Posts Tagged ‘death’

Some more thoughts for those who have lost loved ones in the Clutha bar tragedy last Friday…

You painted me a picture of tomorrow
A place where you and I walked hand in hand
A world without despair and without shadows
But things just didn’t turn out how we’d planned
Now you’re gone

And I believe that there is somewhere
Where the angels fill the sky
And I believe we’ll live forever
You and I, you and I
Will never die

I wonder if you knew that you were leaving
I thought that I saw something in your eyes
You painted me a picture of believing
I’ll see you there on the other side
And I’ll be there

And I believe that there is somewhere
Where the angels fill the sky
And I believe we’ll live forever
You and I, you and I
Will never die

Life may not have worked out as you expected in these last few days, but be assured that your loved ones who have passed away are looking down on you now. They will live forever in your hearts and minds.

We can live forever because of God, and that I pray will give you hope for today and for the future.

Aunt Mae (Aug 2011)Today, the 23rd October, is another sad day for us, as today would have been my Aunt Mae’s 91st birthday.

It’s now just over 6 months since my Aunt Mae passed away, but just typing these words have started my tears flowing again. In many ways it seems like just yesterday Aunt Mae passed away, just 6 weeks after my Dad died. However in many other ways it seems like an eternity since both Aunt Mae and Dad were here with us.

I have thought of my Aunt Mae every day since she died.

I have shed many tears every day since Aunt Mae died.

I have missed my Aunt Mae every day since she died.

As Aunt Mae’s dementia worsened, she, just like my Dad, failed to recognised us or acknowledge that she knew us and latterly her personality completely changed, as she went from being a loving caring person to someone who was angry and aggressive…that just wasn’t my Aunt Mae. Having said that, during her final few days in the hospital, she did seem to have a the odd moment of clarity, as at one point when Mum apparently told her I was on my way in to see her she smiled and tried to say my name…

I am in no way saying there was no bond between Aunt Mae and the rest of my family, but I know there was always a special place in her heart for me, after all I was named after her as Mum and Dad gave me her name as my middle name, Mary.

These have been incredibly difficult months for my family, and my Mum in particular – Mum’s struggled to come to terms with the death of first my Dad and then Aunt Mae, but she’s getting there, as am I. I would however ask that today, as we remember my Aunt Mae in particular, on what would have been her birthday, that you continue to pray for us as we continue to grieve the death of two much-loved members of our family, my Aunt Mae and my Dad.

I love you Aunt Mae, and I miss you so much. You’ll always be in my thoughts and firmly in my heart. Dorothy xxx

Relationship_with_God

This last week my blog posts have focused on faith, culminating in finishing yesterday’s blog post by asking you:

Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you have faith in Christ?

So I asked you yesterday about your faith, but what the faith of those you love, your family and friends, do they believe in Jesus Christ?

Well for me that question has played very heavily on my mind since my Dad died earlier this year. Why? Because my Dad always said he didn’t believe in God and therefore, as far as I know, he died with no faith…

Having said that, several people have told me that because Dad had dementia and therefore found it difficult to communicate with us or understand what we were saying to him or asking of him, that doesn’t mean he didn’t find God, or more accurately God didn’t find him, before he took his final breath.

I’ve been struggling to come to terms with this for months, however some words from another family member have given me some comfort – Please remember as you read this that just 6 weeks after my Dad died, my Mum’s sister, my Aunt Mae also died:

Aunt Mae was a very proud and loyal Salvationist and although your dad wasn’t a believer, he’ll be watching over you proud that you are and I’m sure he will be up there now learning about what you, your mum and Aunt Mae have spent your lives celebrating! God will have a place for him, he was a great person with a huge heart. I don’t think there’s anything for you to wish you had done more, when someone lives their whole life a certain way without the guidance, maybe its hard to adapt. Aunt Mae will be showing him the light.

god-is-in-controlEven as I write this post, the tears are streaming down my face, because those words remind me that yes, Dad professed no faith for many years, but who knows what seed Mum, Aunt Mae and I may have planted and how that seed may have grown as Dad’s dementia took him from us. I’m reminded that in the last few months that Dad lived at home with Mum, he would burst into tears during some of the songs/hymns when Mum was watching Songs of Praise on a Sunday night. He could never tell us why he cried, however I now look back on those occasions and wonder, and pray, that somehow God managed to reach Dad through the music.

I have prayed so many times in these last few months that Dad found God before he died. I also continue to pray that God will use me to influence my other family members who have not yet given their heart to God, because when my time comes to leave this world, I want to be sure I’ll be reunited with my whole family in heaven – but, at this moment I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

If any of your loved ones have not yet accepted God into their life, I pray that they too will God before their time on earth is over.

It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything in my “Managing Grief” series, but it’s not because there was nothing more to suggest, simply I couldn’t write the words down. As many of you will know, there have been two bereavements in my own family in the last couple of months (my Dad and my aunt), and I think it’s only been in the last few weeks that I’ve begun to truly grieve for them.

Anyway, onto today’s thoughts on how to manage your grief…

Be realistic in your expectations.

In Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies by Marta Felber, Marta writes the following:

My loved one died on January 25. Almost immediately, I began to dread the next Christmas without him, exactly 11 months away!

The way in which she coped with her anxiety about the coming Christmas was to plan carefully and keep her expectations realistic:

“Try to have reasonable expectations. There are important ways in which celebrations will not, and cannot, ever be the same again. So it is okay to plan for them to be different. Be realistic about what you can handle, both physically and emotionally. Be kind to yourself and nurturing.”

Elderly woman sitting in an armchairI can truly relate to those sentiments, as my Dad died on 21st February this year, and just a couple of weeks ago, on the 25th April, we had to cope with my Dad’s first birthday since he passed away. It was awful knowing that for the first time in my life we didn’t have to wonder what to buy Dad for his birthday, but, more importantly, we wouldn’t even be celebrating the day with Dad anymore. The 25th April was a working day for me, and I can truthful tell you that I don’t know how I got through that day at work in one piece as my heart was most definitely with Dad.
I can only imagine how hard it was for Mum. However to make sure Mum wasn’t on her own all day, feeling sorry for herself and getting upset as Dad was no longer here, we took her out at night for a meal…not to celebrate Dad’s birthday but just to remember Dad on what would have been his special day. It turned out though that Mum had actually been out most of the day, as in the afternoon, she apparently went down to the nursing home Dad had been in (and died in), and spent time there with the nurses who had cared for, and looked after Dad so well during his time there.
We got through the first of our significant days since our two bereavements by setting realistic expectations, so I know it will work, so please try this for yourself.

Today, the 25th April is another sad day for us, as today would have been my Dad’s 86th birthday.

Dad at our weddingIt’s now just over 2 months since my Dad passed away, but just typing these words have started my tears flowing again. It really doesn’t seem like 2 months since Dad died, mind you a lot of that has to do with the fact in that interim time as many of you know, my Mum’s older sister, my Aunt Mae, also passed away. My Aunt Mae’s funeral was just over 2 weeks ago, so I’ve found that since then, I’ve finally been able to grieve for my Dad, as up until then I never really got a chance to grieve because my Aunt Mae was so ill.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not mean I am not grieving for my Aunt Mae as well as my Dad, as I most definitely am, but as you can probably understand, I am really missing my Dad.

I have thought of my Dad every day since he died.

I have shed many tears every day since Dad died.

I have missed my Dad every day since he died.

Yes, Dad’s illness in his final few years meant he was never really the Dad I knew and loved during, but even in those days when his vascular dementia meant he rarely knew us, or had any kind of conversation with us, there was still the odd time when he’d look at me and say, “Hello my lovely young lady” – something he often called me for many years. The days he said that to me became fewer and further apart, but when he did day them, they always brought tears to my eyes…and they most certainly have again tonight as I typed this post. The sad thing is no sooner would he uttered those words than he would become that vacant vessel again which didn’t understand what was going on around him, who was with him or indeed understand that he knew us.

These have been incredibly difficult months for my family, and my Mum in particular – Mum’s struggling to come to terms with the death of my Dad and Aunt Mae over these last couple of months. Therefore I’d ask today, as we remember my Dad on what would have been his birthday, that you continue to pray for us as we continue to grieve the death of two much-loved members of our family.

I love you Dad, and I miss you so much. You’ll always be in my thoughts and firmly in my heart. Dorothy xxx

I’m alive and well
Your spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again

I am alive, but I don’t always feel well. However in a spiritual sense all is well.

That hasn’t always been the case though I’m afraid, as I have been through some very dark times, when I did question God, and felt He had deserted me. However having got through those times, I know that the only reason I made it through those days was because God was with me and He was the one responsible for helping me through those days.

God lives in me, and I pray that as I live each day, others may realise these is something different about me, and that they can see Christ in me.

Amazing love
How can it can
That thou my God should die for me

I find it totally amazing that someone should died just so I can forever be forgiven of my sins. I don’t know about you, but I know of no-one else that would actually be willing to give their life for me.

Christ died over 2 thousand years ago, but still we celebrate His life, and His death after all these years. Who else can we say that about?!

As I’ve said several times over the last few days, I feel so humble and inadequate at all God has sacrificed for me, and all He continues to do for me. However, I know I can repay God for all the love He shows me on a daily basis, by giving the whole of my life to God.

How about you, are you thanking God for all he does for you by giving your life to Him? If you haven’t done so yet, today, Easter Monday is your day to say “Yes“, to Christ!

As I’ve mentioned in my previous Managing Grief blog posts I’m doing a series on how to manage grief following the loss of a loved one.

So what do I want to focus on today…holiday times!

Holiday times can be physically draining at the best of times, never mind when it’s the first holiday time you’ve experienced since your loved one died. it may also be a lonely time for you as you may not have other friends and family around you to support you through this time.

In Managing Grief #2 I said it was important to remember your loved one, and this is no more relevant than during holiday times. So make sure you take time during these period not just to try to come to term with the fact that your loved one is no longer with you during these holidays, but also to remember and even laugh at memories of past holiday occasions.

They always say “laugher is good for the soul”, well I would add that “laughter is good for grief”. i.e. Remember the good times with your loved one, remember the funny stories/events that have taken place during holiday occasions and smile and laugh at them once again.

So don’t be lonely during the holiday times, whether that means you’ve got friends and family around you or whether that means you’re by yourself remember past holidays with your loved one…whatever you find yourself doing, enjoy the memories, laugh at the funny memories because they will do you the world of good.

funny-random-happy-memories

As I’ve mentioned in several previous blog posts (Managing Grief #1 and #2), I’m doing a series of blog posts on how to manage grief following the loss of a loved one.

Today, it’s all about you!

finger-pointing

One of the most important things to do following a bereavement is to make sure you look after yourself physically. We can so often be caught up organising the funeral and taking care of all the practical things that need done following the death of a loved one, that we forget to look after our own health.

If there has been a period of hospital visiting prior to your loved one passing away, it’s likely that you have been rushing around doing all your normal daily tasks plus visiting them in hospital every day, and that can have a detrimental affect on your health, never mind coping with their death!

So take care of yourself physically, because you will be no use to anyone if you are ill, and your grieving process will be even harder if you don’t feel well.

I came across the following acronym and found it useful, so please try to remember this and follow its instructions:

DEER

  • Drink
  • Eat
  • Exercise
  • Rest

I mentioned the other day in Managing Grief #1, that I would be doing a series of blog posts giving some ideas on how to manage grief.  Today it’s about remembering your loved one…

Just because your loved one is gone doesn’t mean you should try to remove any thought of their passing from your mind. It’s important to be realistic about your loss, and not try to hide from the fact that there is an empty space in your life that they once filled.

I’m not saying we should immortalise them and never move on with your life, simply that you need to give yourself time to grieve – That in turn leads to the question of the how long is appropriate for us to grieve. The answer to this questions in itself is unknown as we are all different and all cope with grief differently, so grieve for as long as you need to.

When your with family and friends, don’t be afraid to talk about your loved one by sharing your memories of them, because in doing so you are helping you, and in turn showing your family and friends that it is actually ok to speak about the person.

I hope none of this sounds cold and dismissive, it is not intended to be. I simply feel that it is worthwhile to remember the person who has died and talk about them. i.e. It should not be taboo to talk about someone because they’ve died, but instead it should be good to share memories.