grief and bereavement
Fellow blogger, Kathy, has been struggling with the challenge of living her life without her mom who died from pancreatic cancer several years ago. In the About section of her Blog, Kathy says: “On 12/4/2007 my dad said four words that would forever change my life. ‘Mom has pancreatic cancer.’ I lost my mom to this dreaded disease 348 days later.”
Learning how to live in the present while still mourning a death can be a very difficult matter. Oftentimes we have the need to keep a person’s memory alive by reliving the journey that lead up to the death; ruminating over the whirlwind of activity after the death; and getting stuck right there – either not willing to go beyond that, or simply not having the ability to do so.
The following are very valuable statements: “You’ll get over the sadness eventually. It’ll eventually hurt less. But you have to get beyond where you are, because that’s what your mother would have wanted.”
Those are very true and worthwhile words, but if we’re not ready to hear them, they provide little benefit – at least initially. Am I faulting the person making those statements when he or she did? Absolutely not. What I am saying, however, is that when we’re ready to truly hear those words, we will. We’ll then be able to believe those words, and we’ll be able to practice those words. It’s like having one of those moments that Oprah Winfrey calls, “An aha! moment.” That’s what appears to have happened to Kathy.
Has this ever happened to you? An acquaintance pours her heart out to you; asks for encouragement, advice, etc. and you provide compassion, suggestions, beautiful nuggets of advice, etc., and weeks, or months go by, wherein the acquaintance appears to be stuck in their dilemma, evidently ignoring your well-meaning words, and then – out of the blue – your friend calls you…(you fill in the blanks as to the situation – in this example, the person in need had been having relationship struggles)
Irene, you’ll never believe what just happened! You know I’ve been in a funk because of my relationship challenges, right? Just the other day I poured my heart out to someone on the bus and she suggested I do the following…
It turns out that this bus stranger told her exactly what you told her two months ago. Are you offended? Of course you are – it’s happened to me and I’ve wanted to say, “Well duh – where have I heard that advice before?” The key isn’t whose advice finally got through to her; the key is that the good advice finally got through to her. Time for me to swallow my pride, tamp down my ego, and celebrate this friend’s good news.
Kathy – I celebrate with you that the right words came at the right time for you, and you are now able to take steps towards living in the present. You’re learning how to celebrate your mother while still missing her greatly. Three cheers for Denise for saying what she did when she did, and three cheers for you for having the ears, and a good and ready heart, to hear it.