Tag - grief

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Doves Of Hope—Honouring Loved Ones Impacted By Cancer
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From Sympathy There’s Gratitude
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Signs Our Loved Ones Are Still With Us
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Life Lessons Learned From Loss
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What Is The Time Limit On Grief?

Doves Of Hope—Honouring Loved Ones Impacted By Cancer

Childhood sleep-overs and camping trips, always there for me with a joke; wiping tears of laughter from her cheeks as she attempted (and usually failed) to get to the punch line. My aunt. Everyone has a story to tell about a person who helped shape them into who they are—someone who inspired them to be a better person. For me that person was my Auntie Jan. Jan lived each day thoughtfully, with purpose. Her relationships, her commitment to fitness, her love of the outdoors and putting family first—she lived well by valuing what is important. I sometimes forget. Thinking about Jan reminds me. She used to play this game where she’d make eye contact with a stranger passing by and smile at them. She’d keep smiling until they eventually smiled back. They almost always did.  When she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of sixty, far too young and too healthy for the likes of cancer, we were crushed.  Her initial biopsy was on my birthday, but despite her frightening day, she still phoned to leave me a Happy Birthday message. Oh my god her phone messages were the best—veering off topic and looping back again, laughing so[…]

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From Sympathy There’s Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada and there is so much to be grateful for. But with all the awful things—the violence, the tumultuous and surreal (I mean, can you even believe this has been allowed to go on this long?) political climate, not to mention the unnerving actual climate, it feels like we have to squint to see the good. But it’s there.  I’ve been watching it fill my Facebook feed. It feels right and affirming to see all the happy today.  But then I looked out my window and saw the saddest thing. It literally squeezed the air out of my lungs and made me dizzy with sympathy.  My family room window faces my neighbour’s kitchen window. We didn’t have blinds for a few months when we first moved in here thirteen years ago, so our poor neighbours were likely privy to way too much Thornbury in various states of undress. Tall trees, a substantial generation gap, and a language barrier prevented us from becoming close with our neighbours. But they’ve always smiled and said hello over the fence whenever we’re both out in our yards. And they happily throw back the balls and frisbees that ended up underneath[…]

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Signs Our Loved Ones Are Still With Us

I believe in signs. Or at least I believe that believing makes the sad bits of life easier.  One could argue that you can see anything if you’re looking for it, willing it to be there, twisting it into what you need it to be. You could argue that and you might be right.  But yet here we are. Signs all around us, even when we’re not looking for them. When my mother in law passed away she left a hole in our lives. As the years went by (it’s been two and half now) we filled the hole with time and memories.  Then this summer when my father in law sold his house and prepared to move out of the home he shared with his wife, where memories were made and her spirit was felt every time we walked through the door, the hole opened up a little. Sorting through her things brought up feelings. We felt her and missed her.  In an effort to simplify the move my father in law purged and pared down the contents of his home. He gave us their old patio table and chairs. This is the table where we ate dinner with[…]

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Life Lessons Learned From Loss

2014 was a year flanked on both ends by grief. Our family lost close family members in February and December. There was also the death of a pet in the middle (insignificant in comparison, but try telling that to a sobbing child who has only just recently had his first experience with losing a loved one). I’ve written about how death has affected our children. Insecurities, anxiety and fears have been addressed by talking about our feelings honestly, but age-appropriately. For the most part, the kids are coping and moving forward. Our daughter Avery, eight years old, but cognitively closer to age four, is still struggling with the loss of her Grandie. She talks about her daily. When she’s particularly sad, she makes an “I miss you” card to add to the collection whose intended recipient will never see. Avery dreams about her Grandie a lot and the mornings following those dreams are hard. She’ll cry and ask “why?” There’s really no good answer to that. So she’ll squeeze her eyes shut like her granddad taught her and say, “Grandie is in my heart.” And of course, it breaks my heart. Avery answered the phone last week (her new favourite[…]

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What Is The Time Limit On Grief?

The minute you think you’ve come to terms with loss, grief comes back—quietly sneaking up on you as a fleeting pang, or slamming into you like a visceral punch that forces the breath from your lungs, making you gasp amid sobs. My friend Heather said the other day in reference to the loss of her son that, “Grief has no time limit.” She and her family have been through it. They’re still going through it. They will always be in it to some degree. There may indeed be five stages of grief, but there’s definitely no fixed schedule or order to them. My husband’s mom passed away last February. She was more a friend than a mother in law and the close bond she shared with my children was uncommon, I think. My son was ten when she died. She wasn’t sick—her death was unexpected and a shock for everyone. Of course my boy was devastated when she died, but after a month or so, the cloud lifted for him and he claimed he had made peace with it and that he was okay. He later admitted he felt guilty for not crying anymore. “We all grieve in our own[…]

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