Giving Thanks in the Tough Times

March 24, 2010

If you’re like me, there are times in life when you wonder if you’re caught in a bad dream. You want to pull the covers over your head and sleep it off, hoping you’ll awake to a completely different reality.

I’ve had three such times—1) being diagnosed with cancer, 2) losing a job and 3) dealing with my mother’s unexpected death last month.

Journaling is a practice that helps me get through those rough, white-water times. As I write, I deliberately focus on positive thoughts, thinking of all the things I have to be thankful for in spite of my circumstances.

As I’ve tried to mend the hole torn in my heart with Mom’s passing, I’ve developed a lengthy list of things that I’m thankful for. This has already been an essential part of my grieving and healing process. Here’s a partial list of what I’ve come up with so far: Read the rest of this entry »


Journaling through the Tough Times

March 17, 2010

We all experience difficult times in life, and we each find different ways to help us get through those times. Meditation, prayer and physical exercise are common methods we use.

I have found the practice of journaling to be especially effective.

Journaling for Comfort

Last month when my mom died unexpectedly I received an e-mail from a friend and former co-worker. She also lost her mother unexpectedly within the past year, so she expressed her condolences and then passed along some practical wisdom, saying, “A dear friend told me the day after mom died to keep a diary of those first few days. You may think you’ll never want to remember them but there comes a day when you’ll look back on a particular kindness or a surprise visitor and smile.”

Though it’s been less than a month since Mom died, I’ve already filled more than 20 pages in my journal. I also kept a detailed timeline of everything that happened during the first week. I instinctively knew that the events transpiring during that surreal time would soon become a blur and my memory would inadequately recall everything. Read the rest of this entry »


A Tribute to Mom on Her Birthday

March 5, 2010

Mom looked healthy in this photo taken less than a week before she unexpectedly died. (Photo taken by my brother Gary)

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Today would have been Mom’s 81st birthday. Sadly, last week our family gathered to bury Mom who died suddenly from cardiac failure. At her funeral, I fought back tears to read a tribute I’d written in her honor. With only slight editing, here’s what I shared with family and friends who had gathered to honor the special lady we all loved.

__________________________

Thank you for being here. Your presence means a lot to the family, especially to Dad, Gary and me.

Earlier this week we received ongoing updates on who was planning to be here. We learned that Mom’s brothers, nephews, nieces and grandchildren would be traveling from California, Tennessee, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado.

As the list grew longer, I kept thinking, “This is great! Mom will be so happy to see everyone.”

Then I’d get choked up as my new reality quickly set in. This time we were not planning another family reunion. Nor a 50th anniversary celebration. Nor the wedding of one of Mom’s grandchildren.

Sadly, this is not one of those happy events. We have come here to mourn. We have suffered a big loss, and we are here to grieve.

But we have also gathered to celebrate the joy and the love and the happiness that Mom brought into each of our lives. Read the rest of this entry »


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