loss and face your grief. Be yourself so others can truly know who you are, how you are doing, and how they might come alongside you day by day.

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/

No Control

I recently had a dental procedure that required me to be put under for the extraction of a tooth and to help endure the pain of a bone graft as well. While lying back in the chair, I recall thinking, “I need to remember this feeling for my blog.” What feeling? The feeling of no control. As I lay there, a blood pressure cuff on one arm and the other pricked with a needle for the drugs that had already begun to flow making me quite woozy, I began to cry. When the nurse asked if I was all right, I replied, “No. I hate this feeling!” Perhaps you’ve experienced this feeling too. I’m talking about that terrible, gut wrenching realization that you have absolutely no control over what is going to happen, no matter what you try.

Having no control while sitting in the oral surgeon’s chair is no fun. But it’s a cakewalk compared to what people may experience while living with grief. The pain of having no control when facing a great loss in the death of a loved one is beyond comparison. So how does one survive such a feeling – such a loss?

Perhaps it might be helpful to know that while you may have no control over your circumstances, someone else does. When I lay there blacking out and feeling helpless with no control last week, I did trust the surgeon to do his job well. In fact, I had signed papers to that effect, placing my signature on all those pages meant to protect the doctor, the office, and assure me they had things under control.

So who has control in the case of your grief? While your friends and family are there and willing to help, they certainly cannot control all your circumstances and instantly make things better. You find yourself helpless to bring back your loved one and return to days gone by. So what can you do to feel better and manage the sadness of the days you now face? Turn to the One who controls everything. God is the creator of all things, thus you can trust Him with control of your days.

You may ask, “If God is in control, why did my loved one have to die?” Good question. It’s one that has crossed my mind in the past as well. However, I have no answer for you and there are some things we just may never know this side of heaven. Even so, God is more than able to comfort you, guide you, and sustain you in your sadness. The world in which we live is a broken one. There is pain, there is anger, there is danger, there is loss, and there are tears.

This is not the way things began. God created a perfect world. But because man chose to disobey God, sin entered the world and thus our downward spiral until Jesus Christ returns for His loved ones. Until then, we really have no choice but to acknowledge that we have no control. Instead, we can choose to trust that God still has our best interest in mind. I am not sure that when my loss was fresh I would have expressed my situation that way. However, looking back over the last 7 years, I can say that I trust what God is doing. I would rather Him have control of my life because I know that I truly have no clue what lies ahead and He does.

So having no control is okay by me; at least when it comes to my day-to-day life, for I trust that God will direct my steps. If you find yourself having no control over your emotions, or your circumstances, do not panic.  Instead try trusting in the God who cares and who is more than able to direct your journey and carry you through your hard days.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

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/

 

Loneliness in the holidays

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With this week being Thanksgiving, I thought it would be appropriate to share some tips in dealing with the holidays while walking through grief. Facing every-day life without your loved one is difficult. Facing the holidays without your loved one can seem overwhelming. Loneliness and holidays tend to go hand-in-hand, especially during the early years of loss.

If you are facing your first holiday season on your own, it can help you to remember several things I have found to be true. The first is to know that anticipation is usually worse than realization. Anticipating the holiday may stir up extra feelings of loss, apprehension, and loneliness. You may find yourself dreading the holiday. Fear can be a very real emotion as you wonder how that particular day will feel and what you will do to fill the hours until you can go to bed and wake up in a new day.

Perhaps you have been invited to spend the day with friends. You want to go, but you may be unsure how to excuse yourself in the case that you need some time alone to process your feelings. Remember that your friends care about you and desire the best for you. While they may not completely understand your loss, they want to see you smile and be happy. Do yourself a favor and be honest with yourself and with them. If you feel like crying – then cry. If you feel like laughing – do so with gusto and without guilt. Your loved one would want you to experience joy again. If you find yourself needing time alone – simply state that fact and retreat to a quiet room for a while. Pretending your loneliness does not exist will only keep you from healing.

Loneliness in the holidays is not necessarily a bad thing. It is something you need to experience in order to grow and take a step forward toward healing. Be courageous, take a deep breath, and give yourself grace as you learn to maneuver through Thanksgiving Day. In doing so, you will find yourself better equipped to look toward the other upcoming holidays. Allow yourself to feel and fully experience those emotions that will roll over you this week. As you do, picture your loved one cheering you on and being proud of you for facing what may be a hard day.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. With the holidays just around the corner, this may be just the gift your friends and family need to help them. 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.

A Dark Place

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Walking through grief and loss can be a dark place. Whether your journey has just begun or you have been acquainted with loss and sorrow for a while now, there will be times when you find yourself back in a dark place due to circumstances in life. Perhaps someone says something that brings up a painful memory. Maybe you just wake up sad and lonely and the day is a real struggle for you. Whatever the cause for finding yourself in a dark place, try to remember a few things.

First, when you encounter darkness, try to keep in mind that life is still the same as it was in the light. The goodness you know to be true is just hidden for a moment. There is still a familiar pathway you can find to get your bearings and work your way out of a dark place. Have the courage to take one step forward and then another and then another. You will find that a dark place does not have to hold you captive for long. Instead, it can propel you forward and teach you as you journey through it.

That leads to the next reminder. A dark place will not last forever. There will be an end to your darkness, your sadness, your trial, and your pain. The Bible says: “There is a time for everything, a time to be born and a time to die, ……a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 (NIV) The hard, unpleasant season you may find yourself facing will not last forever. While it may hurt to be in a dark place, that very place can serve a powerful purpose in making you work harder at healing in order to move forward with life. Your journey can also give you empathy to share with others who will one day face similar dark days. What you learn from walking your own path can help others as they struggle to walk and find light again.

Darkness has its own sort of beauty. Have you ever toured a cave? Some of them are so deep and cavernous that no light can be found in them except that which man has placed in them. Yet, people pay money and plan vacations to tour such caves. Why? Because there is beauty and wonder found within them. Realizing that beneath the surface lies great beauty can be the same with your journey. As you learn to deal with and walk through your sadness and grief, it is possible to find and experience joy, beauty, and light again if you look hard enough. Use the light of others’ experiences and God’s Word to shine into your dark place when you are unable to provide your own source of brightness. No one needs to walk a dark place alone.

The next time you experience a dark place, do not lose hope. Instead, embrace the darkness – not in order to stay there – but in order to beat it. Being proactive in dealing with your pain and sadness will help you have the upper hand in difficult situations. Life will be less likely to catch you by surprise and you will be able to find real beauty and joy in life – no matter your circumstances. Tell yourself that the darkness will fade and light will return, then focus on seeing that light before you as you courageously and steadily move forward through your grief and dark places. Be proud and rejoice that you can move forward into light again from a dark place.

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.

Share Your Story

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When you are journeying through grief, the last thing you may want to do is to share your story. There are days when you can barely manage to get out of bed and go about your daily tasks, much less think of baring your soul and being vulnerable to others with your very real and painful heartache. However, as you find yourself healing and gaining confidence and strength in your new way of life, you may see some opportunities to help others with their own grief journey.

When you share your story, you bless others by showing them there is a light at the end of the tunnel. They are encouraged to see that you are surviving great loss and pain, therefore there is a chance that they too will be able to do the same. Each time you share your story, you will also find that you heal a bit more. When you are courageous enough to tell others about your journey, you will propel yourself forward in your own healing. You will feel better about your life. Soon you will be able to look back and see how far you have truly come from those early days of loss and sorrow.

How wonderful to be able to see that you are not stuck in your grief, but that you are once again learning to live well and find joy. Life will not seem quite so overwhelming or impossible. The cloudy fog of early grief will lift and clarity will take its place. Let the vision of your recovery and growth propel you forward to share your story with those still working through the incredibly difficult days of early loss.

I look back and shake my head in wonderment at how I survived those first few weeks. I actually have very little memory of those early, grieving days. The only way I was surviving was on auto-pilot. God does that for you. He allows you to be numb enough to manage the tasks demanded of you in very difficult times. However, as that numbness begins to wear off, the pain and discouragement can set in with surprising strength and depth. It is in those times that people find themselves sinking in their grief. It is because of those times that you need to be willing to share your story as a sort of life-preserver to the drowning.

You can certainly make a difference! Take the time to truly think about being a catalyst to someone else’s healing. Begin to make notes of what it was that helped you along the way. What did you find encouraging when you were at your lowest point? What was said that didn’t help you at all? Is it possible then to share your story and impart hope and knowledge to people who are in great pain? Because you are a survivor and have a similar experience, you can be instrumental in walking through grief with someone else.

Consider how you can share your story to impact others and make a difference to those who so desperately need a lifeline of hope.

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.

Being Blessed

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What does it mean to be blessed? When you hear this expression do you picture someone whose life is easy, full of fun and laughter? Perhaps you think of a life that has never faced hardship or sadness as you have. You cannot imagine how a blessed life can be filled with hurt and difficulties.

Unless you face some sort of challenges in life, you fail to realize just how much you appreciate the easier, happier times you have been given. Those people who go through life seemingly without any difficulties can easily misunderstand what being blessed means. I would like to present to you the possibility that you can certainly experience a blessed life even in the midst of sorrow, great pain, and grief.

Being blessed does not mean you will be kept from sadness. Being blessed is not a promise that tears will never be experienced and your heart will never ache. Without experiencing those things at times, it is impossible to truly appreciate the better part of life. But being blessed is even more than being able to understand that life has its ups and downs.

Being blessed means that you do not have to walk the rough patches of life alone. It means that no matter how rocky your road may seem, you have company beside you cheering you on and encouraging you to take another step….and then another….and then another. Being blessed is knowing that someone has your back no matter what comes your way.

When my husband passed away, I had good people surround me and hold me up when I couldn’t gather the strength to even stand by myself. One friend in particular promised to have my back and committed to walk this journey with me for as long as it lasted. Nearly six years later, she is still my sounding board and listens carefully, giving wise advice when needed.

Being blessed does not point to the absence of hardship and sadness. Instead it means that you do not have to face your life alone. Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you feel your sadness carrying you away into a dark place. Accept the blessing of friendship and help. No one needs to walk this grief journey by themselves.

Remember that no matter the number people who are in your life, your best friend can truly be found in Jesus Christ. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends….” John 15:15 (NIV) He alone will be with you in the dark of night and can understand the depth of your pain.

Being blessed is knowing who your friends really are and recognizing that you never have to do life on your own.

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 balance beam

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I spent some time watching gymnastics on television last night. This is a sport that I enjoy viewing, admiring how the gymnasts do amazing jumps, flips, and turns. Watching as they dance along the balance beam and exhaling in relief when they stick the landing can be exhilarating. Having no talent whatsoever myself in any form of gymnastics, I marvel at the skills these young people have.

I watched, despairing as several of the young ladies bobbled a turn and failed to stay on top of the balance beam. As I sympathized with them, I began to see similarities between what these talented people strive to do and what those in grief must learn to maneuver on their own type of balance beam.

Being a gymnast competing for a place on the Olympic team takes years of practice and dedication. They have devoted themselves daily to hours of grueling drills and repetition of required skills. Commitment is evident in the success these athletes achieve. Even when they experience an unexpected tumble to the floor from that 4-inch beam, you see them take a breath, recover, and remount the beam quickly in order to follow through and finish their routine. They do not quit or give up.

The beautiful routines are filled with dancing, graceful moves, and difficult skills meant to thrill the audience and satisfy the judges. Focusing on fulfilling the required movements helps to assure that success is within reach. Working with a trainer and having these moves choreographed results in an art admired by many.

Walking through grief can be compared in ways to walking the balance beam. It takes great commitment and work to learn to place one foot in front of the other after suffering a loss. Courage must be summoned to manage even getting out of bed some days and facing your changed world. Some of the jumps and back flips on the balance beam require a blind landing. As you make your way through your loss, you may feel that you are required to move blindly, uncertain of what is ahead and how can you land well into the future when you cannot quite picture what it looks like.

There are also some great differences between walking the balance beam and walking your grief journey. These athletes train for years with some of the best coaches available. Most of the time you enter your grief with little notice or warning. Even if the loss has been anticipated due to an illness, it seems impossible to properly prepare for the complete separation that death brings. How does one truly practice for that?

Talented choreographers work with these gymnasts to provide cute and appropriate movements while fulfilling requirements of the judges. Walking through grief, you are forced to make up your own routine. No one can tell you how you should feel or what you should do. While there are people who have survived the grief journey and are willing to encourage you, no two journeys are the same. Therefore, it is up to you to find what works best in your own life.

Millions of people will be watching the Olympic trials and envying the talents of these athletes. No one will be envying you as you face loss and learn to journey through grief. In fact, you may find that some people will avoid you, fearing and doubting what they should say or how they should act around you. It will be necessary to not take these slights personally. Remember, unless you have actually experienced the loss of a loved one, you fail to know how to communicate clearly with those who have been forced to say good-bye to someone.

As you watch the Olympic trials and later the actual Olympic Games, be encouraged when you see athletes braving the balance beam. They are doing something that few people can do. You, my friend, can say the very same thing. You are walking a journey that no one else can tell you how to walk. Take courage, be confident, and step forward into your new life with gusto. Picture walking your grief journey well. Fight to keep your balance and work to stick your landing. You can certainly do this.

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.

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.