On Finding Comfort

This week I am finding comfort in a variety of ways and that is helping very much.  I have been walking in the mornings, reading, eating more healthy meals, talking about Kirk and sharing memories with loved ones.

I have also smiled at some of our jokes and funny moments we had with him.  And, yet, there is still sadness and a huge hole where he should be.  I talk regularly about Kirk with our son and he enjoys talking about his dad.  We look at pictures and we remember.

I went to the library yesterday and checked out a few books on grief.  One of them is  “Comfort: A Journey Through Grief” by Ann Hood.  It is very well written and a lot of good information and is exactly what I needed this week. Her daughter died suddenly in 2002. Her daughter Grace was 5-years-old.

Ann Hood explains that grief is not linear and has no beginning, middle, and end. She gets it.  I never did until going through it.  I never understood the pain of a close loss until now and I am learning a lot.

“Grief is not linear. People kept telling me that once this happened or that passed, everything would be better. Some people gave me one year to grieve. ” Hood’s book states. “They saw grief as a straight line, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  But it is not linear.  It is disjointed.

“One day you are acting almost like a normal person. You maybe even manage to take a shower.  Your clothes match. You think the autumn leaves look pretty, or enjoy the sound of snow crunching under your feet,” she continues.

“Then a song, a glimpse of something, or maybe even nothing sends you back into the hole of grief. It is not one step forward, two steps back. It is a jumble.  It is hours that are all right, and weeks that aren’t. Or it is good days and bad days. Or it is the weight of sadness making you look different and nothing helps. Not haircuts or manicures, or a diet,” Hood states in her book.

I got tears in my eyes as I read this but I also was comforted that someone else has been exactly where I am.  Someone else lost a loved one who was dear to them and they survived.  What amazing comfort that we will also survive.

We have received so much support from our friends and our family.  We so appreciate that. That support is special, it is important, and it helps keep us going.  I have several friends and family who are also grieving.  We are in pain together and can appreciate where others are coming from.  And we can give comfort to each other.

Another comforting statement that I heard recently was said by Joe Biden.  He said that as you move through grief, eventually a smile will come to your face before a tear when you remember the loved one that you lost.  I am not there yet and often have both reactions.

Sadly he knows too much about grief — having lost his first wife and their daughter many years ago and his son Beau more recently.  Dealing with some of that is covered in his book, “Promise Me, Dad.”  Whether you agree with him or not, it is quite a read for someone who has also been there in grief and has found comfort.

Ian and I talked about this concept last night and he said he is having happy memories about his dad.  We both cheered and had huge smiles on our faces when we realized that Kirk will never again be sick or in pain.  What a comfort that was and is again today.

My comforts this week have been:

  • Spending time with family and friends for graduation celebrations and a birthday party
  • Helping Ian with an art project that is due this week
  • Singing a song at church without completely losing it
  • Listening to the birds in the morning during my walks
  • Enjoying the sunrises on the way to school in the morning
  • Hugs at night from Ian
  • Prayers before meals with loved ones
  • Talks and laughs over a delicious meal
  • Hugs and clumping with my family
  • Long chats and visits
  • The winding down of the school year
  • The anticipation of summer and our plans
  • My faith and prayers

We continue to have good days and bad days, hard hours and deep sadness.  But we are also having fun, are laughing, are cherishing our memories, and are thankful that we have each other as we heal.  My prayer is that you have loved ones to help you through grief and hard times.

May we find comfort in one another.  May we be there to help each other.  And, may we always, always, always love.

October Writings — Hope and Comfort

Hi and Happy October.  I don’t know about you but I love this month and all there is to celebrate.  I enjoy the changing color of the trees, the crisp air, birthdays, anniversaries, Halloween when we can dress us, and more to enjoy. This photo was taken a year or two during a lovely change in season.

Of course, it is still quite warm so the changes have not begun.  Hopefully that will be soon.  Today, I am going to write on two short topics for a month of October writings.  Yesterday’s topic was Hope and today’s is Comfort.  I will try to be more active in my posts this month.  These words are part of the five-minute writings that I sometimes do.

October 7 — Hope — I often write to people who I hope and pray that they get better from an illness, that their loved ones will be healed, I hope a book I am reading has a fascinating story and a great ending, or that whatever the problem is will be resolved.

I also hope for my son to do well on a test or with his homework, for my husband to have a safe business trip, for there to be peace on earth, for my loved ones to stay healthy, for safe travels on the interstates or on flights, for someone with cancer to be healed, and for so much more.

Hope is something that I want to cling to in times of trouble and realize that it is a good thing to keep in mind.  Hope is the friend of an optimist. Hope can help you continue when things seem to be going horribly wrong. Hope is also the name of a friend of mind.  She is great and such fun.

October 8 — Comfort — I love to be comfortable.  How about you?  So, I don’t wear high heels.  Instead I am often in flip-flops or flat and comfy shoes.  I also dress now in mainly shorts, casual pants, t-shirts, and sometimes skirts with a nice blouse.  Nothing like I used to when I was working full-time.  And, when walking, wear sneakers.

I used to be sure to have full makeup and my hair just so when I left the house.  I have noticed, however, that I am now okay without much if any makeup. This is primarily on days when I don’t have much planned.  Being older has helped me to be comfortable in my own skin.  Granted, I have lots to work on, but I am trying to appreciate where I am.

Comfort is found in my family, our home, our routine, and our community.  I love to sit on our couch and read, watch a favorite movie, chat with friends and family, and take a nap. That is one of my favorite places to rest and relax and be comfortable.  What is your favorite place?

When I am upset about something, I take comfort in a kind word, a hug, a warm gesture or note, or a special song.  It all depends on the problem on what can work.  Sometimes, time and quiet are the best things to find the comfort that we need.  And, our loved ones can also help and make things better for us.

Merriam-Webster defines Hope as “to cherish a desire with anticipation” and “to expect with confidence.”  The dictionary defines Comfort as “to give strength and hope to” and “to ease the grief or trouble of.”

I wonder how I will help others continue to have hope and provide comfort as needed? I don’t yet know but will do my best.

And, I will try to write more regularly than I have been.  I have missed it but have been so very busy.  Hopefully things will slow down and allow for this time.  Have a great day!

 

 

To Dancing In The Rain

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Monday.  I came across a great photo this morning on Facebook.  It had a quote that said, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

This really spoke to me today.  Isn’t that so true?  Life sometimes is really hard.  It is painful and sad, and it can be hard to get out of bed in the morning.  But most of the time, we still have to figure out a way to get out of bed and start our day.

Sometimes at least for me, it is good to have some time to have a good cry, grieve and be sad.  It helps to feel what I need to feel for a little while, and I can then try to see the good that is there along with the bad.

I am not saying it is easy and often the hurt and pain don’t just fade away.  It takes time and often lots of it.  Each day, I hope and pray to wake up and find things easier to deal with.  Some days are good and some are bad.

Over the weekend, my parents went to funerals or receiving friends for two men who we all have known for years.  One was a co-worker of my dad and also of mine.  He was 68 years old.  The other was a friend from church.  He lived to be 90 years old and had an amazing and long life.

Both of these men meant a lot to their friends and families and had great lives.  They will be missed.  My prayer is that their families and friends can remember all of the wonderful times that they enjoyed and celebrate their lives.

Losing people is always hard but celebrating them and remembering all that they meant to us can help with that hurt.  The saying of one day at a time truly applies in the case of losing our loved ones.

Struggles in life can also wear us down.  We watched the 10 year anniversary show on Hurricane Katrina last night.  It was amazing to see all of the devastation again and the pain and suffering that so many people in numerous states dealt with.

Yet, after time and effort, communities have been rebuilt, homes have been rebuilt, and families have rebuilt.  These stories were inspirational and uplifting.  Despite all of the heartache, people helped one another and got back on their feet again.  That is something to celebrate!

May we always remember to be kind to one another and helpful.  May we bear one another’s burdens.  May we remember to let our loved ones know how much we do love them.  May we remember to dance in the rain.  And may we remember to always have hope.

A closing prayer: “Dear Lord as we deal with struggles, please help us to remember that you are always there for comfort and strength.  May we also lean on our loved ones and help each other through the challenges of life.  And, may we remember that better days are ahead.  Amen.”

Prayers, Tears, and Comfort

graceThis morning as I logged into Facebook, I read several things which game me pause — the death of a young child, the pending death of a parent, surgery of a friend, sickness of friends, cancer treatments of family and friends, and other losses.

Tears came to my eyes and I said this prayer, “Lord, please give comfort to this family as only you can, please stretch out your healing hand to those who are sick, help us be a comfort to one another and help as needed, and please watch over us. Amen.”

The child, Patrick, passed away on Saturday.  He wasn’t quite a year old and had been sick with congenital heart disease.  His mother has been writing a blog about his illness, which is very touching.  I didn’t know them very well but this boy’s aunt is a friend of mine from high school.  I also knew her brother, Patrick’s dad.

Another friend has been called in by hospice for her father.  He has been ill and now the family is gathering with him.  It will be time for them to say goodbye.  So hard to lose a parent, no matter how old we are.

Also a dear friend is having another surgery this morning.  She has already had several and hopes this will be the last one and that comfort will be coming soon.  Other friends are sick and having issues, and some are in the midst of chemo treatments.

prayingSo much loss, so much heartache, so many tears, and so much pain.  Yet there is hope and comfort.  Comfort in hugs, comfort in knowing our loved ones will see us through the pain, comfort in prayers, comfort in our faith, comfort in our memories, and comfort in time.

There is an expression that time heals all wounds.  I am not sure if it heals them or if we figure out a way to deal with them as time goes on. Perhaps it is a combination of both.

Here are a few verses of scripture that are especially poignant this morning:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:4 — a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
  • Psalm 30:5 — Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
  • Matthew 5:4 — Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • Philippians 4:7 — And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Psalm 23:4 — Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

May God be with you at the beginning of this new week.  If you are in pain or are suffering loss, may you find comfort.

Comfort is the Word for May 10

5minutefridayComfort — what a great word.

Today’s topic for 5 Minute Friday is Comfort.  Here the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…

Now GO …

My first thought is a quote that a friend of mine says, “I was built for comfort not for speed.”  Isn’t that a great way to explain being a bit overweight?  I thought it was priceless.

Next I started thinking of things that bring comfort to me.  Primarily for me, it is being at my home with my family and friends.

This year I have been away from home quite a bit.  At times that gets very difficult since we are staying at someone else’s house.

As I write this, I am home and it is wonderful!  Pure comfort and bliss, to be sure.

You don’t realize how precious your own place is until you are away from it for a long time.  My home is like a cocoon and I always feel glad to be back.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like spending time at someone else’s home.  But, there is a lot more freedom at your own place.

My home is in the town that I grew up in and that is special.  My neighborhood is full of people who know one another and care to see you.

I feel very blessed to live where I do!!  My husband and son also love where we are.  That is pretty great if you ask me.

Comfort means many things at different times in our lives and this is what it means to me on this particular day!

I wonder what other ways I can be comforted or comfortable?  I know there are many more than I can imagine.  Hope you have a comfortable day!!!

Now STOP!  Times up.

Read more thoughts on “Comfort” at 5 Minute Friday’s link today.

Amazing Grace

graceIn a time of loss or struggle, the words of the wonderful hymn Amazing Grace can truly be a source of comfort.

We are so blessed to have God’s grace as this song by John Newton, so clearly explains.

  • Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
  • That saved a wrench like me.
  • I once was lost but now am found,
  • Was blind, but now I see.
  • T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
  • And Grace, my fears relieved.
  • How precious did that Grace appear
  • The hour I first believed.
  • Through many dangers, toils, and snares
  • I have already come;
  • ‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
  • And Grace will lead me home.
  • The Lord has promised good to me.
  • His word my hope secures.
  • He will my shield and portion be,
  • As long as life endures.
  • Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
  • And mortal life shall cease.
  • I shall possess within the veil,
  • A life of joy and peace.
  • When we’ve been there ten thousand years
  • Bright shining like the sun.
  • We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
  • Than when we’ve first begun.

Amen and Amen!  Wow, what an amazing comfort!  I so needed these words this week!!

Lord, may these words and your Grace be a source of love and comfort for those suffering and dealing with loss today!  Amen.