Monday, August 4, 2008

Coping with Loss

I lost my aunt (my mom's sister) this past week. My aunt is the mother of one of the participants on this blog who also lost her husband and father. I know another one of you lost your husband. I lost my father. Most of us have experienced loss along the way. A couple of my facebook friends have lost grown I was wondering if this would be a good topic for the blog. I'll start with some quotes of people who have lost loved ones because I think that in sharing comes healing. Glenda Brenton who lost her husband says, "When you experience the loss of a loved one, your whole world is turned upside down. And so it's very necessary to be in a caring, confidential, supportive environment so that you can share your thoughts and your feelings and experiences with others who are going through the same thing." Virginia Conard who lost her seven-year-old son forty years ago and then her husband just recently said that she cried for a year behind closed doors in silence when her little boy died. When Virginia lost her husband, she said that it wrenched the heart in a different way. She said there is a difference in the way you grieve when you lose your parents than the way you grieve when you lose a spouse. Losing a child is still a different kind of loss. She said, "At one time I had my husband dying of cancer at one end of my home and his sister, my sister-in-law, dying of cancer at the other end of my home." Virginia joined a support group and began looking at her home differently. The same place where her husband and sister-in-law slowly said goodbye became a place she could greet warmly again. "I've always been surprised at myself...that I'm going around saying, 'I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful. And here I don't have my wonderful husband, but he left me this nice home; he left me with 60 years of happy memories. He left me with three wonderful sons and three wonderful daughters-in-law. I am grateful.' One of the most effective ways we cope with loss is gratitude for the time we were given with our loved ones.


Patty said...

"I said, oh, no, which way to go
You want a happy ending....gotta take it slow
I said, hey, hey....I got one thing to say
Live inside the moment and you'll be okay.

Take on the demons...face down the fear
Tune in to the waters clear."

~Teri Wilder 2002

Patty said...

Gloria (Bobbie) Gaedke was born on this day in 1929 and went to be with the Lord a week ago. She married at a young age and devoted her life to her family. She cooked gigantic, tasty meals for her large family and extended family. Hospitality was her middle name. I remember telling her years ago that I was on weight watchers eating program and had to eat liver once a week. (Yes, you actually had to do that in the seventies.) She fixed me a liver dish that was delectable. That is no small feat with liver, at least in my book. I love you, Aunt Bobbie. Your spirit resides with me today. Happy birthday, Sweet Aunt of mine.

R4C said...

Was Gloria you aunt?
I think the post is topic many folks would rather not talk about but important for those who are grieving and those who are walking with someone through their grief. In my experience, the grateful for their life and memories is a point on the healing scale. I think it is important to let people feel their pain without minimizing it. I didn't find much comfort in friends that wanted to cheer me up (I did appreciate their thoughtful ness though) Comfort came from those who just stood near me while I cried and when the time was appropriate encouraged me to take the next step.

Patty said...

Yes, Gloria is my aunt, although we called her "Bobbie". She had a big brother who couldn't say "Baby". At least that's how I think she got her name.

Patty said...

Thanks, Kim, for your contribution to this post. It means a lot to me since I know you've been through so much yourself. It may help someone else who is dealing with loss.

Patty said...

Psalm 119:130

"The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple."

Patty said...

"When griping grief the heart doth wound, and doleful dumps the mind oppresses, then music, with her silver sound, with speedy help doth lend redress." ~ Shakespeare

Music has always helped me along the way. When Dad died, Mike and the Mechanics' "Living Years" and "All I Need is a Miracle" were very comforting. When I taught in Nebraska and lost a drama student of mine, Tom Petty had a new song out called "Free Falling", and that song reminded me so much of Ronda, my student. One of my facebook friends who lost her son uses music a lot to find solace...mostly songs about the Lord's love and eternity.

Patty said...

Frank and I have a good friend who lost her four-year-old son Brant Sunday. It broke our hearts. Frank came across this poem, and it helped me a lot.

Tiny Angels

Tiny Angels rest your wings
sit with me for awhile.
How I long to hold your hand,
And see your tender smile.
Tiny Angel, look at me,
I want this image clear....
That I will forget your precious face
Is my biggest fear.
Tiny Angel can you tell me,
Why you have gone away?
You weren't here for very long....
Why is it, you couldn't stay?
Tiny Angel shook his head,
"These things I do not know....
But I do know that you love me,
And that I love you so."

~ Author Unknown

Rest in peace, precious Brant. God bless you, Tiny Angel!! My tears are flowing, but I know you are safe. xxx

Patty said...

This beautiful prayer brings comfort.

Patty said...

"I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid" ~ Leviticus 26:6. Rest in peace, Michael.

This message is to celebrate the life of a dear friend of my husband's who became a good friend to me as well. Michael was only 49 when his body gave out. He had endured a two-year struggle with alien cancer cells that eventually took his body but not his spirit. His physical life is over but his spiritual life continues. Just like all of us must return to God, Michael went home. I believe that God said to him, "Michael, my good and faithful servant, you have done well. You've made the world a better place with your optical designs, inventions, and patents. Your Hewlett-Packard's LightScribe and other technologies are your gift to the world. Now your life is complete, and I am taking you safely home where you will be restored to wholeness and perfection."

The rest of us may be in the valley of the shadow, but Michael has gone to the light beyond. Thankfully, God can walk with us and quietly affirm His presence every step of the way. His timing is perfect even though we may not understand it. We can only accept that Michael's return to God is a blessing and an honor. His eternal spiritual life is full of abundance, freedom, and joy.

During Mike's final days, he finally let go of some of his privacy and let his former teammates on his college football team come to cheer him up. My husband Frank played football with Mike and so was part of that inner circle. I accompanied Frank on these visits and learned a lot about the dignity and courage of facing our final days of physical life. Most of the time, Mike was the one leading all of us into positive conversation. He didn't focus on his cancer but wanted instead to share the exuberance of their younger, stronger football days. He appeared undaunted by his fate and even upbeat.

Patty said...

The bible says that when Christ ascended, His face did shine as the sun and His garment became white as light. Jesus said, "And where I am, there ye shall be also." I believe that Michael has found joy everlasting and the peace that passeth understanding.

We were not ready for Mike to leave. In fact, we consulted our daughter about a friend she has who owns a handicapped van. We both wanted to take Mike and his wife Traci out to dinner in it. We were disappointed before we realized that our measly dinner plans pale in comparison to what God's plans for Mike are. "Eye hath not seen, not ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for them that love Him."

Right after I heard the news of Mike's passing, I ran a mile. Frank and I were participating in the "Inspire Hope Walk" to benefit our nephew's school for autism, and I planned on walking with my husband, brother-in-law, and nephews, but it felt like something was pushing me from behind. I wonder if it was Mike's spirit.

Whatever it was, I feel at peace because I know Michael is finally resting in peace too. "I tell you, do not worry about your life. Consider the ravens.....God feeds them.....consider the lilies...they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these" ~ Matthew 6:26-29.

Yes, Michael, I am celebrating your life today. Like Paul says in I Corinthians 15:55, "O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?"

Only Love is real!

Love and Light,