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.

 

 

Cans and Cannots

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Walking a grief journey has its ups and downs. The lows tend to be deep and many, while the high points seem few and far between. While talking to my sister-in-law today, I realized that the attitude with which we approach our daily challenges either make us or break us. We have the choice to say, “I can do this!” What do you choose when confronted with the cans and cannots in your days?

The voice we hear the most throughout each day is our own. Therefore, we need to be careful with what we are saying and how we are saying it. When faced with hardship it is easy to admit defeat and give up before we even begin. Experiencing loss is not easy. It can be full of long-lasting pain. So how do we deal with it? Is there any point in trying? Will we arrive at a place in the future where we feel better?

Dealing with death and loss is an individual journey. No one can tell you exactly what to do to feel better. Yet, there are things you can do to ensure you continue to move forward in your grief and avoid being stuck while repeating those less than good choices over and over again.

You can realize that you are not alone. Even if you feel you have no other human to talk to, you can speak to God who loves you and cares about you. If you happen to hold anger against God, go ahead and voice that to Him too. He is big and can take the criticism. Work through those feelings. Be open to talking with a church pastor or close friend who can help you see things clearly and give you good advice regarding those harsh feelings.

Another helpful exercise you can do is to journal. Write out your feelings, fears, and questions. Putting conversations on paper that you miss having with your loved one can give you an avenue of expressing yourself. Write a letter to the one who has died. What do you want to say? Placing those words on paper allows you a voice on a dark and often too-quiet journey.

Accepting invitations to get out of the house and keep busy can remove you from the isolating life that grief can impose. You can dictate how you use your time, where you go, and what you do. While it may seem you have no control over what has happened, you can make certain choices that will bolster your confidence and improve your outlook on life.

Realizing and being prepared for the occasional moments when cannots enter the picture will help you push through and get to the other side of grief. As you move forward, you will encounter more and more cans along the way.

I wish you courage and fortitude as you maneuver through your cans and cannots on your journey of grief.

Until next time –

Karen