Peace vs Turbulence

“Even the saddest things can become, once we have made peace with them, a source of wisdom and strength for the journey that still lies ahead.” – Frederick Buechner

 

The lack of finality in what I assumed would be a life with my daughter, has left me feeling a little sad these days. As graduations are celebrated this time of  year, I am quickly taken back to a time when I envisioned my Brittany walking up to get her diploma. Yet what happened in reality is that myself along with her father walked up to receive an “honorary” diploma because Brittany died before her graduation. It is not suppose to be that way.

I also envisioned Brittany living out a life that may not have been what most parents hope for. Her disability would have had an impact on her life; however I also know she wouldn’t have let that stop her from accomplishing anything she wanted to do. Despite multiple setbacks and roadblocks Brittany lived a life that no one could deny wasn’t filled with joy and happiness. She took full advantage of the life given to her not knowing her days would be very short.

I have learned a great deal from how Brittany lived her life. I think it some ways she made peace with her illness. I know she would question why God chose her to let her have epilepsy and crohn’s disease, however those moments of feeling sorry for herself were short-lived. She made peace with what had been given her despite the many periods of her life that were turbulent. Even in her last remaining months one would have not known she was getting progressively worse. She refused to let it get her down.

So when I look at how her death and the absence of her in my life, I have to look at how she managed her day-to-day life and understand that by making peace with what happened I have an opportunity to make something good out of it. To pursue a life with peace that can lead to happiness. As I sit here writing this, I still find that to be a concept hard to visualize. Happiness after such devastating loss. Multiple losses each individually impacting my life differently. It will always be a work in progress for me. A couple of steps forward a one back. That is how grief works.

I want to walk out of my door each and every day with a smile on my face and to experience life full out just like Brittany did. I talk to her a lot about that. I pray often that she helps to guide me there. To this place of peace, even in the midst of turbulence, to find a place each day when I can look back at my day and know I took every opportunity to experience life fully. That is one of the many ways I can honor her life. She did it so well.

Loss can be transformative. It can be life giving. It can help us move forward. That transformation begins with acceptance and ends with peace. A journey that will likely take the majority of my life but I am determined to find a way there.  The path to peace should be our desire for it will allow us to grow into our new destiny for the journey that lies ahead.

Until next time,

m

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It’s the small things….

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5:4

I carried this verse in my pocket wherever I went for months after my daughter Brittany died. Even if I was somewhere I couldn’t bring it out and read it, I could reach in my pocket and grasp it and say it to myself – it always brought me such peace.

I would encourage anyone who is in grieving the loss of someone dear to them to try something simple that may turn out to be profoundly helpful. The example above is just one of few that I have done over the years. Journalling has been and probably always will be one of my most comforting processes. And what is most interesting is that I’ve seen my writing change over time. It has evolved from a moment of pain and agony to a moment of peace and grace.

I can now look back at my journals and see how far I have grown in my grief. My grief has changed me. My loss changed me. While I am grateful for coming through to a place of peace, I would never have wanted this to be the reason I got here. But if you want to bring any light  back into your life, you must open the door.

Opening the door to joy is hard. It seems wrong. But trust me when I say it is what we need to do to grow outside of our pain and begin to find the sweet memories of our loved ones. Pain serves as a block to our growth. Pain will be in my heart for the loss of my girl; but it has also been covered by the love of many and by the grace of God I know and understand the reunion will be more joyous than anything I’ve ever experienced here on earth.

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Let in the light, let in the love and let in the peace to the inner part of heart that is in pain – and you will see and feel the light, love and peace transcend your grief.

until next time,

m