Friday, March 25, 2011


I'm writing a book on positive grieving, a survival manual for mothers who have lost a child.  You know what word I use over and over?  Forgive.  Forgive others for not knowing what to say or for saying the wrong thing. Forgive family members for fighting and emotionally withdrawing and being irritable, because that's what grief will do if not expressed honestly and directly.  Most of all, forgive yourself for everything: for all past mistakes with the loved one and all current mistakes with everyone else because you are in deep grief.  Forgiveness is such a critical discipline in the path to healing and healthy relationships. Somehow, Melissa seemed to automatically forgive others shortcomings, especially in the last year of her life.  Maybe knowing each day is precious makes us more aware of the importance of letting go of petty irritations. At the same time, Melissa also let people know when they owed her an apology, which makes for honest, close relationships.
        Our faith tells us that Jesus died to provide us with unlimited forgiveness.  We have to choose to believe and choose to forgive, especially ourselves.  Forgiveness is a choice, just as faith is a choice!  If we "can't forgive", its because we have chosen not to forgive, but won't admit that to ourselves.  Prayer is the pathway to forgiveness, both of others and oneself.  If we pray sincerely for God's help to forgive others, He will help us to do so.  And we must pray also for forgiveness for ourselves.  Holding on to guilt or anger is simply destructive.  Both anger and guilt eat away our souls.  Choose forgiveness as often as you need to do so.  And allow the peace of Christ to reign in you, no matter how many mistakes you make!  Peace. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Positive Grieving

That title may seem like an oxymoron, right?  What can be positive about grieving?  But we do have choices in our grieving.  We can choose to bury our emotions and pretend they are not there, which is largely what our culture tells us to do.  I strongly encourage you to avoid this mistake.  A better choice is to express your appropriate sadness in tears, memories, writing, talking, praying, and honoring that person. The pain of loss has to be felt, expressed and released in order for us to heal.  Holding it in creates a huge boil under our skin that just continues to get more inflamed and painful.  Boils have to be lanced for all that bad stuff to be released, and then our bodies begin to heal.  Your instincts will tell you how to release this pain, just listen and follow your heart! 
If you have lost someone important to you, I highly recommend visiting the grave site as often as needed. Yes, it will be painful, but it will also give you peace.  Several of my daughter's friends traveled to her grave site with me a few years ago. We were all apprehensive about how the day would impact us, myself included.  I felt responsible to take care of these young people.  We spent several hours in the summer under a tree painting rocks with love notes for Melissa to leave there. We each took turns at her grave.  We all left with a great sense of peace.  Although being at Melissa's grave was sad, it was also comforting!  We all had a chance to talk to her and feel closer and express our affection.  We had a chance to release some of our sadness, and returned feeling lighter in heart.  So, do not fear the pain of sorrow and sadness, and do not feel guilty for feeling such sadness.  Our certainty of heaven gives us hope, but nothing takes away the pain of loosing a loved one, which is good pain!  It is the pain of love!  And feeling this pain just makes your heart grow into amazing dimensions, all the more capable of loving others!  So, embrace the pain. Feel it through, without self-pity, but with the knowledge that this is where you are meant to be.  Our God has an amazing plan and endless ability to turn our all tears into something wonderful.  Blessings on your day!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


In my last blog, I describe God's awesome mercy on me.  He answered my desperate plea for help in writing a book.  He not only answered it- but did so in record time!  The Lord loves to make it clear, He can do anything!  Can you guess what I did when this book miraculously materialized in about 2 weeks time?  Yes, I rejoiced.  I was flooded with relief, as if my life had just been spared.  Then I started to pat myself on the back!!  "Hey,  I got the whole thing done in about 2 weeks!!" (OK, it was only a first, rough draft, but at least my thoughts were down on paper.)   Can you guess how the Lord reacted to my pride? -- Right, I felt the Holy Spirit say, "Excuse me? - WHO wrote the book?"  How quickly I forget who to credit when my work is done.  How easily we forget our need for God when things are looking up! Melissa never fell into this trap in the last years of her life. She always saw the invisible sword swinging over her head.  She was always keenly aware of her need for God.  And we are in no less need, although we may be ignorant of what swords swing over our heads!  We are all dependent on God's grace and mercy. Every day is a gift from God.  Everything we do is a result of God's gifts of time and talent to us.  So let's be thankful and rejoice in His love and mercy! - Blessings on your day!