Category Archives: Uncategorized

Regret: “If Only” “What If”

guiltWhen a loved one dies it is not unusual for some regret and guilt to walk with you in your  grief journey. As a survivor you may tend to blame yourself for something you think you did or did not do that may have caused the death. For you to help yourself accept the death sometimes it is necessary to replay the time, events, and the circumstances leading up to the death in order to be able to move from denial to acceptance. During that time of replay it is possible for you to find something that you feel guilty about or think if I can change what I did maybe I can change the results and bring my loved one back.

Guilt is a strong emotion because you are in an extremely vulnerable state. Though guilt, regret and self-blame are natural feelings and come with your grief they are most times not logical...YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR THE DEATH OF YOUR LOVED ONE.
Guilt can be described in 5 different areas of our life:
#1. SURVIVOR GUILT- BEING ALIVE WHEN SOMEONE YOU LOVE HAS DIED. You may find yourself asking…”how could he/she die and I still be alive…why them and not me? Did I cause this death?
#2. RELIEF GUILT- This is when you feel guilty for being relieved when someone loved has died. This often occurs when a person has been sick along time…you may not miss the suffering and daily care giving. Also you recognize you will not miss certain aspects of that person (physical, verbal or alcohol abuse, etc.)
#3. LONG STANDING PERSONALITY FACTORS- some people have felt guilty all their lives for one reason or another, this is part of their personality.
#4. JOY-GUILT- experiencing any kind of joy, pleasure or just being relaxed and not thinking of your loved one can cause you to feel guilty that you are not grieving at that moment. As you move through your grief journey you will have more moments of this which means you are healing, but will never forget that person.
#5. MAGICAL THINKING GUILT- this means thinking that something you said or did somehow caused the death of you loved one…an argument, bad feelings, something said in the heat of the moment. REMEMBER YOU DID NOT CAUSE THE DEATH.
With guilt, “the gift that keeps on giving”, there are many ways to work through this emotion:
Look for a good support person to talk to. Someone who is compassionate, patient,  non-judgmental, and a good listener.
Don’t allow others to explain your feelings away. While they might mean well this does not allow you to “talk out” what you think and feel.
Allow yourself some “review time” and continue to remind yourself that there are some things in life you cannot change.
Do not repress or ignore feelings of guilt. Physical and other emotional problems could result.
Forgive yourself, this is more important than forgiving anyone else because you have to live with yourself.
Get guilt out of you system by writing about it. This will also help you take a more objective view of it. Make a list of “those things I think I DIDN’T DO” and another list of “those things I DID DO”. The “did do” list will always be longer!
Self-forgiveness, even though there is nothing to forgive responds well when feelings are shared. A grief support group can help with the feeling that you are not alone. Also if feelings of guilt or regret are complicating you healing, don’t be ashamed to find a trained grief counselor to help you.
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My First Christmas in Heaven

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny lights, like Heaven’s stars reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular; please wipe away the tear;
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
But the sound of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir up here
I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring
For it’s beyond description to hear the angles sing.
I know how much you miss me; I see the pain inside your heart
But I am not so far away, we really are not apart
So be happy for me, dear ones, you know I hold you dear.
And be glad I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I send you each a special gift from heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important is the stories Jesus told.
Please love and keep each other as my Father said to do, for I can’t count the Blessings or love He has for each of you.
So have a merry Christmas and wipe away that tear, remember I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

 

For That I Am Thankful

By Darcie D. Sims

It doesn’t seem to get any better, but it doesn’t get any worse either
For that I am thankful
There are no more pictures to be taken, but there are memories to be cherished
For that I am thankful
There is a missing chair at the table, but the circle of family gathers close.
For that I am thankful
The turkey is smaller, but there is still stuffing.
For that, I am thankful.
The days are shorter, but the nights are softer.
For that, I am thankful.
The pain is still there, but it lasts only moments,
For that, I am thankful.
The calendar still turns, the holidays still appear and they still cost too much
And I am still here
For that I am thankful
The room is still empty, the soul still aches, but the heart remembers.
For that I am thankful.
The guests still come, the dishes pile up, but the dishwasher works.
For that I am thankful.
The name is still missing, the words still unspoken, but the silence is shared.
For that I am thankful.
The snow still falls, the sled still waits, and the spirit still wants to.
For that I am thankful.
The stillness remains, but the sadness is smaller.
For that I am thankful.
The moment is gone, but the love is forever.
For that I am blessed.
For that I am grateful….
Love was once (and still is) a part of my being…
For that I am living.
I am living…
For that I am thankful.
May your holidays be filled with reasons to be thankful. Having loved
And having been loved is perhaps the most wondrous reason of all.

Misconceptions of Grief

Misconception #1
Grief and Mourning are the same thing.

Grief is the internal container. It holds all of your thought, feelings inside yourself.
Mourning is when you take the grief you have inside and express it outside of yourself. Another way of defining it is “Grief Gone Public”
Misconception #2
Grief and mourning progress in predictable, orderly stages.

You may find yourself trying to self prescribe your grief experience and force yourself to be in a “stage”. Sometimes your emotions may follow each other within a short period of time; or at other times two or more emotions may be present simultaneously. Remember -do not try to determine where “you should” be. Just allow yourself to be naturally where you are in the process. Everyone mourns in different ways.
Misconception #3
You should move away from grief not toward it
Our Society often encourages prematurely moving away from grief instead of toward it. Do not buy into statements such as “You should move on”, or “they would want you to go on with your life”, or “get back to normal”, or “You should be over it by now”. Masking or moving away from your grief creates anxiety, confusion and depression. You must continually remind yourself that leaning toward, not away from the pain will facilitate eventual healing.  
Misconception #4
Tears of Grief are only a sign of weakness
.
Tears of grief are often associated with personal inadequacy and weakness. The worst thing you can do, however, is to allow this judgment to prevent you from crying. Don’t buy into the advice you might receive such as “Tears won’t bring him/her back” or “he or she wouldn’t want you to cry”. Crying is nature’s way of releasing internal tension in your body and allows you to communicate a need to be comforted.
Misconception #5
After someone dies, the goal should be to “get over” your grief as soon as possible
.

You will never “get over” your grief, but you will learn to live with it. The goal is to become “
RECONCILED OR TO REACH RECONCILATION”; which means “learning to live without the physical presence of that person but with the memories and the loved you shared as you move into your new life”.
                       Written by Alan Wolfelt from the book: Understanding Your Grief

A Special Message from Your Loved One

To my dearest family, some things I’d like to say…but first of all, to let you know that I arrived okay. I’m writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above, here, there’s no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I’m out of sight. Remember that I’m with you every morning, noon and night. That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through, God picked me up and hugged me and He said, “I welcome you.”

It’s good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone. As for your dearest family, they’ll be here later on. I need you here badly; you’re part of my plan. There’s so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.”

God gave me a list of things that he wished for me to do. And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you. And when you lie in bed at night, the day’s chores put to flight. God and I are closest to you…in the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years, because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears. But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain. Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned. But if I were to tell you, you wouldn’t understand. But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o’er, I’m closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb; but together we can do it by taking one day at a time. It was always my philosophy and I’d like it for you too…that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who’s in sorrow and pain, then you can say to God at night…”My day was not in vain.” And now I am contented…that my life has been worthwhile, knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low, just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go. When you’re walking down the street, and you’ve got me on your mind; I’m walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it’s time for you to go…from that body to be free, remember you’re not going…you’re coming here to me.

Fathers

Fathers’ young, father old, remembering good times are our gold.

Value earned through guidance given, helping us go forth in living.

Each father adding to our trove a treasure chest of love untold.

Remembering father in our lives, taking time to realize

Fatherly love brings wealth to living; remembering this we go forth in giving.

Fathers young, fathers old, we remember you all as life unfolds.

Honoring

Herbert Strohman, my Dad

Alan McLeod, my husband and father to my children