Remembering . . . Can Be Inspiring

Remembering is painful, it’s difficult, but it can be inspiring and it can give wisdom.” ~Paul Greengrass

A friend of mine suffered what I believe is the absolute worst nightmare for a parent – losing your child. It’s been over 19 months for her, but her heartbreak and struggle continue even to this day. Three months ago, I, too, suffered a tragic loss; something that I never imagined.

Jean was the first person to reach out to me and provided the greatest gifts – a listening ear, words of comfort, empathy, the gift of her time. She invited me over for lunch. She let me cry on her shoulder without giving advice and instruction. She bought chicken soup over which we cried more and let grow cold. She disclosed that most friends and family eventually became weary of her grief funk and slowly distanced themselves from her. She confessed that she used to be “one of those people” – she avoided the griever because it was too uncomfortable — until it it happened to her.  Their tears continued, they didn’t smile even after months.  “Stop it already”, “be strong”, “get over it”, “get professional help” is all she could think.

She told me that well-meaning people want to fix you. Some will try to label your grief; after all, if it is correctly diagnosed, then there is a solution, right? Some psychiatrists and counselors have identified “stages of grief”; unfortunately, they aren’t linear. She told me you won’t move from one to the next in a nice step-by-step process. Or like C.S. Lewis describes “am I going in circles, or dare I hope that I’m on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down?”

She shared that the one and only thing she wants to do is talk about her son. She wants to tell everyone she meets about her son. She wants to remember all 28 years of his short life. Despite the pain that remembering brings, it provides comfort to share because she remembers the beautiful person he was while he was here. She told me that some choose to forget or not acknowledge because it’s less painful for them – “out of sight, out of mind”.

I am experiencing everything she shared with me like it’s a well-scripted play. Like her, remembering John is not an option; it’s a conscious choice. I remember my gorgeous husband, my friend, my companion and my soul mate. I remember because we were blessed with 20 wonderful years together; to not remember means these years didn’t exist. I remember the beautiful memories we created together which motivate me to write. I write because I promised to share our love story. Eventually, I will share our story because we want to inspire others to pursue their dreams and make them reality.

My request, if you have read this post, is that you develop empathy, not unresponsiveness.  The greatest gifts you can provide to someone like me and my friend are a listening ear, words of comfort, empathy and the gift of your time.

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Circle of Friends

Back in February, I met a lady in the hospital. She and I shared a common fear – our husbands were in ICU not knowing what the next hour would bring let alone the next day. We were the only two who spent uncountable hours in the ICU waiting room. We were both afraid to leave but too tired to stay.

One day we spoke to each other. We shared our situations. We shared tears, and we shared prayer. We shared our greatest fears with each other – life without our husbands. We prayed fervent prayers to God for divine healing.

Fast forward six months . . . something told me to reach out to Lourdes three weeks ago. It was a strong feeling in my spirit. Lourdes lost Roger in February; he never left ICU. I was devastated for her, and I cried for her. I prayed for her not really knowing what she needed, not really knowing what she was feeling, not really knowing her loneliness.

Until now . . . now I know how she feels. Now I understand the depths of her pain, hurt, loneliness, heartbreak, gut-wrenching sick-to-your-stomach feeling . . . the indescribable hole you feel in your heart. Lourdes was the first person to reach out and ask to sit with me, cry with me, pray with me, experience the same pain with me, asking for nothing in return.

With experiences such as this, you find out who genuinely cares and doesn’t just say the words and phrases that are “a propos”. You find out who stands with you when you can’t find the words to describe how you feel, you can’t itemize what you need, you can’t stop the tears long enough to say hello, you can’t remember who is in the same room with you, you can’t remember if you’ve eaten today.

You find out who is willing to just sit with you while you cry, while you grieve.

You find out who will text you just to let you know they are thinking about you.

You find out who is willing to hold your hand, put an arm around your shoulder and sit in the same room and say nothing.

You find out who is willing to hear what they don’t want to hear.

You find out who is willing to understand that you can’t flip a switch and feel better.

You find out who is willing to provide their company and time vs. suggesting you need professional help.

You find out who is willing to be uncomfortable to provide just a little bit of comfort.

You find out who is willing to be there for the long haul, because it’s a long journey.

You find out that your circle of friends becomes very, very small.

I’m thankful for my very small circle of friends.

I Believe In You

“We are what we believe we are.”
C. S. Lewis

There are two types of people I suspect have no issue believing the best about themselves every minute of every day:  narcissists and someone who scores 100 on the EQ (Emotional Intelligence quotient) test.  The rest of us have good days and bad days.  I like to call the bad days “mental potholes” from a lesson I learned from Bishop T.D. Jakes.  Circumstances and people can drive even the most optimistic person to hit a “mental pothole”.  It is during these times when it is so easy to lose your self-worth and self-confidence.  Yes, even “Bea Positive” can and will drive into one of these “potholes” and need a “tow truck” to get back on track. 

It is inevitable that we will encounter some kind of set-back or difficulty some time in our lives – a “mental pothole”.  Some of us probably feel like we’ve had more than our fair share!  Most people want to help by “doing something”.  Sometimes being a tow truck is as easy as saying “I believe in you”.

It’s a very simple phrase, but said from the heart, it is very powerful.  I want to share a few phrases from a card that I received from one of my dear friends, Lisa-Marie when I needed a “tow”:

I believe in you – in the things that are important to you and in the way you choose to live your life . . .  that you have many talents and wisdom to use them well . . .I believe in your courage, your compassion, your integrity, and your strength.  I believe in your goodness . . . I believe in you.”  ~Bobbie Burrow

We have all heard and been told that life is a journey, not a destination.  There have been many times throughout my journey, when I have I hit some major “potholes”.  If you have someone close to you who is going through a difficult time, remember that sometimes all you have to do is say “I believe in you”.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and continue “Bea–ing Positive”!

Believe In Yourself

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