Grieving…..

One of my close friends lost her grandmother earlier this week. They were very close and created many wonderful memories together. Coincidentally, this past weekend another friend released her first book where she shared her journey after losing her 3 year old son in a terrible nursery school accident 23 years ago. The theme that played in my mind after hearing and observing these two situations back-to-back was that of grieving.

If you’ve read my book “It’s My Life and I Live Here: One Woman’s Story” you know that I know grief only TOO well. Last night I felt prompted to post some thoughts on social media on grief and allowing others to grieve. I’ve decided to share them here as well.

When we are close to someone who lost a loved one, our first instinct is to bombard them with phone calls, text messages, Facebook comments, Twitter feed comments, visits, food, cards, flowers, and the list goes on and on. Before you bring it on with bells and whistles, please take a moment and think about it before you do anything.

Immediately after the person has passed, the family members are typically in shock and deep sadness. Many may cry (as in shoulders shaking, hysterical cries), and others may just want to be secluded someplace without interruptions so they can think. In either instance, few want to be in a crowd of spectators saying a lot of words that CANNOT bring back their loved one. The words we say are typically meant to help, but let’s remember that this person played a significant role in their lives and they didn’t want to see them go.

There are a few things we must consider: Will they want to hear Scriptures RIGHT NOW? Listen to hymns of the Faith? Hear assurances that their loved one is in heaven? Do they need to hear that they’ll soon “get over it”? Do they want excessive hugs, lots of talking, and people hanging around all day and night?

These questions apply even to God-fearing preacher families. Sometimes quoting a Scripture sounds hollow and meaningless. Sometimes hearing the words of even a favorite hymn becomes irritating. The excessive hugs that last for 5 minutes may be too much right now. Give them SPACE to grieve.

Allow people to grieve in their own way, at their own pace. Not everyone can grieve in public, or with their homes filled with well-meaning visitors. Sometimes visitors must be there as they are part of the family that has lost the loved one. But some visitors are “extras” at this time. Sometimes just saying “I love you” or NOTHING at all, staying for a few minutes then leaving is all that the person truly needs. Then there are other times that company is welcomed, especially if the person lost a spouse and may now be faced with living alone as their new normal. Even if that is the case, be moderate and considerate. Don’t feel the need to fill every awkward pause or still moment with noise, talk or music. Sometimes quiet reflection and a chance to breathe is all they may truly need.

I remember when one of my childhood friends tragically lost his father. It was unexpected, and he was horrified by it. Because I had lost my mom just a few years before this happened to him, I was very sensitive to what he probably needed at that time. On the day of the viewing, I pushed myself to get dressed to visit the funeral home. It was tough to go since I had just recently visited one for my mom. I found him in the room standing in front of the casket just staring at his dad….. He had a hand in one pocket, and he tried to hold in the tears. I went over to him and stood right next to him. I said NOTHING. He then turned and laid his head on my shoulder and cried, and cried, and cried…..I stood there and waited for him to finish. After he composed himself, I left. I just wanted to be THERE for him, and that’s all he needed. If I were to ask him if he remembers, he would probably say no. Grief does that to you; you don’t recall half of what happened during that time of sorrow. But I know I made a difference without burdening him and that’s all that really mattered.

Please remember that when someone loses a dear loved one, they may never fully “get over it”. My mom has been gone for almost 25 years, and I am not fully over her being gone. She left at a very vulnerable time in my life; I was a teen. I remember standing by the edge of the graveside and dropping my last rose on top of her casket. I felt rooted to the spot where I stood. That was my best friend they just lowered into the ground! She was gone. I turned around to walk away and was almost suffocated by a woman’s bear hug. She meant well, but I didn’t need that then….. I just wanted to be alone in my thoughts at that time. Even today I do not visit the cemetery often. I can’t. My dad has to go with me, and then it’s a quick look, turn around and leave. It’s too much for me because all the memories come flooding back when I’m there. I remember everything all over again. I’m not fully over it, and I don’t think that day will ever come. I’ll always cherish the memories I shared with my mom.

And after the services end, and all the visitors are gone, and the calls stop coming and cards stop coming, will you still be there for your grieving friends? When they want to talk about what they remember about their loved one, will you try to change the subject or say they’re dwelling in the past? Sometimes people need professional help to move on, but understand that grieving takes time. Sometimes years. Even decades, sometimes…..

Make up your mind that when you’re faced with this scenario, you will promise just to BE THERE. Nothing else is needed, really. They just want to know that when they’re ready to talk or just to sit with someone that you’re ready too.

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Hope Now Restored Foundation – Restoring hope to communities, one family at a time!

Everyone,

In March 2013 I founded the non-profit organization “Hope Now Restored”.

The Foundation seeks to assist dependent children of single moms by providing a safe haven after-care program that offers nutritious meals and homework help, as well as any other type of support that may be available for these children.

The single moms will be offered opportunities to improve their lives by receiving assistance to complete their educational pursuits, along with recommendations to services that can make their lives more meaningful and fulfilling.

The elderly women will be offered companions, assistance in completing needed paperwork (e.g. Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid forms), help with preparing estate wills and living wills, and opportunities to feel better about themselves (such as hairdresser visits, manicures/pedicures, etc.).

My first fundraiser will use needed funds to secure the 501(c)3 tax exempt status, a laptop to manage the needs of the organization and the creation of a high-quality website for outreach and fundraising.

To help us, click on the link below and make your donation! Your help will make a difference in the lives of many women and children.

Thank YOU!

"Restoring hope to communities, one family at a time!"
“Restoring hope to communities, one family at a time!”

http://fundly.com/kick-off-for-hope-now-restored-foundation

 

 

Pursuing What Counts in 2013

This blog was first launched on December 29, 2010. Two years of triumphs and tragedies have passed since then, and I am thankful that I am still here to share this special moment with you – the end of yet another year.

We’ve seen significant changes financially, spiritually, socially, in politics, and in our communities all around us. We’ve buried many children due to violence, like the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School horror in Newtown, Connecticut (USA) and Trayvon Martin’s untimely death in Florida. Some cities like Chicago, Illinois (USA) have buried over 500 people in 2012 due to violence alone. Wars have erupted in the Middle East and in other world regions as governments and regimes fight for various rights or privileges. People crush each other any moment they get a chance (on social media, in the workplace) because of the fierce competition that is now ensuing.

What about our futures? What type of world are we creating for the generations coming up behind us? Are we proud to show our children how materialistic we’ve become? Is having all the latest gadgets, clothes, shoes and cars the only way to show that we’re “really living”? Do we make the effort to extend ourselves to help others, or are we content with the “us four, no more” mentality?

When we are at work, can anyone say that we genuinely care about their well-being, even if we are managers? Or is self-preservation the name of the game?

What about our church circles? The shame and embarrassment seems unending when news is broadcasted about our issues. Are we willing at all to step aside and allow God to take full control of our private appetites so they do not boil over and become public disgraces?

We need a revival of our souls. We are thirsty and are reaching for things that will never satisfy us!

2 Chronicles 7: 14 – 15 (NKJV, Holy Bible) states:
“….if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.”

I have such a spiritual hunger and thirst deep within me now that I cannot truly explain. I’m at a place in my life now where dressing in the latest labels and designs are a nice-to-have and is not required. Driving the latest model car means nothing to me now; I’ve done that twice before. Living in the “right” zip-code means very little; I’ve done that before too. What I NEED, more than anything else, is more of GOD. He speaks to me in the small things and in the big things. His care is evident. His love is precious. He speaks to my soul in ways I cannot describe adequately. Dreams, desires and ministries are birthed when we submit our lives into His hands.

As we embark on a new journey that begins in just a few hours (less than 12 hours), let us stop the busyness, step away from our electronic devices for some time and give God our undivided attention. He longs to commune with us. His presence gives us unexplainable peace of mind. His presence brings divine revelations on how to proceed in our lives. His love envelops us and heals us of past hurts and disappointments. These are not just cute sayings; these are REAL results when we stay and pray. Meditation on the Bible is vitally important in growing and developing us as living examples. Reading biblically-grounded books help as well. Take notes as you meditate, read and reflect. Allow God to push you into your next place of blessing (or testing).

I want to worship God with ALL my heart, mind, soul and spirit. I want to worship Him as I approach a new year with new challenges and new blessings.

Will you join me?

I wish a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2013 to you and your families!

Thoughts for Today (and Everyday)

Just a quick post to share with you:

God loves you. He’s not finished with you yet! No matter what you’re facing today, just know that He has You in the palm of His hand. No experience should be wasted. Anything we go through is meant to help someone else. Endure and come out victorious!

Understand that nothing happens in your life that surprises God. He knew you would be right where you are, right now. He’s not shocked at all, believe me. He loves you UNCONDITIONALLY. This means that you cannot do ANYTHING to earn His love. That’s right. NOTHING AT ALL. You only have to accept His love and ask Him to forgive you of your sins. 

Treasure your moments with family and friends because all too soon it becomes just a memory. (Trust me on this one.) Hug often. Tell them you LOVE them. Do not be ashamed to say this to parents, cousins, siblings, friends, etc. 

Take your relationship with God SERIOUSLY. Your relationship with God should be the MOST important relationship to you, like your air that you breathe. Don’t be super-deep and spooky, just be serious about your relationship with Him. He longs to speak to you and to show you things that you didn’t know or understand before. Get in His Word more (I’m speaking to myself here as well). Pray. Meditate. WORSHIP. Thank Him. Tell Him you love Him.

Make your life a daily profession and confession of your relationship with God. Without preaching a sermon, others should be able to tell that you are DIFFERENT. 

And remember THIS: We’re not perfect, we’re REDEEMED. AMEN! 

 

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The Journey Begins, One Step At A Time (Oct 2009)

I started on a new journey 4 years exactly, almost to the date. I remember my nervousness as I packed my things and those of my son and made a quick exit on a rainy fall night. I was nervous because it seemed crazy to those who were outsiders looking in that I would leave what seemed like a perfect situation. But those who lived inside knew that it was only a facade. Very little was real aside from the fact that we were human beings using our correct (“government”) names.

Continue reading “The Journey Begins, One Step At A Time (Oct 2009)”