Grief is real. Some days grief seems so much more present than other days and my years of experience with grief allows me to realize that that is just how grief is. It never really goes away and while missing our loved ones who have passed may be a bit easier as the days pass, it is always there, always at the back of our mind, reminding us of what we have lost.
Elisabeth Kubler- Ross is probably the one that most people equate with the stages of grief. She outlined the five stages:
Of course what I, and many others have learned, is that the grief process does not necessarily go in order. Nor does it happen on any particular time table. It is different for every individual.
Bottom line – there is no right or wrong way to grieve. It is a very personal experience.
With my mother’s death in December 2020 I found myself immersed in just remembering when she was healthier. Times when we were able to be together in the moment without memory or health issues. Childhood memories were especially vivid during this time. It helped me to remember those happier moments when my mom was really my mom.
Disease and memory loss often rob us of our loved ones before we are ready to let them go and it is important to remind ourselves to live in the moment with them and do everything within our power to make memories together. Now not all family relationships are healthy or happy ones but fortunately for me the relationships I had with parents and with other family members were/are positive ones.
Recently two of my very good friends lost their own mothers within 2 weeks of one another. One was a woman I had never met and the other the mother of my best friend here in Brevard. I was privileged to be able to be a very small part of her life the past couple of years and I must admit that her death rocked me a little bit. It brought up all of those feelings of grief for my own mother and if I am honest it was a little bit tough at times.
But that is what grief is like. It shows up. It continues to show up and remind us of what we are missing. That human form of the person that we so loved for so many years.
On those days when I feel the grief and sadness the strongest I try to focus my mind on the memories that I have that are happy ones. I try to remind myself that my mother is indeed in a much better place outside of a failing body and mind. I also remind myself that our time here on earth is just temporary and that it is important to make the most of each and every moment.
I take comfort in the words of that favorite hymn – It is Well With my Soul by Horatio Spafford.
- When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
- Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
- My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
- For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
- But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
- And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.