Saturday, January 29, 2011

Grief Work Status Check

Wow! Where has the month flown? This has been a month of reflecting, coming to terms with realities and making plans.

Our church has been studying the Book of 1 Timothy. It has generated a lot of lively debate and 1 Timothy 5: 3 talk about widows, “Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need”. It reminded me to check my temperature on my grief work. How am I doing?

I’ve been reading a book, “How to go on Living, When Someone you Love Dies”, by Therese A Rando, PhD. It is a rather comprehensive book of the grieving process, all kinds of grieving. In the Chapter on “What is Necessary to “Resolve” Your Grief”, it tells of a set of processes that must be completed. They are:

1. Experiencing the pain.

2. Reacting to the separation from your loved one.

3. Readjusting to the new world without your loved one.

4. Changing your emotional attachment to and investment in him.

So I ask myself, “How am I doing”?

It seems that I have been going through 1 and 2 over the last two years. Number 3 was started when my late husband entered the hospital and Number 4……..? Well, six months after his death, I might be starting to work on this one.

I keep asking myself, how did I get this far so fast? All I can say is that that the Lord is good and provided me the very best of friends, family, and people who were there for me every step of the way. I was able to cry and talk about my feelings, get information, and not feel so isolated knowing that others had experienced similar grief feelings. We all seemed to hold each other up with love and care.

The book goes on and gives a checklist of examples how one can know they have successfully resolved their loved one’s loss….

1. Remember their loved one without pain.

2. Mention him or tell stories about him without falling apart.

3. Express regrets without undue guilt.

4. Love others without feeling they are betraying the deceased.

5. Write the word “widow” without feeling abandoned.

I can honestly say I can do most of these. I acknowledge that there might be times of lapses but I understand this is normal and expected. It is not intended to wipe away the memory of your loved one but to adapt into a New Life without Forgetting the Old.

This involves…..

1. Developing a new relationship with the deceased.

2. Keeping your loved one “alive” appropriately.

3. Forming a new identity based on your being without this person and encompassing the changes you have made to adjust to his death.

4. Taking the freed-up emotional energy that used to be invested in your loved one and reinvesting it in other relationships, objects, activities, roles, and hopes that can offer emotional satisfaction back to you. “

This book has been very helpful to me. I am thinking of going back to school to finish my degree, making deeper commitments in friendships, and my focus in my work is coming back. Life is good. Thank you Lord!

I have also finished my Friendship Shawl. How appropriate for me to have finished it when I am completing my grief work. This shawl is a celebration of the friendship and support given me. I will be giving it to a very special friend. It is a garter stitch shawl with a Feather and Fan pattern knitted in to prevent the shawl from falling off the shoulders. I knit it dark red Superwash wool . Mornings are still chilly and should come in handy on those cold mornings.

Friendship Shawl

Feather & Fan pattern

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

It’s hard to believe another year has slipped away! However, rather than reflect on the past, I feel it is important that I focus on the future. Perhaps this is a turning point for me. I need to think on the positive as Philippians 4:8 says “ Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever, is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Of course, when one focuses on the future, one needs to have a goal. I don’t think I made many New Years resolutions last year as I feel I had little control of it. I had to surrender totally to where God was to take us. The surrender is still there, but I want to have a little direction for my life, at least the part I have some control over.

Here are some of my initial resolutions:

1. Declutter my home- I am reading a book called “The Joy of Less, Minimalist Living Guide: How to declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life.”

2. Find more time to connect with people. Build relationships. Visit more with people, especially those that have less support.

3. Read more. I’ve given up on TV-can’t get many channels in my area anyway. Most TV is bad news, too. I do not want cable-too expensive. I’ll stick to the internet and Kindle books.

4. Downsize my fiber inventory. Why am I keeping so much around? I have less time to use it.

5. Have fun with the grandkids. What a joy they are and a challenge. Give them a supportive, stable and loving living environment.

6. Read through Proverbs.

7. Loose weight: find time to exercise. Consider joining a gym.

8. Stick to my budget. Save up to take my grandkids to Disneyland.

9. Take a weekend trip before summer.

10. Experience Joy! Last year it was the Search for Joy. This year, I want to experience more Joy than ever before.