Saturday, June 26, 2010

Shout of Joy

So the truth is... I was not shouting joy.  I was sobbing.  I was in one of those terrible fits of misery, driving to the cemetery in hope that spending time at Melissa's grave would comfort me.  That's when God sent the angel.  My phone rang. I dared not pick it up, for fear it was an angry family member, who had a right to me annoyed with me because I do make mistakes. (;_;)   So, I listened to the message instead, and it was straight from heaven!!  My Angel friend said, "I just called to tell you how much I love you...."  Can you believe it?  She had just come from church and I was on her mind, so she called and said exactly what I needed to hear - words straight from the mouth of God!  "We have work to do!"   The Lord reminded me that I have a reason for being on this earth and a purpose, and it goes way beyond my emotions on any given day.  My Angel reassured me that my tears were fine: "Oh, those are just emotions!  They change all the time."  RIGHT!  God is the one who doesn't change, and when we need Him, He sends angels.  "Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5b).  Who knows what unseen Angels are around us all the time, helping us out without us even realizing it--- like Melissa!   The more I focus on the reality of God's love and providence, the more I see with eyes of faith, and I finally get to shout with Joy!!  Wishing you many Angels in your week!  

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I was chatting with a Mom who lost a child several years ago.  She shared how a daily occurrence recently brought her pain to the surface and surprised her once again.  Anyone who has lost a loved one has encountered being caught off guard by intense sadness when you least expects it.  Rather than see such events as unfortunate, I welcome these feelings, but not because they feel good! The longing for a loved one is always terribly painful, which is why we automatically avoid our grief and try to ignore it.  Our innate tendency to bury our mourning makes such daily triggers so critical: we need the stab at our wounds in order to let out the pain.  Crying is like breathing out carbon dioxide.  We release our sadness to make room for the oxygen, for the healing.  After a good cry, I always feel better: more able to concentrate on work and people, freer to enjoy the day.  After loosing my Dad, I spent an hour alone every Saturday morning listening to his theme music and looking through his photos. This painful time allowed me to carry on through my week unhindered by surprise attacks of grief.  My longing for Melissa is constant, and I have learned to simply embrace the pain, knowing that my longing is a measure of my love for her. 
    Loss is a part of life, which we all face at various points in our life.  The challenge is to have the courage to feel the sadness, expressing all the feelings in healthy ways, creating memorials in our hearts, minds, lives, and knowing we will see our loved ones again....maybe soon!!  God Bless-

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


We usually think of anniversaries for Weddings.  In fact, I never thought of any other kind until a few years ago. But in Cambodia, people celebrate the anniversary of a family member on the day they died instead of birthdays.  Rather than celebrate the day the living are born, people honor the day they lost a dear family member by gathering together with food and memories.  What a healthy way to acknowledge loss and comfort each other with shared grief!  Americans tend to hide death, avoid it, pretend it doesn't exist. Other cultures embrace the longing for a loved one with formal rituals and prayers. Perhaps their strong belief in an after life helps Cambodians to confront loss more openly and positively. Family members are still perceived as close by, and perhaps they are!  A California woman recently told me that she hosted a dinner for her adult children on the tenth anniversary of her mother's death for the purpose of remembering both her parents.  At first, her children thought she was 'weird".  But when the whole family started telling stories around the dinner table, laughing together with memories, and sharing the old photos, the entire evening was a great success.  Even the spouses enjoyed seeing childhood photos of those they married. I think we need more of such positive remembering together in our culture, both to heal from loss and to treasure the gift of those who have shaped our lives.  Wishing you all good memories on Melissa's 6th Anniversary!