Written by Deborah Dee Brayton
It Takes Courage
Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4 (NIV)
One of the highest stress producers in life is the loss of a loved one, the loss of a parent. It usually takes some time after the death of a loved one to face the pain, anger, guilt, emptiness and all the other emotions that get jumbled up inside of you. It takes time to say good bye, to restore yourself to some sense of normalcy minus that loved one.
Grieving can be very stressful, mentally and physically. It is so easy to neglect yourself when you are grieving. How easy it is to isolate yourself from others, to indulge in your favorite comfort foods. There is only so much grieving you can do alone and then you need to have your stories heard, to have others who might be grieving share that journey with you.
It takes courage to grieve. It takes courage to reach out beyond the loneliness, to share joy, memories and sorrows. It takes courage to find a safe place where judgment can be left at the door. You need to find the courage to face the loss and to move on in your own unique way, to live again, to love, to hope, and to risk change. It takes courage to allow the healing to take place.
What worked for me after the death of mother was to get right back into work and life. To get back involved in my various Church activities. This might not be good for everyone. I felt I needed to be strong and in control. A support system is vital. Friends and family may not have experienced your loss, but they will support and love you unconditionally.
Pain can grab you and hold on so tight you feel like you are being crushed. Letting go of the pain is a scary thought. I was afraid that if I let go of the pain and agony of my mother's death, that it would seem like I did not love her very much. The memories have brought me joy and sorrow. The memories have kept my mother alive in me. By letting go of the pain, I have been able to let in the joy of those beautiful memories I have.
Now I am not saying it is easy. Holidays and special days are more difficult than the regular days. It has been 16 months since my mother's death. I try to go on and do all that my mother would have wanted for me. I do not feel that grief is finite. The good news is that it does get less intense with time, allowing me to grow and looking forward to a new tomorrow.
The Lord is My Shepherd
September 23, 2008 4:15am forever changed my life. It was on that day and time that my beloved mother passed away peacefully with me at her bedside. For the last 12 years I cared for my mother at home after the death of my father; never fully grieving his death.
My mother was 92 years old when she passed away. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease prior to the death of my father. I was an only child, one of the youngest of my cousins.
Although death is definite for all that lives, the time of death can come suddenly from trauma or slowly after a long illness. My mother was hospitalized at the hospital where I work as a social worker. The doctors had informed me 12 hours earlier that my mother was dying. I did not take the news very well. But, I was surrounded by co-workers who tried to comfort me and asked if there was anyone I wanted them to call. My mind went blank. Finally, I was able to call my church office and a very dear friend.
Within a few hours my pastor arrived and also several friends. They sat with me at my mother’s bedside. After they left, I sat quietly with my mother, holding her hand and praying. Periodically the nurses would quietly enter my mother’s room to check her vitals, and ask if there was any thing they could do for me.
When my mother made her transition, it seemed like everything had come to a standstill. There was no noise from the nurses’ station. My mother’s roommate had fallen asleep and a calmness came over me. Several of the nurses entered the room and again checked her vitals. They looked at me and began to cry. I hugged them and comforted them, letting them know my mother was at peace, and I was at peace too. The words in Psalm 23 came to me: “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
After the doctor pronounced my mother’s death, I sat quietly with her. She looked so at peace, angelic, with only the small bedside light glowing on her face. I remember saying, “Mommy your work here on earth is done. You have no regrets. God has called you home to be with him and Daddy.” I tried to visualize my mother in God’s loving arms. In the hours and days that followed I meditated on that peaceful experience. I know that because of all my mother’s positive, virtuous actions, and her dedication to God, she is happy and at peace in her heavenly home.