When my mom died in 2013, I naturally wanted to preserve her memory. I brought home many of her lovely bird figurines, and already had a collection of vintage photos and books from her side of the family. Dozens of beautiful sympathy cards had arrived in my mailbox. With all of these poignant mementos of her life, I decided to dedicate a bookcase in my bedroom as a memorial to her. I did eventually tuck away the cards into a basket, but then filled that space with vintage glassware that I brought home from her house the following summer.
If you have faced multiple losses or serious disappointments in a short period of time, this can get quite complicated. I've been known to lump all of my assorted griefs from many areas of life into one pile and try to deal with them as a pack. That can paralyze the soul. I realize now that I need to face each one individually for what it is. This is actually more manageable and productive. My soul is beginning to shine again.
Have you drifted into any harmful attitudes or practices that will drag you farther down into a spiral of despair? A bit of solitude can be a balm to the soul, but isolation can be deadly. So can addiction, bitterness, and giving up on the basics of life. If you find yourself sliding into a pit, ask for help!
God cares, and he has a plan for our lives, even within our losses. I ask him to heal me, to lead me, and to enable me to love others well. We read Psalm 23 at the bedside of my husband's grandfather the day before he passed away. These familiar words have often comforted me. See my photographic essay on Psalm 23 here: Beside the Still Waters.
I know that God is big enough and kind enough to handle my emotions, even my anger and doubt and fear. He helps me to forgive, to trust, and to step out in confidence. I am grateful for that.
I can see ways that, with God's grace and strength, I have grown up through the many losses and challenges I have faced in life. Think about what you have learned so far, and how much more insight and compassion you have. You can use this in the future to help other people.
Grace and peace,
Eulogy is Also a Beginning
on from Broken - My Church and Life Transition Story
Loss, and Lake Lily
Life is But a Weaving - Making Sense of the Loose Ends
Naomi: How to Help Yourself or Someone Else Overcome Discouragement
Life is Not a Bowl of Cherries
Memoriam: A Tribute to My Mother, Mary Quarrier
Poems of Comfort and Courage:
- Do Cry
- The Harp in the Willow
- Autumn Breeze (Haiku)
- Pilgrimage and Jubilee
- Your Kindness Gave Me Courage
- Shimmer and Shadow
- Lift Up Your Head and Laugh
Hymns with Reflections on Grieving: