As many of you may know, many years ago my former husband’s daughter was murdered at the age of 11. This brought us on an 18 year journey to find her killer and another two years to see him brought to justice.
Recently I was a guest on LaTonya Moore’s radio show, Real Perspectives, where the conversation moved into how to not only handle grief after a murder, but other advice for how to more effectively move through the grieving process regardless of how your loved one died.
If you are dealing with the homicide death of a loved one, you may wish to listen in here.
I was on my AskMaryMac Facebook page and found a friend who mentioned how distraught she was that Mother’s Day was approaching and how much she missed her Mom.
She specifically spoke about how she would send her orchids each year and could no longer send them to her.
I decided to comment on her post:
“I have an idea. What if you took the money you were going to spend on orchids and bring Mother’s Day balloons to several women in a retirement or nursing home who have no children to receive anything from. Perhaps their children have predeceased them and they feel the same pain you now feel. Can you imagine all the love you would share when you see the delight on their faces when someone as wonderful as you took the time to make their day. It’s one of the greatest experiences you will ever have. Promise.”
Every moment we have the chance to make someone feel good about themselves, even when we feel so badly. It might take a little research to find a local center, but walking into women’s rooms with a colorful balloon that they could look at for weeks to come will bring joy to them. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than to surprise a strange with such kindness.
Those ‘random acts of kindness’ bring life to others…and to you. Try it. And then comment below as to what happened and share it with all of us.
Happy Mother’s Day to those who are Moms, those whose Moms aren’t with us any longer, all those who were briefly Moms before the miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death of their child or children, those Moms whose adult children have died, and those who want so much to experience the joy of being called a Mom but are struggling to become pregnant.
This Saturday will be the 20th Anniversary of my beloved grandmother’s death at the age of 93. And I still think of her often and I miss her.
I miss her when things get tough and she’d remind me how strong I was. She’d be there to snuggle up against, just as I remember I would as a young child.
There are so many wonderful memories with her…driving to Jones Beach for dinner and her favored Manhattans. Who said 90 year-old grandmothers are not allowed to indulge too! Or the time we bought a plant of silk violets and her roommate watered them thinking they were real. Or how she would hold my little Shih-Tsu Daisy and talk to her on the terrace, as pictured here. They just loved each other so much.
As time goes on, we never forget those who loved us and whom we loved, no matter how long it’s been since they have died or were killed. Love doesn’t leave us, just because they have.
Actually, I think it remains in our spirit and is embedded within our soul. The best part is death can never take those feelings from us. Nor can anyone else.
We may fill the void with other new people who enter our lives, but the special bond we shared can never be exactly replaced.
They were unique. Our relationship was one of a kind. And even twenty years later, I smile at the wonderful times we shared, re-read the notes I found in storage which she would send to me at college. Look at the pictures, reminisce from time to time.
The sting of grief is no longer there. But the memories and the love will stay with me forever.
Understanding Your Grieving Heart After a Loved One’s Death will help you on your journey. Tell me your experiences and memories by sharing a comment.
It’s Christmas and it would be nice if everyone’s family could understand the grief we are feeling and the intensity of it. Whether we are grieving a loved one’s death, in the thick of a divorce, have been transplanted to another city for work and can’t make it home, or simply have those pesky folks in the family who are feuding for some nonsensical thing that happened years ago and no one’s made up yet, Christmas always seems to open up wounds in some manner.
It’s like that proverbial band-aid that keeps getting pulled off opening up the scab again. It just doesn’t seem to fully heal.
And there are just some wounds that may never heal, yet for us to move forward with life, we need to find a balance.
A very good friend had a miserable Christmas this year because she still believe it’s her siblings’ role to visit her for Christmas. She can’t understand why they won’t.
They’ve all had their share of wounds from past hurts but no one will give in, leaving my friend lonely and sad on what should be the joyous of holidays.
So instead of letting it go and enjoying herself with her friends and turning them into her new family, she made herself sick because it didn’t turn out the way she wanted it. And instead of having dinner with neighbors who wanted to make it a wonderful holiday for her, she decided not to attend.
All I could think about is ‘how foolish.’
You have people who love you here, but you’re still trying to control a situation with actual family over a thousand miles away. That helps no one, most of all her.
Sometimes you have to cut your losses and realize you cannot control anyone but yourself.
You can’t change anyone but yourself.
So, perhaps one day, she will let that be and embrace the ones who do love and care about her. They just don’t have the same last name.
In the United States today we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, a tradition that dates back to when the pilgrims shared a meal with the native indians when the first settlers came to this country from Europe.
Later, President Abraham Lincoln would declare this day as an annual opportunity to thank God for the blessings He has bestowed on our people and our great land. And, yes, in the politically correct environment we live in, he specifically asked all Americans to thank ‘God’.
But for my readers, who are often those who are grieving a loss of some kind on this day, it can feel difficult to really find anything that we could be grateful for when we are in such pain. And this is a place where I have been in the past, too.
But I’d like you to know that just because you are hurting so deeply from the death of someone close, or the divorce, or the financial loss, or whatever you are dealing with, it is acceptable to still feel times of happiness.
Sometimes we won’t allow ourselves to delve into the happy bucket for fear of how others might judge us (“How can she look so happy when her father just died?”). Or when we ourselves feel guilty because we’re not grieving properly.
Well I’m here to tell you that there is no ‘right’ way to grieve. There is no ‘right’ timing when grief is finished. There is no ‘right’ way you can please all your family and friends and I don’t want you to try, because, quite frankly, if they are putting guilt on you, nothing you do will make them happy anyway. It’s time for them to get their own life and build their own happiness after someone’s death.
The only person’s grief you are responsible for is your own. You can help soothe another family member and listen to them, but ultimately it’s their journey and they will undoubtedly walk it in a different manner and timing than you, but that’s just fine. We aren’t all the same and we don’t all grieve the same as another family member.
So on this Thanksgiving, take some time to value what you do have in your life. Honor the great memories you shared with your loved one who is no longer here. Share those memories with those whom you will spend this day…aloud of course.
And even if you think it will be painful to even bring up their name at dinner, it probably will be and tears may be shed and, guess what, it’s absolutely ok. And, yes, even if it’s been a dozen years, holidays can be hard thinking how you’d really love for them to be sitting at the table next to you just one more time.
So shed the tears and raise a glass to their memory. Talk about them, share what makes your life great at this point in your life. Share how they shaped your life for the better.
And mostly realize just how far you have come in your journey. You are still moving forward, you are still moving toward your dreams, and you can still find things to be grateful for.
I wish you a memorable day. They are with you in spirit and nothing and no one can ever take that away.