Tag Archives: mourning

Another sad good-bye

It has been a stressful, sad time of late. 

My dearly loved father-in-law passed peacefully from this life in the wee hours of June 10 with many of us, his family, near. It was a special, quiet, reverent time, although very difficult until his pain could be brought to a manageable level again. Breakthrough cancer pain is horrible. The minister came to pray with him and us, which brought assurance to his soul, and a last broad smile to his face.

Preparations have been completed … the service and reception scheduled for Sunday afternoon, June 14.

I will miss my father-in-law tremendously. He was a constant in my life for 39 years, and has been a wonderful role model for my husband and children. (My beloved looks so much like his dad and is very similar to him – and that’s a good thing.)

Now you know why I have not posted much lately. My energy and focus have been mostly elsewhere. I will get back to some sort of posting schedule as soon as I can.

Thank you for understanding.

Please check out the following information. We had known about asbestosis but had never heard of mesothelioma until my dad-in-law’s diagnosis. It is, and will be, affecting far more people than even, as yet, realize it exists – until it surfaces.

http://www.medicinenet.com/mesothelioma/article.htm

http://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

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The last one standing

It happened. The sad news we knew was going to come too soon was delivered. My aunt – Dad’s youngest sibling – passed away very early Tuesday morning.

Alzheimer’s disease.

This leaves Dad the last one standing. All his three brothers and his three sisters have passed from this life. 

The memorial service was held Saturday morning. Uncharacteristically, Dad was very quiet during our hour-long drive to get there. He was a little jittery at the service but held his composure. It was a lovely service. The reverend who conducted the service shared Scripture in a way I had never heard it presented at such a service – or maybe ever before. He brought it alive and spoke it in a way that should make its meaning very clear to most there; it was wonderful. What was shared about my aunt was very fitting and even funny. Everyone loved my aunt who could brighten any gathering, the mischievous one who always made people laugh, the gentle one with the positive outlook and sweet spirit.

At the reception afterward I knew Dad didn’t immediately know most people who came over to talk with him, and most didn’t realize they should introduce themselves to him to give him a chance to remember. I tried to clue them in, but looking at Dad you wouldn’t know there is anything wrong – in his late 80’s he looks years younger and is very spry for his age – so unless you know about the dementia you just … wouldn’t know at first. And he covers it well, with grace, and with humour.

We all made it through that morning quite well, despite our loss. It is always wonderful seeing family members we don’t see much, but is your family anything like ours? It’s usually at funerals that we see each other again. Over forty years ago my parents, sister, and I moved to this county (notice I said county, not country), which means we live farther from most of our relatives on Dad’s side. We used to have a family gathering every Canada Day, but that hasn’t happened for many years. On Saturday my sister suggested to some of our cousins that we have a ‘cousins day’, which she wants to organize for down our way one day this summer. It seems to be a favourable idea, even though they would have the longer distance to travel for the get-together, but if they’re willing it could be fun.

Out of sorrow will come something positive. My aunt would like that.

Do you have family gatherings or reunions? How do you handle distance from family?

 Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

Book Review: On Our Own: Widowhood for Smarties – by Thelma Zirkelbach, Barbara B. Rollins, Becky Haigler, Robyn Conley

On Our Own, Widowhood for SmartiesBook: On Our Own: Widowhood for Smarties
Author: 67 different contributors
Publisher: Silver Boomer Books
Date: August 31, 2012
Genre: non-fiction anthology
Pages: 216
Price: $14.00
My rating: a bittersweet collection well worth the read
 

I was asked to read and review this book some time ago, and I’m glad I was given the opportunity. It was compiled by Thelma Zirkelbach, Barbara B. Rollins, Becky Haigler, and Robyn Conley.

On Our Own: Widowhood for Smarties consists of almost one hundred stories, poems, and essays from sixty-seven different widows and widowers who are working through the grief of the loss of their life partner. It is a journey through the grieving process someone in that situation will understand, while not being too far removed from the appreciation of others not yet there.

Some entries will put a tear in your eye, others a smile on your face, and a few may cause you to chuckle.

I like what it says on the back cover, so will include it here:

Widowhood…a status with some deference but a role few seek. A new beginning usually greeted with dread rather than anticipation. The writers of this collection express the range of emotions at the loss of a spouse but the overwhelming message is affirmation of the strength they find to create new lives after deep loss. Widows and widowers will read these stories and poems with knowing nods, sighs and smiles. Other readers will find insight into a common human condition and perhaps courage to face their own unsought new beginnings. As the subtitle suggests, this is widowhood for smarties, for those who acknowledge the pain of loss but who are learning to live in spite of it, even to build on it.

It’s obvious there was much thought put into the creation of this book. Along the bottom of every page there is a continuous appropriate offering of quotes, adding to and complimenting the main content.

Examples:

  • Someone who thinks death is the scariest thing doesn’t know a thing about life.” – Sue Monk Kidd
  • “I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” – Woody Allen
  • “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” – from a headstone in Ireland
  • “Grief can’t be shared. Everyone carries it alone. His own burden in his own way.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.” – Pierre Auguste Renoir

This anthology gives a well-rounded taste of the experience of widowhood, the deep profound loss, the pain and grief, but it also is encouraging and hopeful. On Our Own: Widowhood for Smarties is not only for the grieving of the loss of a relationship, it is a glimpse into the experience and definitely a good read for anyone.

You can find On Our Own: Widowhood for Smarties on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: How My Savior Leads Me – by Terri M. Stellrecht

Book: How My Savior Leads Me
Author: Terri M. Stellrecht
Publisher: WestBow Press – a division of Thomas Nelson; another publisher for upcoming revised edition
Date: October 21, 2011
Genre: Inspirational non-fiction
Pages: 192
Price: $13.95, paperback; less on Kindle
My rating: hard story to read, yet a sincere sharing of pain and hope.
 
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

How My Savior Leads Me is the true story of a family’s loss, the sudden and unexpected death of one of its children in February 2011. The author writes from a place of pain, all the while trying to trust God in her grief.

Trent Stellrecht is a twelve-year-old boy who loves life as a young boy does, being  adventurous, fun-loving, and outgoing. We are not told what exactly happened that tragic day, except that he died in a skiing accident while on a day trip with the youth group.

Terri Stellrecht, Trent’s mother, tells about the shock, the grief, the steps the family went through in preparing to let him go. She tells about how the family ministered to the many who came to express their sympathy and own personal loss. She shares Scripture and asks the challenging question, “If it had been you, do you know where you would be now?”

But Terri is a woman who is still working through her own mourning, and has yet to find that place where life is still good. Having experienced loss in my own life, I know how hard it is to keep on when it seems the world should stop and take notice .. but it doesn’t. My other children needed me, perhaps even more, and I had to be there for them because life continued on. In How My Savior Leads Me, Terri Stellrecht shares while still in that place, so it is a read like no other you will come across.

While I do not agree with all of the author’s theology, the age-old question people come up against has been raised and she has found some answers that work for her. As I read this book, it seemed the writing and sharing of her son’s death is serving as a way to work through a mother’s grief, that the shock has not completely left, and there is much healing yet to come.

Terri Stellrecht uses her own photography throughout the book as she tells the story of Trent’s life. Also, if you are interested in listening to an interview with her please click on this link: radio interview  Once there click on blogtalkradio on the right of that page.

NOTE: For those of you who would like to read her book, How My Savior Leads Me, Terri Stellrecht has generously offered an extra copy for me to give away to one of my readers.  If you want a chance to win this copy, please leave a comment and answer one of the following tough questions: ‘In your life tragedies, to whom do you turn?’ OR ‘If you were to die tonight, do you know where you will be?’

A winner will be selected in a week, the evening of June 12.

You can find How My Savior Leads Me listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

When Sorrow Weighs You Down (warning: deals with death)

Warning: this is a sad post and deals with death. It is not the post I had in mind for today.

Please .. no more bad, sad news. Enough.

It seems every time someone calls with news this year it is sad.

Actually it started in November of last year when a wonderful friend, Linda, passed away quietly in her sleep. She was in a nursing home for the care needed because of her illnesses. She was only 60.

On the very first day of January this year, Cynthia, an elderly friend, passed away. She had Alzheimer’s, was in hospital after suffering a broken hip, and did not recover. Added to her husband’s pain, near the end of that month, their son James contracted Meningitis. All efforts failed to save him and he passed away in hospital.

News of two other deaths came this week. The husband of an acquaintance was found, having died suddenly, the cause yet to be determined. Then on February 1, the best friend of the boyfriend of one of my daughters came home and found his young wife had passed away unexpectedly due to a medical problem. He is left to raise their two small children.

All of those are so heart-wrenching, but what has personally hit me the hardest is the news I received this morning. Ruby, a long-time friend and my husband’s cousin, passed away this morning. She was a cancer survivor but the treatments seven years ago seriously damaged her heart so when more cancer was discovered in December there was nothing that could safely be done for her this time. She chose to not try it. Hardly out of her fifties, her spirit departed this life and her loved ones a few hours ago.

My heart is heavy. I have cried many tears, grief sweeps over me in waves. But even though I sorrow it is not without hope. I am reminded of the Scripture verse 1 Thessalonians 4:13 that says in part, “that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” I know for a fact that three I mentioned above knew the Lord Jesus, the others I cannot say for sure. But families and friends can find their comfort in the Lord, and will carry on – even with heavy hearts.

If you are a Believer I know your prayers would be appreciated for the spouses, families, and friends of the ones I mentioned – for comfort and strength. It’s a rough beginning to this year and a long road ahead.

If you yourself are facing difficulties .. be encouraged. There is One who knows and is ever-present and waiting to walk through them with you.

Life changes, brings circumstances that sometimes we wish we never had to face, but life still goes on. It is our choice what to do with the short time we have.

On the flip side there are exciting surprises and situations that come into our life path, things that make us dance or sing or jump up and down. And, I have found, that even when death comes .. for the one who has hope there is reason to rejoice.

Do you have any experiences that you would like to tell us of God’s comfort?

If you know of any books for children on this topic of death, mourning, grief, please let me know by leaving a comment. Thank you.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂