Most of All, Smile

The grief of losing a loved one is not something you “get over” in time. Grief is a personal journey and every person is different and deals with their emotions differently.

For me, the past few years have been filled with losing people dear to me. I remember my first really big loss. I was in my early 30’s when my grandmother went to her eternal home. She was always a big part of my life, and I lived with her for about five years from age four. Her death haunted me and I couldn’t sleep and soon began having stomach problems. When I went to see the doctor, I broke down in tears and let out all the grief I’d been holding inside. I still miss her. The memories don’t fade and that is a true blessing from God.

The three most difficult losses for me were the deaths of my mother, my son, and my husband. I still want to pick up the phone and call my mother and my son. And at night I reach across the bed to make sure my husband is sleeping all right and his oxygen tube is in place.

No matter how much time passes, your heart remembers. You can see the beloved faces, hear the voices, and best of all remember the good times. The sad times are hard to forget, but they do fade.

Without God, I wouldn’t be able to move on into the new “normal” life I’m living. Through prayer, I find comfort. I know He understands my pain.

Journaling is an important aspect of the grief journey. On those days when I feel grief overwhelming me, I can journal my feelings and it helps. Sometimes I write a letter to my loved one. Sometimes I write a letter to God. And sometimes I just write. I hope that by sharing these moments others might find comfort in knowing they aren’t alone. That grief is natural.

I’ve made it for a little over two years now on my own. Yes, things are different. I miss my husband so much for he was a big presence in this house. It’s all right to talk to your loved one, too. I have his picture on my computer screen and I see it every time I turn it on. And I smile and tell him how much I love him. It’s a comfort, too.

You’ll have to take steps to move past the worst of the grief, but it gets easier. Just don’t expect it to go away. Don’t let anyone tell you time will heal, or that it’s been long enough and you must stop grieving. Surround yourself with people who understand and love you. And most of all, smile. Listen to music. Read. Exercise. And remember.

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