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Posts Tagged ‘Memories’

New post just published this morning…hope it helps younger moms!

heartwingsblog.com
Stored memories. Every day. Some etched in technicolor, others fade…
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Prairie Creek 2016 2

Guys, have you ever wiped your eyes and said to a buddy, Man, I sure feel better after a good cry?

And you say to me, You’re joking. Right?

But ladies, I’m sure you remember your last good cry, and it made you feel better, didn’t it?

“And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27 NAS).

God made us male and female—uniquely different, but made for each other. And nowhere does this emotional difference exemplify itself more than when a man and woman are thrust into the throes of grief.

Men are fixers by nature. But guys, you can’t fix her this time. Only God can. You can’t make her tears go away, and your worst nightmare haunts your nights and days—you must travel through your own savage grief jungle of emotions and feelings. So most men do what to them seems proper—stuff those emotions deep in their hearts so they won’t have to deal with them. But, every grief stuffed will explode one day, like a shaken up Coca Cola, and it will be messy. Stuffed grief morphs into anger, depression, and countless other destructive emotions that traps and isolates the one suffering.

Meanwhile husbands, you’re left with a wife who bursts into tears every time she looks at you, or at a picture, or has a memory of her loss. A song, a TV commercial, or a flower can send her over the edge. And you don’t know what to do. So you attempt to ignore her tears, slap on a tough exterior, and a move forward attitude. Or at least that’s what you think will happen.

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But her tears don’t stop, because that’s how God made her. The pressure of sorrow and the fiery heat of loss shove women into the quagmire of grief. Female tears are like the regulator on a pressure cooker. Perhaps your grandmother had one—heat causes pressure to build inside the pot until the regulator jiggles off steam so the pot won’t explode. Tears are the regulator of grief, else the woman in your life will detonate.

Statistics show a high percentage of marriages fail after the death of a loved one, because the marriage partners don’t know how to grieve. And when their loss is a child, the rate of a failed marriage rises into the 75 to 80 percent range.

My mind travels to the couple in Orlando last week and the unspeakable, horrific, tragedy they experienced when their two-year-old was snatched and killed by an alligator. Unfortunately, when grief moves in reason and sanity flee. In our fallen state, humans seem to need to cast blame—even when there’s no cause for blame.  Couple blame with guilt, and anguish and you have a recipe for disaster.

But this couple’s marriage doesn’t have to fail, nor does yours, if you will seek help and learn how to travel through this dark and desperate valley together—but apart.

Space, coupled with understanding, is the key.

Every grief is unique, because people and relationships are unique. A father has a different relationship with his son or daughter than the mother does. Each are necessary. Each are good. But each are different. So it stands to reason the two parents would experience a different journey through grief.

Give your spouse permission to grieve in the way that brings them comfort. And that will probably mean spending some time apart—walking through this darkness together—but sometimes apart. Your wife may need to listen to the recording of the funeral many, many times. The recording may do nothing for you. Or your husband may need to spend time each week at the grave site—something that gives you the creeps. Give your mate permission to do whatever it takes to find comfort during this dark time.

Wives, schedule days with girlfriends who are comfortable with and can relate to your tears. Girlfriends who will cry with you. Then come together with your husband at the end of the day, in order to mesh your paths and plans together for the future when the time is appropriate. But assure and reassure each other of your never ending love and commitment to each other.

Keep your expectations as close to your reality as possible. None of us think or discern well during those early days of grief, but the lurking problems  can be reduced to manageable size if your expectations linger in close proximity to the reality of your loss.

In other words, wives, don’t expect your husband to sit with you for hours and watch you cry. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. No. The reality is he’s not ever going to react the same way you do.  Expecting him to join your boohoo times will leave you clutching unrealistic expectations, which will make you angry and make him more likely to avoid you like the plague.

Husbands don’t withhold hugs of comfort from your wife when she weeps. I promise your comfort won’t extend her tears, she requires your approval and understanding to move forward.

Guys don’t seclude yourself in your shop, den, or binge on hunting and fishing without explanation. Acknowledge to your wife this is how you deal with the overwhelming loss you are experiencing. Silence won’t make grief go away, but men need more silent time than women during this process.

Schedule time to talk. Openly. Honestly. And lovingly about your feelings. Please don’t be afraid of feelings. Darkness and ignoring one another morphs emotions to unmanageable, but exposing these little stinkers to light diminishes them. The very best way to accomplish this delicate balance is to find a GriefShare Support Group near you. Go to www.griefshare.org and click on Find-A-Group. Type in your zip code to locate a group nearby and go. Together.

You can’t ignore grief. You can’t go around, over, or under grief—you must travel through it. Together. There is life after grief. A good life. But it takes work, patience, and love. And yards and yards of time.

 

“Remember my afflictions and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore, I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore, I have hope in Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:19-26 NAS).

 Coming Storm 2

DiAne and her husband lost both sets of parents and a
 twenty-eight-year old daughter within a five-year period.
 She has led GriefShare Recovery Groups for the past
thirteen years and often blogs about grieving. Click
on articles from August 2012, September 2012, October, 2012
https://dianegates.wordpress.com/

 

 

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It’s that time of year when the aromas of heart and home come from the kitchen. This afternoon I pulled yummy banana breads from the oven and plopped them on hand crafted trivets my Daddy made to cool.

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Suddenly memories mesmerized me—times I had used these trivets. Unthinking, take-for-granted times. Times I had treated them like trash. But today I am thankful. Thankful for my Daddy’s thoughtfulness and love to construct these necessary tools for me. A part of him that endures and I felt his love even though he’sDSCF3940 been gone fourteen years.

I look around my home and remember the treasures we enjoy from my family and my husband’s family. And I am thankful. For them, for their love, and for the precious possessions they left behind.

Mama’s recipes have fed my family and friends. Her investments in my life become more evident with each passing day. Years ago my teenagers laughed at me one evening and confirmed, “you’ve turned into your mother.”DSCF3939

My home is blessed with her favorite things: porcelain figurines, dishes, furniture, silverware—things she loved and used everyday. Things that evoke sweet memories. Things I pray my children and grandchildren will hold dear.
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Dick’s mother lived with us in her final days and brought many of her cherished antiques to Texas from North Carolina. I’ll never forget the day we held that first garage sale in Carolina before the move. By all measurements I’m short, but Grandma Gates was even shorter. And that little woman toted stuff back inside faster than I could move them out for the sale.DSCF3949

I finally stopped, sat her down, and attempted to explain, yes, everything was bigger in Texas, except our house. We couldn’t take it all.

Today I’m so grateful I have a portion of her things to remind me of Grandma’s tenacity and fierce love of her family. I’ve rocked my grandchildren in Grandma’s rocking chair and fed them from their Papa’s baby spoons. Treasured memories.DSCF3952

Were they all pleasant recollections? Oh my, no. We’re not perfect people, just people with memories—the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I marvel what God has given, taken, and molded out of the multiplicity of cracked-pot lives that fill our family albums. I’m thankful.

What about you? As you approach Thanksgiving Day 2013, which is longer? Your thankful list or your regrets list?

The only thing going into eternity will be folks. Your folks. My folks. Family. And friends. Not stuff. While I enjoy Mama’s and Grandma’s stuff, all their things just loop me back to our relationships and times spent in their presence. Living, laughing, lamenting. And I’m thankful.

Regret steals thankfulness when we waste our lives chasing objects that will one day be destroyed, only to wake up—often when it’s too late—and realize we’ve ignored the important things. Relationships with family, friends and acquaintances. Because we were too busy, too foolish, or too self-absorbed to understand the difference between trash and treasure.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NAS).

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            Springtime in Florida was always a multi-colored landscape of hues of green, buttercup yellow, and pastel pink. We watched for those delicate white blooms to dot prickly vines that grew along roadsides and covered fence lines. Those tiny flowers with pollen-filled centers, swayed in the breeze and honey bees swarmed, promising yummy desserts and black stained fingers.

            Lumpy, green balls soon replaced the blossoms and confirmed this was indeed the perfect patch. Our very own blackberry patch. We kept an eye on those hard green spheres as they ballooned into hundreds of scarlet berries. And we waited for sunny days and spring rains to urge their yearly transformation into plump, delicious blackberries.

            Eventually the day arrived. And the berries were ripe for picking. One such day, our family piled into our ‘57 Ford, and headed toward our special berry patch alongside a country road near the marshes of the St. Johns River, outside of Jacksonville, Florida.

            The Gooding family joined this annual first-blackberry-picking event of the season. There were six of them—three boys and three girls. My brother and I brought the number to eight boisterous youngsters—ready for the hunt!

            Parents set our boundaries and issued warnings about snakes, stickers and sandspurs. They might as well-a’-been-talkin’ to the wind. We grabbed our buckets and raced down the slope to be first to find the biggest blackberry in the patch.

            Shouts of competitive exuberance filled the air.

            “I got the big one!”

            “ Nope, I do!”

             We shrieked and laughed and scrambled here and there, hoping to find the berry of the day—waiting to be picked by someone—hopefully me. And truth is, we ate as many as we picked, evidenced by toothy grins smeared with tell-tale black juice tinting our lips, our tongues, and grimy fingers.

            During one of those scrambles Elaine, running faster than all the rest, lost her balance, bounced bottom first down the sandy slope, and landed right in the middle of a patch of cactus.

            Her wails brought an end to our fun. We gathered our juice-stained buckets, full of  luscious berries and trudged up the hill. And deposited our black jewels in pans provided by the moms. The two dads carried the wounded berry-picker to the car where she laid, face-down across our laps, and cried all the way home.

            Our moms washed the black treasures, then mixed ingredients for the anticipated cobbler. My dad churned the homemade vanilla ice cream that would crown the scrumptious berries already bubbling in the oven.

             That left the unpleasant task of removing those nasty stickers from Elaine’s backside to her dad.

            I’ll admit, we were not sympathetic onlookers. She had spoiled our fun. We sneaked peeks around the corner and snickered and giggled with every shriek of pain—secretly grateful it wasn’t one of us.

            Glasses of iced tea with mint sprigs, bowls filled with warm cobbler and scoops-full of homemade ice cream proved our blackberry-picking day a success.

             Then we lingered in the backyard as the last moments of the day slipped away, swaying and singing in old wooden swings that hung by gnarled ropes from aged oak trees. But when fireflies flickered in the hedges, a whole new chase was on—to see who would capture the biggest, brightest insect.

            Everyone but Elaine, who stood with her bowl of cobbler and a sore backside. And her reward? The paddle from the ice cream churn!

            I no longer search country lanes, but drive to Walmart and buy expensive berries, packed in plastic—not a kid’s bucket—with a layer of moldy ones on the bottom.

             This evening I sat on the patio and watched the sun sink below the horizon, while the latest accounts of troubling information blared on the evening news, and my grandchildren texted me in three word sentences.

            I recalled these joyful childhood memories as I watched a couple of fireflies dart in and out of the bushes around our pond and marveled that times may change, but God is the same—yesterday, today, and forever. He is sovereign and on His Throne.

            But it makes my heart sad that my grandchildren will never experience the excitement of beating their friends to the biggest blackberry in the patch, or catching the brightest firefly in their jar, or joining lighthearted conversation with grown-ups as the day comes to an end.

            My memories of a tummy full of cobbler, topped with fresh homemade ice cream, wrapped in the blanket of love provided by family and friends, while holding my jar full of God’s miraculous, little lights, are safely tucked in the secret places of my heart.

            Precious memories this world of technology and idols can never duplicate.

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10 NAS).

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