Journey from Grief to Gratitude
We ultimately make our own decisions, and so we should with grief—on our own timeline and in our own way. Not buying in to “you should be moving on” if it does not fit. Grief is best as the “snowflake” concept—honoring our uniqueness.
My youngest sister succumbed to lung cancer in 1998. She had a 10% survival rate - the reality of lung cancer for women over 40. We were soul mates, sisters, and dear friends—I knew my life changed forever. I was in shock at the idea of losing her—the mother of two teenage boys. I was numb, her boys paralyzed with fear. The entire family was in disbelief.
We still showed hope and our faith by resolving family differences and coming together to forgive—an opportunity we did not want to miss. Repressed grief ignores reality and suppresses true feelings. Give yourself permission to feel, not deny death—find an emotional safety net.
Denial finds diversionary activity. I sought a new companion. I took him with me to our family reunion that first Christmas she was ill. I had not taken a companion home with me in 20 years; being in reality was too painful.
Anger showed in searching endlessly for answers and new drugs; someway her “big sister” could make things better. Anger at God, at her for smoking, and at the ones that say quitting 12 years makes a difference!
Now the guilt—I am the oldest with no children—why was it not me? Did I do enough for her? Did I write the book out of guilt? Did we reconcile childhood issues? We cannot change the past, but we can change our reactions to it!
Depression came when I was not looking, that dark mood visited me when I least expected it. I was in slow motion and forgetful. Her funeral seemed pointless, I did not attend. Despair was with me, but not recognized. I felt abandoned and overwhelmed. I stayed home alone.
Acceptance is a search for meaning by maintaining a relationship with them in our memory and our dreams to solidify that bond. She will forever remain a part of my life. Her old blue broach was my “something old” when I recently married. I had no doubt she was there too. You do not need to let go to heal—you can embrace your loss in a new way.
Grief feels like being afraid. When we accept, the fear dissipates. Faith is my lifeline to the world. The anger has subsided and the guilt no longer exists if I stay grateful for the years we had and attach some meaning to the loss such as my personal growth, my spiritual awakening and my chance to write a book to leave her legacy by celebrating her life.
Gifts of Sisterhood: a journey on to your own ISBN# 1-4208-1875-9 www.authorhouse.com Patricia L. Brooks 480-250-5556 firstname.lastname@example.org www.plbrooks.com The Journey from Grief to Gratitude