Serenity Prayer

SerenityPrayerI’ve had this picture hanging in my bedroom for years. I love it mainly because it reminds me how to deal with change. There is always change in my life and I’ll bet there is in your life too. Some needed, wanted and expected. Other times it’s just the opposite. Either way, it can be hard to adjust to. The birth of a baby or death of a loved one and all the opportunities and circumstances which come during life.

Prayer is a powerful tool. I’m grateful for a way to communicate with an all knowing God and I pray for some of His wisdom often.

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Blessings From Grief

Sometimes it’s hard to see the blessings given to us when we are in pain. These three inspiring thoughts reminded me of some I received which helped me move forward through my sorrow.

Inspirational_Grief_Quote4

 

 

 

 

 

God Promises

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grief Changes Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our experience with grief gives us the ability to truly empathize with another in similar circumstances. What blessings have you received or have been able to give another during sorrowful times?

Twelve Things I’ve Learned About Grief

Keep Moving Forward

Grief is not easily discussed or thought about, yet it is something we all experience. My Sunday post, The Dreaded Phone Calls, caused me to reflect on the grieving process. Twenty-three years ago I had limited experience with grief and I’m still learning about the grieving process. I’ve done some research and realize it’s helpful to know what you’re facing and to know you’re not alone. For that reason I’d like to share what I have learned through my experience and research.

1) Grief is a normal part of life. If you love, it is inevitable and it doesn’t take the death of a loved one for it to come. It can appear with the loss of a job, relationship, and opportunities. A life altering accident or illness will cause one or possibly all three, which compounds the grief.

2) The pain is intense. I was not prepared for the emotional pain level I felt. It far out-weighed the physical pain of a broken collarbone and bruised body. Don’t be surprised when emotional pain manifests itself more severe than any physical pain you have experienced.

3) It takes time to heal. My world as I knew it ended, but life does go on, slowly. A new normal does come. You may be okay one minute, one hour or one day and not the next. Learn to accept what your heart and mind are feeling and work through it. Each of us grieves differently. Some situations and circumstances take longer than others. Be patient with yourself and others.

4) It’s okay to cry. No apology is necessary and you should do it as often as you need without feeling weak or embarrassed. But it’s okay to laugh, too. Don’t feel guilty for feeling positive emotions even when dealing with a loss.

5) Take care of yourself. Do healthy things you love even if you don’t feel like it. Eat healthy and take time to exercise. You may feel like you’re just going through the paces of life. Remember, you are still living and need to take care of yourself.

6) Don’t shut people out. It may appear by doing so you will save yourself from more pain and the self-pride of doing it alone. Most people want to be strong and do things on their own. However, cutting yourself off from relationships or refusing someone’s help can hurt you and others. It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to need people. Tell friends and family specifically what you need. They will probably thank you for doing so.

7) Grief is a mixture of emotions. I felt despair, numbness, emptiness, guilt, anger, confusion and sadness. These emotions materialized at different times and in different ways. I didn’t like it or want it, but there was no going around it. The only way to get through it is head on.

8) Don’t hide from the pain. If you do, it will fester and grow and consume you. It’s tempting to rationalize, if I don’t think about it, it’ll just go away. While I do believe being busy helps—it’s not an escape from grief. Some people use hobbies, work, relationships or even liquor, sex, drugs, in hopes it will take the pain away. If you are using anything to try to numb the pain, it will make things worse in the long run. Seek help if you’re dealing with the sorrow in unhealthy ways.

9) No one will respond perfectly to your grief. People, even people you love, will let you down. Possibly they are too full with their own grief. Friends you thought would be there won’t be there and people you hardly know will reach out. Be prepared to give others grace. Be prepared to work through hurt and forgiveness at others’ reactions.

10) God will be there for you. Prayer is the gateway of communication with Him. He understands your emotions better than anyone. Your prayers may not be answered the way you want them to be, but without a doubt, He is near to the brokenhearted.

11) You will ask “Why?” If you’re like me, you’ll ask it many times and you may never get an answer. What helps is asking, “How? How can I change and grow from this, how can I become better, how can I embrace others?”

12) Grief changes you. Life will not be normal and routines may need to be different. Try to keep as much structure as possible in your life and minimize the amount of change. Grieving takes most, if not all, of your strength. Do not worry if you don’t have as much energy as you did before your loss. Don’t feel guilty about doing less. Realize anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, places, objects and people may all trigger memories surrounding your loss. Be prepared for a gush of grief during these times. The process of grieving makes a person change who they are emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. It is okay to change. Embrace the change rather than fight it.

What things have you learned about grief that you wish you’d known before your loss?

Resources:

“What To Know About Grief” by Kelly Baltzell M.A. & Karin Baltzell Ph.D                                “15 Things I Wish I’d Known About Grief” by Teryn O’Brien

 

Share a Sweet Reward

BIAU Family Award

BIAU Family Award

Why is it so hard to accept a compliment or recognition? It always makes me feel uncomfortable and awkward. I never know how to respond, so I usually just say “thank you” and change the subject as quickly as possible. Then I hope the giving person realizes how much it means to me.

I recognize that no matter the accomplishment, I didn’t earn it on my own. Without God, family and friends, I am nothing.

Maybe, self-consciously I’m worried that if I take it in and enjoy it, like any sweet dessert, I may become over indulgent. Like when I take a bite of a brownie, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. The gratification is instant but the satisfaction doesn’t last. It was so good, I need another. Most desserts have the same effect on me.

I had a deliciously sweet experience last week at the Brain Injury Alliance of Utah Annual Family and Professional Conference. During lunch time, I received the Family Award. Mark Fox, a therapist who worked with my Mark twenty-two years ago, presented me the beautiful plaque. I was honored and so surprised.

When I look at the plaque, I think of all our family members and friends who have given much of their time to help and support us.  They also deserve this plaque. It bears my name, but I see theirs in it too.

Our thoughtful daughter, Katie, realized this as well. She threw a surprise dinner celebration for us and honored family members and volunteers who come and help Mark with exercises. Most of them were there. They are the wind beneath our wings.

photoTo all caregivers I personally know: I understand your unconditional love and the necessary attention to those in your care that seems to go unrecognized most days. I feel your exhaustion for the endless care, and worry. I know you sacrifice your time, putting their needs before your own. I share this plaque with you.

I can think of dozens I know who deserve this plaque. We give devotion and dedicated service, not for recognition but because we love unconditionally.  However, the recognition is sweet and gratifying, and the satisfaction will be lasting. I am honored and want to share this sweet award with you.