Continuing my blog series through the book “Grieving Forward – Embracing Life Beyond Loss” by Susan Duke.
Chapter 8 – Memories
Initially when I first read this chapter I wasn’t sure just how to break it down into a process I could agree with. For me in the early weeks and months after my daughter’s death – it was the memories that made me cry, wail and just plain fall to the floor in agony – my heart filled with such gut-wrenching grief.
It has been a process over the past four years to come to a place where memories are a source of comfort most of the time. I can now watch video of Brittany and not look away and sob uncontrollably. Interestingly enough in the early days I could watch the videos feeling somewhat numb – tears didn’t fall – laughter didn’t happen – it was just a numbness that washed over me. Then the tears fell and the pain so profound, I had to stop looking at her memory book, stop looking at her videos. I found that when my eyes found her picture that sits in my living room, I’d briefly stop and then my eyes would divert – just too painful to go there.
I have come to now appreciate the many videos and pictures I have collected over the years. I believe God gives us these memories to bath our wounded hearts but you have to be ready and open to receive the grace that God gives you to be able to see that. And that doesn’t come easily nor does it come quickly. It’s a process that takes it’s own unique time to happen. Our part is to be open and receive it.
In the book I highlighted a few sentences that became the words I held onto when I didn’t want to remember because it was too painful. “Memories are a vital part of our healing” (2006 Duke). But as Duke eludes to memories you cannot hug. I remember reading that for the first time and I think I may have cried for hours. Where I was at that moment was angry that I could no longer experience hugging my daughter. It was devastating to me. Some of my most difficult times have been surrounded by a memory that floods into my mind. I’ve learned how to manage those times over the years, but there are times when it still is difficult to linger for very long.
I would never trade any of my memories or times that I shared with Brittany. They are now a place I can go and have a proud feeling in my heart that I had such a great gift given to me by God to be a mother, Brittany’s mother for nearly 18 years. I was truly blessed. That is how I have to see it going forward in order to keep from losing it every time I speak of her or think of her. I want those memories to bring me some joy not sorrow. I’m so very weary of the sorrow.
I will close with a scripture passage Susan Duke ends her chapter with as it is so very appropriate.
“Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things….Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.” – Philippians 4:8 TLB
So for me I remember my lovely Brittany and dwell on the good things and I praise God that I was able to experience that time and happy to have had her in my life even for such a short time. She made me a better person. She had a huge impact on the people she loved and her love lives on in them today.
until next time,