Thursday, November 3, 2011

Don't Rush the Process: Grieving & Healing are One

The morning of October 22, 2011 my phone began to vibrate. Before I looked, I knew. (I'd stayed up until 3am, working on a paper and was restless and emotional all night.) My Grandmother's name came up on my caller i.d., and my heart sank. I knew before I answered what she would say to me. I answered, and a heavy gasping cry came through the line saying, "Momma's gone." My Great-Grandmother had passed. I sank into my pillows and instantly began to sob. We had known for a few weeks that she was transitioning to leave this world, but that didn't make that moment any less painful.

94 years...that is a long time.Yes, it was a long and inspiring life she lived, but it hurts to lose her still. In her 94 years, this amazing woman gave birth to and raised 6 children.  The family grew to what now includes 37 grand children, 58 great-grandchildren (of which I am the oldest), and 27 great-great grandchildren. Her life was a living testimony of selfless giving, gentle kindness, grace, class and true Christian-hood. As big as our family is, she had a way of making you feel that you were special and the only one when she spoke with you (still you knew, that she loved EVERYONE).

I recall my little brother and I spending many a day with my Great-Grandmother and Great-Grandfather. I thank my Grandmother and Mom for this. As I grew older, I still enjoyed our visits. When I moved away, the visits were more stretched out, but I cherished our talks over the phone.

 At first, I felt guilty about my sadness. I kept telling myself that I had no right to be so distraught. But, as the days pass, I realize I have every right to my feelings and that I need to allow myself to experience them. It's the process of grieving, and it is exactly that; a process, not an event.When you lose a loved one, someone close to your heart, it hurts deeply. It takes time to heal and to fully realize and accept the loss of that loved one. There is not specific time frame for this, and it can be hard for others to understand and even respect. The universe remains, the earth continues to spin on its axis, the world moves forward and you too, must keep moving. But, it is not as simple as it seems for some. But, you must do it still.

When you are grieving, you experience a range of emotions. Sadness, regret, fear, anger, a feeling of emptiness. I have an empty feeling inside. I haven't felt like talking to anyone, or seeing anyone, and even my fitness regime has been painful to get through. I am not crying as much as I had been, but I have my moments.

I may be rambling at this point, but I want you to know that you must allow yourself to grieve. Do not worry about what others think. You must keep moving, but you must also grieve so that you can move forward and live a fruitful life. Remember, this is a process, not an event. There is no "sure fire" way to "overcome" the pain, but there are many resources that can help you along the way. I came across this on line and thought I would share it with you.

This resource talks about the seven stages of grief; pain, guilt, transition and moving forward.

This resources breaks down five steps to managing grief.

There are many resources available on line, but in my opinion, the best thing is time, prayer and cherishing the memories in a way that gives you the strength and comfort to keep living through each day. It is also important to surround yourself with love. You may not want to be bothered much, and you will need some time alone, but reach out to loved ones and support one another as well. Your loved one would not want you to live in sadness or to put your life on pause. My Great-Grandmother would not want that for me. I am going through the process, and with time and prayer, my heart will be strong again. I know the pain I feel is probably a drop in the bucket compared to that of her children (my Grandmother and her siblings). I will do my best to live a life that honors her incredible legacy.

This past week, I traveled back to my hometown and had the opportunity to spend time with much of my family. It was bittersweet. Some of them I had not seen in years. In there faces, I saw my Great-Grandmother. It was an emotional time and for the first time, she was not there with us...but her spirit was. 

I am so grateful for the time I had with my Great-Grandmother and I will forever cherish each memory, moment, letter, book and trinket ever shared between us.  I was so blessed to have as many conversations with my Great-Grandmother as I did about her life, our family history. She imparted so many lessons and led by example. I will continue working on our family history and sharing with each generation, current and future,so that all will know the roots of who we are. Life is so precious and short, death reminds us of this, cloaking our hearts with anguish, seeping into our thoughts cultivating despair. Yet, even from this, we can harness hope. We know that love is endless, even in death. My Great-Grandmother lives still. Her spirit is alive. She lives through her stories, through her example, through her selfless deeds, through her children and the generations thereof.

To you out there grieving, God be with you. Keep moving, keep living......give yourself time to grieve and heal. Be grateful for the current soundness of you mind that allows you to keep the memories reeling (though the vividness may one day fade). Cherish your life, your elders, your family. Your mental state is critical to your total health. Take care of yourself. 

~Rest in Peace Great O~

Make IT Work


  1. This made me cry because my Mother passed away 6 months ago and I miss her so much !

  2. Saw this the other day...I still think its nice.

  3. Just a struggling prayer for you is that memories of your Mother provide you with hope,peace and comfort. Cherish that love always, it is undying. I can only imagine how much you miss her. Lynn, thank you for your feedback. I appreciate both of your support.

    From pain, comes growth.