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One Stray Tear
The delight lit my face as the couple turned the corner into the hallway where we stood in lively conversation. I threw my arms open wide, ignored the cell phones plastered to their ears, greeted each of them, first the husband then the wife who followed slightly behind him.
Oblivious, I missed the pained expression on his face as we exchanged hugs. As we separated, I watched a stray tear leak out of the corner of his eye. He kept walking as I shifted my attention to his wife.
"He just found out that his sister passed away," she said in a hushed voice. "I'm so sorry," I replied, stunned into silence. I glanced across the way in time to see the man lean his forehead against the far wall. "I think we're going to go," she added. "I totally understand," I mumbled, at complete loss for words. "I'm so sorry," I repeated. She moved on to comfort her man. Having yet to lose a parent or sibling I felt rather foolish.
Later, questions ran rapid-fire through my brain. Why does the issue of death give us such pause? Do we avoid it so much that we never learn to cope when it faces us? Would it make any difference anyway? Do we not know how to empathize with the pain of another? Do we not care enough or do we care enough yet lack the tools or the skill or the experience to better support in times of need? Or perhaps no answer will ever suffice in such matters of the heart and only time can fill that gaping, jagged, ugly void that scratches the recesses of the soul.
I thought about the mother that loses a child to disease, the soldier that leaves his life on the battlefield, the accidents that part us from loved ones, that savage beast called anger that erupts in violent ways with little regard for the victim until it's too late. Always one constant-suffering, different for each of us yet endured by all, large and small, young and old, weak and strong, with no more discrimination than a roaring wind or a blazing heat, sometimes coming in gusts, sometimes beating on us without reprieve, relentless.
Then it fades. The magic of human resiliency creeps in unannounced and goes to work, a flickering smile, the first laugh, a deep shoulder shrug that sheds an albatross of sorrow, a blue sky that actually gets noticed, a dog lick that incites a momentary grin, a cookie that brings back a measure of sweetness that doesn't instantly disappear, a memory that opens the door for joy to sneak back in and sit a while.
Maybe we'll never figure it out. Maybe there's nothing to figure. Maybe it's hard to speak permanent goodbyes and harder still to accept them. Maybe the tragedy makes way for real love, a bliss born in the contrast of anguish. Maybe the tears wash away grief, one salty drop after another. Maybe we're not supposed to know, just feel. Maybe?
Sun will come up tomorrow-bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow?
That's A View From The Ridge...
About The Author
Author Ridgely Goldsborough invites you to subscribe to The Daily Column, a heart-felt collection of stories that inspire hope and courage. Please do so at www.aviewfromtheridge.com.
An Unexpected Letter
It was a couple of weeks after Christmas, and I was standing by my mailbox in the vestibule of the apartment building where I lived in Lexington, Kentucky, holding a letter I had just received. The handwriting was not familiar and neither was the return address, although it was postmarked Seattle, Washington, the same place where Hannah Paulson used to live.
Coping With A Funeral
When the death of a loved one occurs, regardless or whether it was expected or not, you will find yourself having to deal with a great number of people. Some you will know closely, others may be complete strangers; all will be claiming some kind of relationship to the deceased.
Mexico: Death in Mexico
Death: No thank you. Dying: Gives me a panic attack. Burial: Not today, please. Of all the subjects I could write about, this one is my least favorite. It, in fact, could easily send me into the mother of all anxiety fits. Nevertheless, it is necessary to visit the subject since I now live in another country.
Who has the Worst Pain
During the 28 years I have been interacting with bereaved people, one of the most frequent questions I have been asked is, "Who has the worst pain?" Do bereaved parents suffer more than widows and widowers? Do children whose parents die feel more agony than children who lose a sibling? Is it harder to watch a loved one suffer for a long time before death releases the victim than it is to answer the doorbell or the phone at midnight and suddenly hear the news of tragedy? Is suicide worse than homicide? Is the death of an "older" child more difficult to grieve than the death of a newborn or infant?
How to Deal With A Death in the Family and Still Run Your Small Business
As a small business owner we have to deal with tax law changes, local ordinances, environmental laws, Worker's Compensation, etc. Just when we thought we had everything under control, something terrible happenes. A death in the family. Oh my God you say? What do I do now? Well since I have been there, let me tell you what you need to know.
Understanding Grief and Loss in Times of War and Disaster
There are many different kinds of losses we can experience in our lives. Indeed, loss in human beings has its beginnings in the birth process that separates the infant from the comfort and security of the mother's womb into a world where survival is conditional and predicated on individual responsibility. The presumable final loss is the end of the human life cycle caused by death. There are many losses in between those polarities that relate to the developmental and aging process in each life. All of these losses are expectable losses and our bereavement and mourning of these losses are colored by their expectability
You Can Help A Grieving Heart
Oh, we can talk about the best cold medications and if cherry cough syrup tastes better to kids than orange. We can recommend preschools and sneakers. But the hardest part of parenting is the least often discussed. The roughest aspect of being a parent is losing a child.
If we were to organize a list of the thorniest problems for the bereaved, certainly somewhere near the top would be the question of miracles. Everybody has heard anecdotal stories of certain people who have suffered incredible, life-threatening injuries or illness, but who have somehow recovered against all odds. A woman who has been in a coma for two years suddenly hears her husband's voice and awakens. A teenage victim of an automobile accident who was reportedly given no hope of recovery finally responds to the unwavering faith and persistent attention of a loving mother...and on it goes.
Whats It All About?
For most people life is a fairly ordinary existence - and when I say ordinary I mean a contented, 'far from perfect' way of life. And that's okay? until something major happens to rock the boat.
When The Spirit Leaves The Body
Do you spend most of your time inside or outside of your body? If you know what I'm talking about then I can almost certainly say that you have spent some time outside of your body.
Moving Beyond Grief and Loss
In my work as a coach and therapist, I have seen many clients dealing with losses of all kinds-loss of loved ones through death and divorce, for instance. These experiences are difficult for everyone.
The Valley of Sorrow or My Life as a Well Digger
It felt like I had been run over by a freight train. I was stunned. I was in shock. I was crying hysterically. But it was really just a phone call. My dad called and said he had to talk to my husband Jerry. I knew it was bad because Jerry hates to talk on the phone so no one ever asks for Jerry unless something bad is going on. I knew some elderly family members and friends were sick, so I thought one had died. I was right someone had died. But it was not an elderly person or even a sick person. It was my sister April. She was 33, a college graduate, a non drinker, non smoker, no drugs - nothing - just a little over weight. She had been getting ready for a Sunday School party and simply dropped dead. It was probably a heart attack. And that was when the shadow of death passed over my life like a freight train. Suddenly, from the middle of bright sun shiny Good Friday, I was in the valley of Baca. At some time or another I had heard a sermon based on a verse from Psalms 84:6 on the subject of "when passing through the valley of Baca (sorrow) dig a well. I had suddenly become a "well digger".
My dearest Grandma, I will never forget you & sorry that I was not there with you when you passed.
Anticipatory Grief and Ongoing Sadness for Caregivers
In 1969, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross published her famous book; On Death and Dying and later went on to launch the Hospice movement in America. Even though her studies focused more on those who were dying than the caregivers that were left behind, her work has had enormous influence on the understanding of various stages of death and grief.
Euthanasia: How Will I Know When its Time?
Pippin needed assistance from his owner to get to his feet. He slowly walked to the door, then needed help once again to step down onto the back porch. With a slight groan, he squatted to relieve himself and came back towards the house. There was no twinkle in his eye, and this time he needed to be carried all the way back to his bed. He'd used up his energy for that day.
Are We All Losers? Understanding Grief
The well-known pioneer researcher Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five states through which the dying patient goes. It is also true that the recently bereaved and the about to be bereaved evidence the same stages. Kubler Ross has labeled the 5 stages denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. People do not necessarily go through these stages in any set order or over a set length of time, nor does the individual necessarily pass through each of the stages. Most controversial is the final stage of acceptance. Kubler-Ross believes that all of us come to accept death as it approached, but other researchers do not agree. Westberg, for example believe, as do the writer, that we come to a point of living with the loss. Let's now review the 10 stages of grief as defined by Westberg. If you have or can access his tiny book entitled, Good Grief, it would help you to understand each stage in more depth than the writer will go.
Am I a Mother - Tips for Handling Mother?s Day After Miscarriage
Are you spending this Mother's Day wondering if you are, in fact, a mother? 900,000-1 million women in the U.S. alone face this question every year after suffering pregnancy loss. "For women who experience a miscarriage during their first pregnancy, the question of motherhood is an even greater one," says Lisa Church of HopeXchange, a company dedicated to the support of women and their families facing pregnancy loss.
New Tears [about Grievng--with commentary]
New Tears [about Grieving]
The Look of Grief
Never, since man has walked upright, have people all over the globe had more educational advantages or more opportunities to practice advanced social and interpersonal skills. And yet, for the most part, we still have not learned to look past the obvious, to see beyond the exterior shell of our fellow man, and to discover the worth of the real person.
If you have ever lost someone dear to you it is likely that you can still summon up the grief that you may still be carrying deep inside yourself as a result of the loss. If this grief, which is usually felt as a deep saddness, is something that you would like to clear in yourself then you may find some hope here.
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