Special Memories

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Along the grief journey you reach a point where you are able to look back and reminisce without great pain. Allowing yourself to enjoy special memories is something you may doubt will ever happen. However, when you do the work of grief, facing your fears and being honest with yourself, you are rewarded with seeing a measure of joy in remembering.

Some of my special memories are the funny times. Recently I found an incredible gift. Sorting through papers I found an old email I had printed off years ago where Alan had spent time listing nearly one hundred special memories of our years together. It was almost as if he knew I would need that list someday. Reading through the page, I found myself chuckling again at some of the crazy, funny times that we had together.

I also noticed other times that held suspense and tension. Such as the time Alan courageously drove through the hollowed-out tree in the redwood forest. I was too nervous and claustrophobic to ride along so I had jumped out to watch him go through alone. Reading the list, I also recalled the time of sitting together with no electricity due to a blizzard raging outside while we kept our two fireplaces going to warm the house, hoping the pipes wouldn’t burst. Knowing that he “had my back” in those days still brings me comfort today. Realizing you are cared for in such a way impacts how you can move forward in life today.

Even if your loved one is not present in your life, you can picture how they used to cheer you on and speak up for you when others failed to do so. You are that same person even in their absence. You are someone who is valuable and worth defending; someone who can have the confidence to face the future because you remember what you have survived in your past.

Are you able to articulate what your special memories are to someone? Perhaps you find it easier to write them things down. Create a journal to carry forward with you. Maybe you choose to be more artistic and desire to develop a memory board or a photo display. Whatever it is that allows you to smile and think back fondly on past days with your loved one is worth spending time on. Facing your past allows you to move forward to your future.

Determine to begin remembering, listing, and enjoying your special memories for the sake of grieving your loved one in a healthy and productive way. You will be glad you did.

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.

Gift of remembering

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As the holiday season approaches much too quickly, it is easy for me to feel anxious and to begin dreading the upcoming days. With the arrival of the holidays also comes the memory of Alan’s death since it occurred between Thanksgiving and Christmas and 11 days before his birthday. I was listening to a book on CD in my car this week. My commute to and from work gives me the opportunity to listen to, enjoy, and learn from some good authors. Karen Kingsbury is this week’s choice. While I have not read (or listened) to her before, I must say she has a way of writing that makes me stop, think, and realize how blessed I really am.

There is a certain gift in remembering. You are reminded of doing life with someone; the way they sounded when they laughed or the look on their face when surprised. I have learned that you have a choice how to respond to your memories of loved ones. Recalling special moments together can be a blessing. They can also be painful and looked upon as something to be avoided. You may choose to bury those memories down deep in order to keep from hurting. However, I want to propose that you receive the gift of remembering and treasure those special times instead.

Being able to recall happy occasions with your loved one is something that death cannot take from you. Those memories are treasures that you can hold in your heart and mind forever. Reliving those happier times can bring relief in the midst of deep sorrow and hope in the depths of dark nights. The gift of remembering can confirm the special relationship you had with your loved one. Knowing that they cared enough to do life with you is a blessing. Embrace that knowledge and allow it to be a healing salve placed upon your hurting soul.

What if some of those memories are less pleasant? There are spats you had, the disagreements that were difficult to navigate, and the challenges that life brings to everyone at times. Recalling how you made it through those hardships can encourage you that this present journey will not be impossible either. Because you made it through other hard times, you are better equipped to survive the challenge that death and grief bring.

Preparing for bed last night, I heard the song We Will Remember. It’s a beautiful tribute acknowledging all the times that God has been by your side and seen you through both the good and the rough times in life. It confirmed for me that there is definitely a gift in remembering.

As you approach the upcoming holidays, do so with an open mind and a willing heart. Embrace your memories realizing that the gift of remembering is proof that you loved well and lived hard. Continue to do so now. Move forward with no regrets. Do not miss those opportunities that are presented to you as you heal and learn to continue living life a new way.

Until next time –

Karen

With the holidays approaching, Grief Letters makes the perfect gift for those walking through loss and sadness. 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.

Jump drive

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I am doing more writing these days and decided I needed to remove some files from my computer to make plenty of room for new things. While I stood in the aisle of the store deciding what size and brand of jump drive I needed in order to transfer work elsewhere, I wondered what could be used to move certain memories to create space as I journey through grief. While an actual jump drive does not exactly aid those of us navigating loss, there are things that can help along the path we have been forced to walk.

A grieving person’s jump drive can be words. Figuring out how to express yourself to others is not as easy as some might expect. The emotions you feel seem too big for words. How can you possibly explain what you are going through when you do not understand it yourself? However, words are valuable. They secure the memories you carry. They help process the journey you are on and can bring understanding where only confusion and the unknown exist. If words can be a jump drive of the grieving, how can they be put into service?

Begin by journaling your thoughts and feelings. Using this technique as a jump drive can help you place the load of information in your mind on paper so you feel capable of moving forward with your new life. As you begin putting pen to paper, do not be concerned about complete thoughts or sentence structure. Just start jotting down your feelings, letting them flow from within. You will find that by doing this, you are able to sort through your grief and begin to make sense of events and room for new experiences when they come along. Journaling assures you that facts and memories you want to treasure forever will be held safe and sound and clearly remembered.

Talking about your loved one can also bring healing and open up room in your mind for new and precious memories. The spoken word can be healing. Some people may find it too painful to speak their thoughts out loud immediately after a death. Hearing and admitting your loss through your own words brings reality crashing upon you and the truth can no longer be avoided or denied. However, allowing conversations regarding your loved one and the loss you have experienced is necessary. Hearing others converse and share memories also gives you more to value. Gaining perspective on how friends viewed and respected your loved one is a treasure. You will find healing in eventually allowing yourself to speak of your memories, your pain, and your journey without them.

Let your words become a jump drive. Find strength, healing, and room for new growth along your grief journey. By expressing stories and memories, you are really storing them in your heart for years to come.

Until next time –

Karen

Let me encourage you to share Grief Letters with those you know walking through loss and sadness. This devotion book is filled with stories of my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief.

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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.