The Loss of Loved Ones

I had the privilege of sharing in the memory and grief of loved ones lost at our local regional hospital this past weekend…. this is for all of you who feel the pain extra at this time of year.

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So many of us know the pain of loss. Maybe it’s recent and your still numb or it happened a while ago and you are just now grieving.

Maybe it was your best friend, your mom/dad/grandparent/daughter/son or a spouse. Whoever it is that you’ve lost, whatever it is that you are feeling right now, it is real, it is hard and painful but please know that it is okay and it is necessary for you to feel it.

Maybe your memories consist of laughter, adventures and happiness. If you are human like the rest of us, perhaps they consist of regrets, pain, guilt and shame.

Maybe you are not mourning a relationship for what it was, but for what you wish it had been.

Perhaps you are celebrating a life well lived or grieving a life that seemed wasted.

Whatever it is, it matters. You matter. Your pain and your grief matter.

I too have felt the sting of death and loss.

Untitled designIt was 2005 when I got the first call. A car accident and my oldest sister gone. This was my first experience with death so close. You really don’t know what it’s like until you’ve experienced it.

Then in 2009 I got my second call, another car accident. This time, my mom, dad, brother, 2 nephews and a niece all gone. 6 family members. This left me numb for years, unable to even grasp my new reality.

Then, just as I started processing that loss, I got my 3rd call. This time, a seizure and a brain cancer diagnoses for my former husband. This didn’t lead to a physical death, but to a death of our marriage.

So yes, from the core of my being and the depth of my heart, I too have felt loss and pain…..

  • That feeling of the morning after.
  • That feeling after the hustle of the first few days, and every one is gone.
  • The empty seat at the table.
  • Sorting through the clothes. Emptying the house
  • The random break down at the grocery store.
  • Everyone telling you to stay strong when you feel weaker than you ever imagined.
  • Praying for you, sorry for your loss and they are in a better place ringing in your ear long after the last person leaves.
  • Wishing so bad someone would say the name of your loved one to give you permission to speak of them, again, because you miss them so darn much.

Please know you are not alone in any of this.

Maybe you’re here today out of obligation and haven’t really felt sadness or grief but more relief after caring for someone for years. Maybe that relief is there, but covered under so much guilt you won’t let it show. Please know, you’re relief is real, it is beautiful and you have full permission to feel it.

Maybe bitterness has crept in and you see no reason to feel at all. Maybe you see no reason to go on, you feel hopeless, alone, depressed…..

You used to love God and actually believed He was good and wanted good for you. Now you’re wondering why you’re feeling so abandoned by him.

After my first and even second loss, I could still somewhat say with confidence that I believed God could use this for His good. I was still able to say, Lord your will and not mine, for your glory and not mine.

But then with the cancer diagnosis and living in what that reality looked like day in and day out, I lost that. I had been broken to the core and I wondered if God really even cared. He felt so distant and even when I tried to pray, all I could utter was Jesus… Jesus where are you?!

When we are in it, it is often hard to see, but looking back now, He was all around me.

In every moment of weakness, his strength kept me going, with every kind gesture he was pouring his care over me. With every hand that held mine, he was right there, holding me together.

We are not promised an easy life, because quite honestly an easy life would be a boring life, but you know what we are promised, who we get to do that hard life with.

Once we change our focus to that, then we no longer as why? But how and with who!

I can stand here today and tell you without a shadow of a doubt, that I would not be here today, sane, if it wasn’t for my faith in a God of mercy, love and hope.

We are still here today…….. you and I still have breath. And that breath is an honor!

So we pick ourselves up and we heal, we heal every crevice of that pain. That doesn’t mean we forget, it means we remember. Every. Single. Day. and we live accordingly.

A note from our loved ones today could look something like this:

Don’t let me leaving keep you down forever… Feel it, heal it, LIVE!

  • Live with purpose.
  • Do what makes your heart beat a little faster.
  • Let go of the anger. The hate. The resentment.
  • Forgive.
  • Live with perspective.
  • Perspective of, will this really matter in the long run?
  • Believe in something bigger than yourself
  • Be kind and smile whenever you can.
  • Love oh so gently and fiercely, all those around you.
  • But live. Live in today with everything you’ve got!

Yes, carry the memory of the one you lost with you, not to hold you back but to push you to live a full life, a whole life. A life of purpose, a life of peace.

Make them proud. Make yourself proud. Make God proud.

You matter. You are not alone. We are all in this together!

Pain well lived through becomes the most beautiful masterpiece.

I am with you in the pain of your loss. I am with you.

Until next time,
Eva

 

Watch the video on this here: Memorial

A Physical Response to Pain and Trauma

I find myself dreaming big these days. Emotionally and mentally I feel so ready to live a lighter decade of joy, peace and laughter.

My body on the other hand, still keeps tapping out on me.

It seems I am now, physically starting to feel through the last 12 years of pain, loss and trauma.

It starts with feeling nauseous, then a super heavy heart, which usually leads to a full on battle with crazy anxiety. So exhausting!

The bizarre thing is, this can come on a really good day. I’ll be going about my day feeling hopeful and ready to tackle life, when all of a sudden it starts creeping in out of no where.

When I start feeling it, it takes everything in me to not just drown it out and fill my time and my space with anything and everything to deny its existence. Doing this never leads to a positive end result.

In the moment, it seems easier for us to neglect our body and what it’s trying to tell us, than for us to stop long enough to let it catch up and heal.

I am beginning to understand the statistics of how stress and trauma affects our physical well being.

The after affects of living through pain are so complex, most of us don’t really have it in us to fully grasp the extent of how detrimental it can be in our ability to live a fully functional life after.

It is crucial to stop and create space where we can allow healing to happen in every aspect. I have spent hours of emotional, spiritual and mental healing but haven’t really found a way to create enough space and time for physically healing.

we need to digest or bring back up whatever it is that is making us feel physically ill.

It takes time, which most of us don’t have, to allow ourselves the freedom and the space to dig deep and get to the bottom of those physical feelings.

In a sense, we need to digest or bring back up whatever it is that is making us feel physically ill.

We would like to think that emotional and mental healing would automatically lead to physically healing. In my experience, the body has a mind of its own. It cannot be pushed to heal.

It will heal when it wants. How it wants.

It feels rather inconvenient at the time but the truth is, if we deny or neglect our body the time and space it needs to heal, we will suffer for years to come.

Let’s listen to our bodies today so we have all of it to carry us through tomorrow!

 

Until next time,
Eva

 

 

 

 

What Not to Say to Someone Going Through a Hard Time – ‘God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle’

Series Post 2 – ‘God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle’

I know others have tried to debunk this in recent years, but I feel compelled to share what it was like hearing that, during a time when I felt I had definitely been given more than I could handle.

I think what we really mean to say when we say that is,”God loves you and He’s got you.”

Although this is one hundred percent true, to be honest, for some of us in the midst of our hard we don’t always feel that, so even that is a battle to IMG_5080process.

It goes back to allowing ourselves to feel through all of the doubts and pain. To not feel pushed into a prescribed process of what it’s supposed to look like.

The prescribed method is too boxy for most of us, which leaves us feeling less than, hurt and confused.

When I hear, ‘He won’t give you more than you can handle,’ I hear…… I better handle this, on my own, with my head held high, regardless of how I really feel.

Not okay and so unhealthy.

Most of us know this saying comes from scripture, in Corinthians, the writing of Paul…. There is so much more to that scripture then the black and white that has been taken from it.

If we were never given more than we could handle, we wouldn’t need each other or God. That goes against every other word in scripture.

We need to not use that anymore.

Instead we say…. I am here. I am going to do this is hard with you. I will fall with you, I will feel weak with you then I will rise with you.

Together we can!

 

Until next time,
Eva

What Not to Say to Someone Going Through a Hard Time – ‘Stay Strong’

Sitting with others through their pain can be awkward and uncomfortable. We don’t know what to do. We want to make them feel better somehow, so we say things. More like throw up words out of our mouth, words that cause more pain than healing.

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Series Post 1 – ‘Stay Strong’

I can’t even count how many times people have told me to ‘stay strong,’ much less how many times I’ve heard it said to others and even used it myself.

We probably say it because we actually believe staying strong is the only option to surviving trials.

It seems pretty harmless and of course we mean well, but those two simple words can be very damaging to someone going through a crisis.

As we go through challenges, we will feel every emotion imaginable… even weakness. When we are constantly told to be strong, while we feel anything but strong, it brings on guilt, shame and denial.

Immense guilt in ‘why do I feel so weak when I need to be strong, others could handle this better, I need to be strong so I’ll pretend that I am.’

It denies us the freedom to feel, process and heal.

In life we will encounter hard times where we feel completely defeated and weak, and we need to be able to sit in that and own it.

Feeling weak does not make us less of a person. It makes us a human being capable of opening up to the real core of pain and working through it.

The freedom and blessing that comes from fully feeling through our weakness is far greater than ‘being strong’ and fighting against authentic heart emotions.

Imagine the strength of someone coming out of hardship, having lived through it fully feeling.

Fully feeling leads to fully healing…. And feeling weak is part of that!

Until next time,
Eva

For video on this post click here.

Plenty of Tea and Hands To Hold

DAPPER ESSENTIALS

It’s a bit like turning the heat up on a pot of frogs. Which, come to think of it, is a silly idea really.

You can be in that state of mind only for so long. Push you way past any limits you ever dared to think you had and then some.

In time the water will get so hot, that even though you have trained your mind to a mental state of resistance, your body will eventually tap out.

When that tap out happens, may the strength of your mind be enough to land you in the shade with plenty of tea and hands to hold.

We like to think it’s smooth sailing after the landing, if only that were the case.

The reality of the situation will only come to be as the breeze blows over you and your wounds get attended to.

Not just some quick miracle healing. No, that would shell shock the system and dismiss the beauty in forming and shaping of each scar individually.

As your hands get held and your wounds begin to seal, the taste of the tea becomes sweet, and you begin to acknowledge the shade not just as a dark cloud keeping you from the sun, but as a protection from more heat.

In that place, people may come and people may go, some bringing salve and others tearing the band-aid off carelessly. Revealing those never ending scars.

In time, that will matter less.

As the feelings start to return, so will your strength. Emotional, mental and physical.

Enough so, that you may come to a place of recognizing that many of those scars won’t be going anywhere for years to come. But you are able to look at them no longer as to what happened in that pot, but as to what happened under that tree.

And oh the beauty of you sitting under that tree, grasping the hands of so many hot pot frogs to follow.

There you will let your ever faded scars shine bright on the ever gaping wounds of those in your presence.

How sweet the tea will be!

Until next time,
Eva