Jul 22

God’s Will for Me to Grieve

Welcome to my blog. Maybe you are here because you saw it on Encouragement for Today, Facebook, Twitter, or you regularly visit.  IDK.  Whatever the reason, I’m glad you stopped by.  Kick off your shoes and stay a while.  I’m very informal.

Where do I begin.  It’s almost been 4 months since Mom died. I hate writing that. “Mom died”….No way.  Did she really?  No. I can’t believe it, but I know it’s true.  I know because she’s not here. I can’t call her.  I can’t see her. I can’t hear her. I can’t smell her.  And I really want to.

Since then Mother’s Day has passed and her birthday too.  Those were some of the saddest days I’ve had.  Very hard.  Thank God I have hope.  That’s about it, but I do have hope.  My mom loved the word hope.  I think the word itself gave her more hope.  Make sense?  I try to keep her perspective with me.  She would want me to be full of hope and to carry on.  And I try to do that.  One day at a time.

What I’ve learned is that grieving for everyone is different.  I can’t compare my grief to another’s.  I have not run from it. I’ve tried to face it, let it happen.  But I’m that type. I’ve learned from my past that it’s best for me to face how I’m feeling head on.  Deal with it…or at least acknowledge it.  I’ve allowed myself to feel the pain and I’ve told those close to me how I’m feeling too so they know I’m ok.  They haven’t always understood and at times I feel like no one could understand.  That is until I get a note or call from someone else in this “club” (membership requires that you’ve lost a parent or loved one…not a fun club) like my sister Tricia or Julie or Jamie or Kelly or  LeAnn or Rachel or Barb or Zoe or Robin or Andrea or Heidi or well would you looky here, there are people who understand.  I’m smiling as I type that :)  Yes, even though I “feel” like no one understands, there are quite a few who do and their words and even the pain they’ve experienced has helped me get through.

For the first few months after Mom died, I cried a lot.  Every day. Tears came easily and often. When I wasn’t crying,  I felt numb or kind of in a daze. I didn’t feel like having any fun.  And I didn’t want to talk about it or I would cry again.  I wondered if I would ever be able to have fun again. I think it was hardest on my kids. They probably thought their mom was eternally depressed.  I thought about putting up a front for them, but that didn’t seem right. They needed to know that I was hurting.  I made sure though that they knew, even though I was hurting, I wasn’t hopeless or depressed.  God was my rock and I trusted Him.  I was just really really sad! They missed their MaMaw too and they could understand that.  We all hugged lots and lots.  I think they all became a little more compassionate by watching me grieve.

Life without mom just seemed wrong. It was unnatural to me. It still is, but thankfully I’m not brought down as much as I was.  I’m not sure exactly when that stopped.  But I transitioned from crying a lot into crying a little.  And now, even though I think about her every single day I’m not as down.  When I cry now, it’s usually because something triggers it.  A commercial with a mother and daughter.  A movie that Mom liked is on Hallmark. Little House on the Prairie. The smell of fried chicken and macaroni & cheese. Or if  I need to talk to someone (like Mom) and there’s no one else who would understand.  The person who was always on my side since the first breath I took isn’t there anymore.  :(  It still makes me sad.  I guess it always will. I want her back so very bad.  With that said, I wouldn’t take her back if offered. She’s with Jesus right where she belongs and what a glorious great fun time she’s having Up There.  I’m a bit jealous I guess 😉

About a month ago I had a dream. I walked in the back door of my house and Mom was sitting at the kitchen table. She looked beautiful.  My sister was sitting with her and she had the biggest smile on her face. I couldn’t believe that Mom was there…I mean here in my home, alive and so beautiful.  I reached out to touch her, but I knew she wouldn’t really be there. But when I reached, I felt her. She stood up and hugged me tight.  I took her hair and rubbed in on my face, buried my head in her neck. I wanted to inhale every bit of her.  She said, “It’s ok.”  That’s all. The dream ended.  I woke up with a peace I hadn’t felt in a while. My emotions were mixed. Happy that I had the dream because it was so real. Sad that it was just a dream and not real.

Lately I’ve been unsettled…again and feeling a little anxious.  I’ve been thinking I need to be busier, more pro-active, more productive.  Then I read my devotion.  That’s exactly what it was about!  Ha.  I even needed it.  God’s will is for me to grieve right now and I need to keep reminding myself of that.  To rest. To not predict what’s next. To just allow Him to lead.  And y’all I like to be in control so this isn’t easy.  It’s not easy at all. But that’s ok, He has a plan and it’s His plan (not mine). I need to trust Him. I’m blessed for what I’ve lost and because God is with me all the way. (Matt. 5:4)  Sure I’m in this place because my mother recently died, but I think many of us are in a place of wait or grief for other reasons not just because we’ve lost someone.  Grief doesn’t always take place because someone died.

I’m not sure where you are.  You may be grieving the loss of a loved one like me.  You may be grieving the loss of a dream.  Maybe you don’t know what God’s will is for you.  Or what your next step in God’s will is. Remind yourself daily that as Mom said in my dream, “It’s ok.”

I’ve developed my own “Top 10 Ways I Can Choose Hope and Claim Peace”.  It has helped me so much and I want to share it with you.  It will be posted tomorrow.  To receive it, you can subscribe to my blog or just check back on your own.  If you subscribe, you’ll also receive my other Top 10 lists that will be posted in the coming days and months. The previous Top 10’s that have already been posted can be found in the “By Melissa” section of this blog.  I pray they bring you hope and comfort like that have me.

Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I appreciate your time. If you can relate to my feelings here, I encourage you to comment.  You can probably help me!  If you have some encouraging words for others, please share.  I’m a firm believer that we are in this together and we need each other.  I read every comment and email I receive and I’m thankful for each one.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for your copy of my “Top 10 Ways I Can Choose Hope and Claim Peace.”  It’s my gift to you.

Blessings and Lots of Love <3

Melissa

Comments

  1. As always, Melissa, your heart and the openness you have is such a blessing to those who know you.
    Love you!

  2. Anne Lee says:

    I couldn’t believe the title when I opened my email. I too am grieving someone, my husband of 42 years. He died January 4, 2010. And it is unbelievably hard to go on without him. I am having trouble sleeping and now having car troubles. He always worked on our cars if he could, he enjoyed it. So now I am having to rely on someone else and spend a lot of money to fix it. Some days it just seems like nothing is going right. I know God is with me, I couldn’t have made it this far. But still sometimes it is just hard to get up in the morning and go to bed at night. I can’t talk about it without crying and I feel like the tears will never stop. I know they will and I know in my heart that God is watching over me. But you know the human side of me just kicks in sometimes.

  3. Heather Karolus says:

    God’s timing is so perfect. My boss and dear friend passed away very unexpectedly this past weekend. With lots left undone and a whirlwind of questions surrounding my next steps in the ministry we serve, I do not feel I am allowed time to grieve. I must do, do, do.
    But, through your devotion today (Proverbs 31 Ministries) God showed me that I am to take time to grieve. I need to stop doing for a time and just be. He is in control, He will put people in positions to help me sort out the whirlwind, but right now I need to grieve and at the same time celebrate my friend’s homegoing.
    Thank you for your words and thank God for His wonderful timing!

  4. Thanks for your insight to grieving process. I also think people grieve differently but we all must trust that God has our backs.
    I keep on asking God what my will is and it keeps on hitting me but I just cannot grasp it.
    Please pray for me that I can figure out his will for my life or finding the next steps for my life.

  5. Thank you sooo much for your blog. I am so sorry for your loss too. I too lost my mom on March 5th. Wow! I thought the feelings of restlessness was all me. I too have anxiety issues and thought again all me. Thank God for your words and to know I am not alone. God Bless You.

  6. Dear Melissa … when I read your blog, it was like a time warp of my life – 4 years ago .. my mom with breast cancer. The months of palliative care leading up to her ‘last journey’ (but the best one) as she described it. All the feelings you are feeling , felt them … and I, too, would not want her back under those same circumstances. But my daughter got engaged and as we went into a Bridal salon to try on those first dresses, we both had a bit of a meltdown .. and thoughts of mom/grandma .. wanting to pick up the phone to announce our other daughter had her first baby, sometimes , just wanting to check out a new recipe with her :) .. best advice I also received was to take the time God wants you to have to go through the grieving process. He will be with you through that journey and that peace that knows no understanding .. it WILL be there, sometimes encased in tears, but there. God’s Blessings .. from another member of ‘the club’ …

  7. Hi Melissa,
    Thank you for sharing your heart and devotion with us on your blog and Proverbs 31 Ministries website. My heart was truly touched. I am so sorry for your loss. My mother in law passed away two year ago. She was so much more to me than my MIL, she was my friend. I could relate to so many of the things you wrote in your devotion. I too miss talking to my sweet MIL. I often wish she were here, but then I remember she is dancing with Jesus now and I would never want to take that away from her. I appreciated all that you said about grieving. It has been hard watching my husband grieve and I too have had to remember that we all grieve differently. Thank you again for sharing your heart and writing. May the God of peace and comfort continue to bless you.

  8. Melissa – it is as though you looked into my heart and mind today and were writing down my exact feelings. I lost my Mom two years ago and some days it seems like yesterday. All the emotions, joy, sadness, hope, etc., are overwhelming. As much as I miss her, I, like you, would not want her back. She was 88 years old and so ready to be with her Lord and Saviour and the rest of her loved ones. I had an older brother and sister that both died at an early age from cancer and my Dad passed away 31 years ago. Now I am the only one left. I have a daughter and two grandkids that live 3000 miles away and my daughter grieves for Nanny (my Mom) every day too. If I inherit any of my Mom’s traits I will consider it such a blessing. Strong, compassionate, confident, beautiful inside and out and a heart full of love for everyone. I thank God for finding your website and blog. Thanks for sharing your story and your heart with others. God bless you and keep on writing.

  9. Hi Melissa,
    I am a devoted Proverbs 31 Ministries reader. I read your devotion, and blog today, and cried. I too am feeling loss, but it hasn’t been because of the death of a loved one. I am grieving the “loss” of my normal life. In January my husband (46) became bedridden with back pain. In February, our daughter (18) fell sick with something that required months and months of specialists, drives out of state for diagnostic appointments. In March my husband had major back surgery and our daughter was no longer healthy enough to attend school. April I was still trying to juggle being the primary caregiver for both my husband, daughter, two dogs as well as attempt to work. By May we found out that the surgery needed a second procedure because the healing that should have been part of the process was not happening, and the school told us that our daughter would not be allowed to walk for her graduation becuase she did not have one class finished by their deadline. June came with the diagnosis of Lyme Disease for our daughter and a course of heavy duty antibiotics for a full month helped her physically heal, and our son (19) who goes to college but lives at home was in a motorcycle accident that resulted in the loss of a motorcycle but not life changing injury. He burned off most of the skin from both palms of his hands and it required dressing changes on both hands at least twice a day for the better part of three weeks. Now that we are in July, our son’s hands are healed; our daughter’s physical health has been returned to her; my husband is still in debilitating pain and has his second surgery in early September when the kids go back to school. I’ve been stretched every way I can during this time…i have no family living within 200 miles and have no church home at the time to lean on. I am tired; weary; worn to the bone and know that I will have to continue this journey without promise of rest. I work for my husband and he does not like me to be at home caring from him when he knows that my workload is suffering. Our office is made up of five people, and a month ago our CFO died unexpectedly, making the demands at work even greater. I know that there are others out there who go through this and more; yet it is difficult to still my heart when all I want to do is lay my head down to sleep but know there is so much to be done. I konw God is with me, and his presence was keeping my heart at peace until recently. Why am I letting my fatigue replace that sense of peace? Your blog spoke to me that you had some of the same feelings. Do you have a special verse you carry in your heart when the sadness gets too heavy? I need to keep a reminder in front of me, and the words that help another often can calm me too. Sisters in Christ, Brenda

  10. Angeline says:

    WOW! I am SO sorry for your loss!!! Thank-you so much for your devotional!! I am a part of “the club”, I also hate to say it, but my mom passed away on Dec 16/09. We (her kids) were her caregivers after my dad passed, suddenly, in 2006. I miss them both SO much!! I am just getting through the numb part and starting to feel the fullness of missing my mom! Not only was she with me from my first breath she prayed for me EVERY day! I was SO blessed to have the most amazing parents ever and I know they are watching over me from Heaven. I hope that I will be able to leave even half the legacy that they have. Thank-you SO much for reminding me to take time to grieve!! This was exactly what I needed to hear at the point where I am at! I hope that you continue to feel Jesus comforting you! He gave me a wonderful picture that He was holding my broken heart and I know He is doing the same for you!!!

  11. Melissa, your heart and trademark transparency touch the deepest places in our hearts. You are such a gift to those who know you and love you, and those who don’t but who are blessed by your ministry through your words and prayers. I love you so much!! Praying for you and miss you like crazy!

  12. What an awe inspiring devotional you wrote. As I read the comments left, I almost feel like I should not be grieving when I see how others have struggled!
    I lost my daughter November 4, 2009. She battled Cystic Fibrosis for 30 years. She had a double lung transplant that went into rejection after 9 months. She left a 5 yr old son and a wonderful compasionate husband. I was her caregiver for the last almost 2 yrs of her life. I watched her suffer and did not understand what God was doing. Your devo has helped me realize I still need to grieve. I miss her so much. The difficult times was when her son Christopher cried for her and didn’t understand. He is doing better as we all are. It is only God’s grace that has sustained me. I will be speaking in October at a ladies retreat in Southern New Mexico on the things Robin (my daughter) taught me thru our struggles. Thank you for your encouragement!
    Gayle

  13. Deb Searfoss says:

    Dear Melissa, my heart goes out to you for the loss of your mom. Indeed I do know how you feel. I lost my mom in January 1997 to Alzheimer’s and my dad died 8 weeks later of congestive heart failure (but I know it was a broken heart). It will be a rough time but little by little it does get better. You never stop missing them but there will be times you will feel your mom around you so strongly you will know she is with you. I had a similar dream about my dad where he came and gave me the most wonderful bear hug (and my dad wasn’t a hugger). I believe that it’s not just a dream, that God allows our loved one to visit us one last time so we know they are ok and to give us peace.
    God bless you as you go through this season of grief.
    Love, Deb

  14. Thank you for the devotion today. Thank you for opening yourself up and inviting us to share your grief. Its not easy. My father passed away too 5 years ago but at least I know that I’ll see him someday and that gives me peace. God is amazing to create any way to make that possible. Its not forever just temporary. Btw your devotional help me to see that its ok that Idk what God’s will is for me yet. Thanks for that it helps gives me peace. Praying that God’s love heals your wounded heart. :) Have a better day! Grace

  15. Hi Melissa,

    Please accept my condolences in the loss of your mother. I lost my father many years ago when I was only 17. There are times I still miss him. Thank you for sharing your devotional on grieving. My husband of 16 years died almost 6 years ago. Then a year ago, a relationship I believed would end in marriage…simply ended. Without explanation or reason. In the past 6 years, I have grieved twice. I mistakenly thought that with the broken relationship, my grief over losing my husband a few years earlier would prepare me to handle the broken relationship easily and quickly. I was so wrong. Actually, the death of my husband turns out to be the easier grief. I have learned just how painful betrayal and rejection can be. I was not prepared for either. But God was. He has been my sole (soul) source of healing. I have never been closer to my Savior than I am right now. From the heartache and shattered dreams, God has given me a task to do – that of writing a devotional book. I know this will take time and discipline and God is giving me both. During this process, I am also submitting devotionals for consideration to several periodical publishers. God has put me into contact with Christian publishers and authors and is opening doors. It is a wonderful and exciting learning process! I have also set up a Christian website where I share Scripture, lessons I once taught as a home group leader, quotes, songs, and other encouragment. He will restore to me all that was stolen (Joel 2:25). He has surrounded me with friends who support, encourage and pray for me. He has led me to so many wonderful devotional books so that I can learn as I write. Out of the ashes we can rise, if we trust God to guide us. He will give me new dreams. I am still grieving for the broken relationship. I don’t know how long this process will take, but I do know who’s holding my hand every step of the way. I too have days where I cry – without really knowing why. Grief is a process and I believe God wants us to go through it – it is part of the healing process. I will be praying for you as you go through this process for your mother. Thanks again for sharing so much of your personal feelings with us. Sincerely, Angie Davis

  16. Melissa,
    Tears were in my eyes before I even read your devotion. I knew God was about to minister to me through your message. On April 25,2010 I received a call that my best friend had committed suicide on the anniversary of the day her husband died 9 years earlier, leaving behind a 16-year-old daughter. I was overwhelmed but went into caretaker mode as I notified friends, acted as ambassador for our church, and helped her family prepare for her funeral. I was blessed to be able to give the eulogy and say good bye. I helped empty her house to sell it and then…life went on. Life went on but I feel stuck. At times I am just overwhelmed with grief, especially as I sit in church and miss my friend who sat beside me every Sunday. The simplest things seem too daunting for me and I…just…feel…lost.

    I agree, this is my time to grieve. I need to allow myself and not feel guilty. I think sometimes people around me think I should be over it by now, but that loss was so devastating. So I am going to give myself the permission to grieve that God has given me through His word. Thank you for reminding me.

  17. I love you, sweet friend. Thank you for your open heart. You bless us.

  18. It’s my first time to your blog, however, I checked and we do already follow each other on Twitter. :)

    My sister-in-law forwarded the devo to me today. She knows I’m grieving, too. I lost my mother on June 12. I sometimes think it still hasn’t completely soaked in.

    Daddy was her caregiver, not me, so I grieved each time I left their house. Each time she was a little more frail. But still, we never think it will really end.

    I never thought I could watch someone die, see them take their last breath right in front of my eyes. I did.

    I’ve never cried as much as I did that day. Never felt such a loss. I told someone this strange analogy. When you have a baby, it’s indescribable. You have this part of you that is 100% you, yet 100% separate too. To lose a child or be the child who loses the mom, is to experience the opposite. Having had that amazing connection with another, and then for it to be gone. It’s as if a part of you has died, just as you said.

    I don’t know why I’m writing so much. I apologize, for my comments are more like a post of my own. Thanks for reading. Thanks for writing. Thanks for being real.

    God does have a plan for us both. This shared event in our lives is not a surprise to Him. I’m thinking of my life as a book, and as sad as it is to close this latest chapter, I know God has written more. I’m praying to be able to read them clearly through the tears in my eyes.

  19. Kristin says:

    Hi Melissa, You have no idea how much I needed your devotion on grief. I just found out a week ago that my mom has cancer of the chest cavitity and it has spread to the liver. She has chosen alternative treatment methods in lieu of chemo and radiation. She says she is choosing quality of life over quantity. We have no idea how long we have with her. She is my best friend and truly the only one that understands me. She has been mine & my son’s #1 cheerleader since the day we both took our first breath. She lives 4 hours away with my father who has his own health issues. I have found all cards and letters of encouragement she has ever sent me as well as pictures to surround myself with when ever the need arises. All that you say you are feeling, I am already feeling. I feel like I’m on one long continuous roller coaster. Your devotion gave me a small window of the feelings I can expect to feel as your relationship with your mom sounds very much like mine with my mom. It gives me peace to know that with my faith & friends I will survive. Thank you.

  20. patricia says:

    Melissa-
    My heart is with you as you grieve the loss of your mom. I have never known what it was like to lose a loved one until I lost my husband on valentines day this year. It is still difficult and sometimes I wonder how I am able to make the decisions I need to make. I have wonderful friends who tell me “you are doing it”, and I know I am, with the grace of God. For the first time, a co-worker asked me about my faith, because she saw it in me. I was thrilled to share Christ’s love with her.

  21. Sue Schwendemann says:

    Melissa,
    I am so sorry to hear about your Mother. I time does not stop that emptiness in your heart. My Mom passed away in 1985 in an car accident coming to see me. I blamed myself for years over that. There were many what ifs…….. I also took care of my dad and step-mom for years before they passed, and both at the same time. Until dad went to a nursing home and my step-mom to her daughter’s. I hope and pray your mom went to the Lord at peace and not in a lot of pain. I still wait for them to call or come in the door. just remember the Lord is with you. If you have time this CD has really helped me…. Maranatha music puts it out A Healing Journey Through Grief, two CD’S, ISBN number 3859713992. I hope this helps you. Oh, I am now caring for my husband who has heart problems 30% useage. You are in my prayers and thoughts.
    Blessing,
    Susan

  22. I had to thank you and I’m so glad I’m able to. I am sure God gave you this message for me personally and I’m so happy others like me found it too. God is using you and your pain. I am so happy your mother is safe now and with our dear Lord Jesus. It makes me smile.

    I’ve been so hard on myself for a very long time for grieving for someone I lost. He was the love of my life. His name is John and he needs prayer. He lost his sobriety again and after two years, I had to say enough. I miss the person he seemed to be when we met and I have a hard time still missing him. But your words brought comfort to me. I’m OK now knowing it is alright to be this sad. Just like you said, I am very sensitive that people think I’m depressed or crazy…but I’m just that sad still. It has gotten better and after a year plus of crying a lot, I have really slowed down. Tonight, I’m crying because God showed me through your pain that I’m OK. I was beginning to think I was different. God bless you and take courage to believe every word you said about God’s understanding and being OK about our time of grief. I feel strongly that you are 100% right. I pray you find peace in knowing how much your words and insight encouraged my very soul.

    Tamara

  23. Melissa,
    I lost my husband of 37 years just 6 weeks ago. He died of ALS and I stayed home and cared for him for a little over a year. It has been very hard to not have him here…especially after giving him constant care for that time. I thought that after he died I’d want to go places all the time because I couldn’t leave our home much during that time, but the opposite is true. I find comfort at home…it’s like I feel close to him here. I’m very glad for him because he’s no longer confined to a body that can’t move and that he’s rejoicing in heaven with his Savior.

  24. Melissa,
    I have had that same dream about both my Grandmothers and then about my Mother n law. I had such a peace about them after each one. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Mona Mauro says:

    I am weeping. Your grief devotion and many sweet replies, have filled my heart. My mom was diagnosed with a very rare breast cancer on Thanksgiving Day 2009. We’ve been through surgeries, radiation, masectomy, chemotherapy, etc. It has been a nightmare experience, but in God’s hand. My siblings and I are care givers. It is an honored place … but a long difficult walk. My father is also ill with Parkinson’s. Please know God has used everyone’s thoughts have encouraged my heavy heart. Thank you.

  26. My mom died many years ago. My grandmother was the person that I always felt raised me. She died last September. I was blessed to be able to make it home to spend her final days at her side so that she did not slip her earthly bonds alone. I was able to hold her hand, stroke her cheek and kiss her and tell her I loved her and how much I would miss her. I consider that such a precious gift from God to be able to do that for the woman who meant the world to me. I think about her many times every day and thank God forthe fact that I was able to share my life with her.
    May God grant all of you peace!

  27. Jenny Fernandez says:

    Dear Melissa,
    When I read the title to the Prov 31 devotions in my inbox, I knew I needed to wait until the right time to read it. Tonight is that night. You see, I lost my mom on April 21st of this year to lung cancer as well. For her, it was an almost 2 yr process from the day of diagnosis and she fought the good fight, she finished the course, and above all she kept the faith. She is with Jesus now. I read your blog and cried and cried the entire time I read it. My parents and me and my family live on the same property of over 5 acres in East TN. Mom was only sick during her 4 chemo treatments in 2008 and then not until the cancer recurred in September of 2009 did she start getting sick in February of this year. It was in a way quick but not. Do you know what I mean? The praise is that she never was in any pain. Her struggle was breathing. In those final weeks, not knowing how long she had, she could only sleep sitting up. Even on a few meds to help her sleep without being anxious, she would sing praises to the Lord. She loved having scripture read to her….especially Psalms. My sister and brother were able to fly up from Florida 2 1/2 weeks before she passed away and we were all there to take care of her with my dad. I feel everything you have typed and still have my times of crying. My boys(I have 3) miss their Gran terribly, especially the middle one. My youngest has become even more attached to his “Boompa” , my Dad. Dad is lonely. That hurts too. She and Dad were married for 42 yrs. Life wasn’t perfect but good. I cannot believe she’s gone either. My sister is struggling still as am I. It is a day to day process. I was there when her heart stopped beating and she left her body and went to be with the Lord. Thanks again so much for your words. It’s so good to know others know what you are feeling and going through. Oh, my mom was 62 when she passed away – about a month before her 63rd bday. So yes, I too have celebrated a Mother’s Day and her bday without her too soon. I am 38 and never thought I would not have my mother at this age. BUT God is faithful and I will continue to trust Him. May the Lord continue to give you peace, comfort and your time to grieve. Love in Christ, Jenny

  28. Kathleen says:

    Dear Melissa,
    I’ve neglected reading my daily Proverbs 31 posts but tonight, your title caught me eye. Thank you for sharing your experience & giving permission to grieve as long as one requires.
    I can relate, my father went to his eternal home on March 2nd, 2010. He was in reasonable good health, at age 86, until he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December. I live 1,400 miles away from my father but I was grateful I was home to support him in his first week of treatment. The world of cancer, treatments, nausea, doctors, were all compiled into a ball of confusion.

    I flew back to Minnesota to be with my father the end of February. Dad stopped his treatments, he decided not to continue to live in misery. Although I would not wish pain & suffering for my father to continue longer than his poor body could handle, but my siblings agree, the treatment killed him before the cancer would have. Hospice was superb in their caregiving for my father & my family. All 7 of us were around dad’s bed at home when he spent his last breath. I have to tell you…that in itself was a miracle! You see, 1 of my brothers was not speaking to 2 other siblings, so for all of us to be in the same room was astonishing. I told my father before he passed, this was his last, loving act he gave his children.

    I have moments where I feel I’m moving 1 step forward and 2 steps back, I cannot make any headway in my life. I’ve had challenging times before but my life has been riddled with constant issues in the last 4 months. I’ve been unable to force myself to get into any normal, healthy routine and feel like I’m going through the motions. Sometimes, I feel like I’m letting God down because I’m in my own little world and keeping Him out. My spiritual life has suffered as well. I trust in God and believe a better day will surface, I don’t know when but I know, His loving arms are surrounding my broken heart now. I understand God has a plan for my life, I think He is allowing me to breathe right now and giving me time to heal. My heart is touched by all the comments made on this blog, I find comfort in all the stories people have shared. May God bless you all!

  29. Sandy Meadows says:

    Melissa,
    As I was reading your devotion today I felt as if that was me writing. It will be four years in August since I lost my mother to cancer. Your situation is very similiar to mine. I can tell you God has been by my side every step of the way. Yes, you will have some very difficult days but you do begin to heal. I could not imagine myself being where I am today four years ago. I thought I could not go one without my mother. The peace that God can give you is like no other. I will be praying for you as you go through this time of grieving. I know God will give you the strength to get through each day. Take care and I’ll be remembering you in my prayers.

  30. Dear Melissa, All is so true of what you wrote. I am Jenny’s sister (she commented as well) and we found ourselves taking care of mom the last 3 weeks of her life.She died on April 21st of lung cancer. My heart is so broken. But I find myself staying busy to keep from “going there”. For when I do stop and think and take time to cry I feel like it won’t stop and I won’t be able to function. Thank you for your encouraging words and testimony to our God’s great mercy and grace. For He does give you what you need when you need it. This has blessed me today.

  31. Wow, I just found your blog. My 16 year old son went home to be with his Father 12 years ago. Your words reflected how I felt those first few months. I was brought to tears when I read about your perspective that God wanted you to grieve for right now. Then, I was so blessed by your top 10 list. I still miss my son, but the lessons I have learned over the years about God’s love for me and that He is control and I am not are ones that I cherish. They are part of who I am today. I am so thankful that I found your blog. BTWY, I have never written a comment to anyone before.

  32. My dearest brother has been gone for nearly a year. Gave up on life. I still grieve. It was hard at first to grieve but now I can. I miss him very much.

  33. I loved how you said that a piece of you died with your mom. My grandfather died a year and a half ago, and I feel like part of me died with him. I miss him so much he was like a father to me, raised me from the time I was a baby. What made it worse was happened to my extended family once he died, we no longer speak and I know he would have hated that. It took me about a year to finally feel at peace with his death. I still find myself wanting to talk to him about stuff. But I know that my heavenly Father is there and I talk to Him..

  34. Heather Waddell says:

    I felt like you were sending me a letter! I lost my Daddy to lung cancer Aug 3, 2009. I thought the worst part would be seeing him go through it, but I was wrong. Since he died, it has been so hard. Thank you for these words.

  35. Melissa, I am blown away by your devotiontoday, then your blogpost. You could be me, I could be you. We lost my mother-in-law March 19, kidney cancer that had metasticized into her lungs. Actually found it in her lungs first. When I read all you wrote about your mom I really was blown away. It is like God is confirming that we really are NOT alone in this journey and that there really are others who KNOW what we are going through. Grief is not at all pretty sometimes. It has not been for me. Thank you for your encouraging words. I look forward to visiting your blog again.

  36. Thanks Melissa for sharing your grief. I too lost my loved ones – my parents to cancer in 1989 who died 2 months apart. In the early months, I would have illusions that I would see them at their chores or sitting at certain places when I come home. Thank God for His grace which is always sufficient when we need them. I really cannot remember how I went through that phase. And then when I recovered somewhat from it, my youngest sister went home with the Lord in 2005. It was very painful for me, as we have drawn closer to each other after my parents demise and she had become my confidante. I went into depression for a while as I find it hard to understand that God would take her home when she had 4 children and the youngest is only 8 years old. Moreover, I need her to help share the gospel with my siblings (9) & pray for them. I feel lonely as I cannot share with friends about my family problems. We talked a lot about it. She was also the one who often encouraged me to walk closer to the Lord. She was courageous and fight a good fight of faith till the end – never complained and will spend her time reading God’s Word & praying not just for herself but for others. Before her last moments, God sent friends to her to sing for her. Even a few years after her homegoing, I couldn’t mention her name as I would be so choked & crying inside.

    Melissa, at least you have a blog and an outlet to share your grief. I never have one. It was so painful even for me to write/journal it then. May God’s comfort, strength be upon you as take this journey of grief.

  37. Amanda Miner says:

    I was 27 when I got the phone call my brother, just a year older than I, died in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. That call was 7 years ago on the 27th and although I miss him terribly, the grief is not so unbearable. I cry still and the week leading up the the anniversary (this week, and yes, I am a little teary-eyed as I write this) is hard, I know where he is. The grief is for me and my family. There is a little sadness that settles on our family when we are all together, but that is normal I think. I think something might be wrong if that weren’t the case. I’ve moved on from thinking of him, then instantly about the accident then about his life. It’s sort of rearranged itself. I think of him, about his life, then the accident. It’s always there, will always be there-that sadness-but that’s just because I miss him.

    Peace settles when I allow myself to feel the sadness, give it to God, cry it out, and know that this is not the end. The world is broken, but there is something so powerful to say, “I am sad”, I feel memories slip away, his voice isn’t so clear and I forget what his laugh sounds like, but God in His perfect peace allows me to remember this is all temporary and there is an unmarred world waiting for me. The world where separation and grief and being away from those we miss is gone. I long for those days, but I don’t want to rush the days I do have here on earth with my children, my husband, and the things God is calling to my heart.

    My encouragement: our heart was made by God, the one who feels loss and sadness, and He has a powerful way of transforming sadness into an even deeper level of relationship to Him – if we allow Him. He isn’t afraid of our tears, our anger, our pain, our questions. He encourages us to take all those things to Him and let Him sort it all out. He didn’t create these things to make us suffer, but to allow Him to show up.

  38. Carly (Stanwood, Wa) says:

    Melissa, thank you so much for your wonderful, heartfelt words. They hit so close to home for me. My precious mom, Penny, Died on May 5th of this year. I still can’t believe it myself even when I write it. She was my dearest friend and the best mom I could have ever prayed for. I am still trying to sort it all out and adjust to living day to day without her. I have 4 beautiful children that miss their gramma so much. I miss her voice, her smell, her laugh, her touch. She was such a comfort to me here. Life seems wrong with her gone but, my HOPE is in Jesus to see her again! I don’t know what I would do without that hope. It is great to read all of the comments from others who share the same path of grief. We’re all hurting but, we all have Hope! Thanks again for your words. God Bless you and your family and I’m so sorry for your loss.

  39. Cindy K says:

    My dear “club” friend,
    I have never felt like God delivered something right to my heart more than I did this morning. This devotional was written straight from God to my heart. I too lost a dear parent. My father passed away of a heart attack on January 2, 2010. 4 days after my family and I moved 600 miles away. We went into a whirlwind and traveled back to a place we had just left. We had lived there for 10 years only 3 blocks from my parents. My dad was my rock. He was my daddy and I miss him soooo much! He was an amazing christian man who left a leagacy of love, life, joy, and a walk with the Lord that was amazing. Life is hard and very confusing at times. I know and believe in God’s plan for my life I just feel very confused right now and that it is blury. Thanks for your words. Thanks for your permission to let my children (5 of them) seeing me hurt very deeply. Thanks for touching my heart and knowing that God is still there I just have to trust that the joy and peace I once knew with every fiber of my being will return. Someday. In HIS time. Thanks for reminding me that part of that process is my choice and for this moment I am going to try and reach for that choice of peace. for this moment. Blessings to you in this process and journey we are in of grief.
    Cindy

  40. Hi Melissa,
    I read your blog and all the comments today also with a heavy heart, my Mom passed away on Jan. 29, 2010 of COPD, we watched her struggle to breathe and other complications. My Dad was her caregiver, I have a younger sister and I had an older sister who passed away three weeks before my Mom. Our family has been through so much and I can relate to all you have said. It has helped me to read these because I have been struggling with my feelings of how to grieve, I have never grieved so hard before for anyone and I really don’t know how. I know I hold things inside because I want my family to think I am strong. My husband says he can’t believe how well I have done these past months but he really has no clue what I have been feeling. I know God is with me, and has given me His peace and hope. I have two wonderful sons, and two beautiful grandchildren and another on the way. God is truly blessing. I wish there was a manual to tell us how to grieve. I guess that manual is the bible. I feel so confused and lost but I know that God is with me. Thanks for your writings. Deb

  41. Kim Osborne says:

    Dear Melissa

    Again thank you for sharing your heartfelt loss, and my condolences on your mom. I lost dad exactly a month ago today. Wow talk about my heart being pulled out of my chest. Yes a big part of me died too – I was his caregiver for the past 9 years as I am an only child and my mom separated from him. I found letters and random thoughts I suddenly realise how depressed he was about his ill health and I never really knew as he always had a smile – a true christian who loved our Lord. I miss him so much and yes, now I know I am not the only one who has ever felt this way after reading your blog. I never realized what excruciating pain death could be, but I am hanging on to Psalm 23 as our Saviour is always with us. Dad only passed through the shadow of death – and like we know shadows can never harm us. Keeping you in my prayers during this difficult time. God bless you. Kim

  42. Penny Carlson says:

    Dear Melissa:
    As a young pastor’s wife, with three young children and the fourth on the way (but still a “secret” to my out-of-state family) the unexpected phone call came on Sunday, Novemer 17, 1991. On my parents’ way home from church they were involved in a car accident and my mother was ushered into the presence of God. That was in western New York. I was in the cornfields of Iowa. Our youngest had woken with the stomach flu and so I was home with her, changing sheets, clothing and giving bath after bath that morning, into early afternoon. My husband returned from church and I began, “I know this is ridiculous, we’ve been married 10 years but I am so homesick for my Mom.” We were in the middle of our conversation saying how fortunate to be close in proximity of family, to enjoy those routine trips to the grocery store, to her garden, for a spontaneous lunch, etc. when the phone call came…”Dad’s banged up but Mom didn’t make it.” I thought she wasn’t at the hospital yet…didn’t make it…didn’t make it where? Grief looked differently for each of my siblings as well. Three years later our last child arrived. I grieved that my younger children never knew their grandmother and that she would never played a part in their growing up. I grieved that her absence changed “going home.” My dad never learned how to finish his grieving process. Though I could easily talk about mom with him, it was extremely difficult for him to express his very “English heart!” My dad just passed away in February, 2009. Because I was so far away from my family when Mom died, upon learning that my dad had had a heart attack, I began begging God to let me be with him, before he died. We drove 16 hours straight through and God answered that prayer of mine. I spent the last night with him and in the morning read Psalm 91and said, “what a great day, Dad it would be to join mom.” He passed away within an hour of our prayer together. I realized at his funeral that though Dad had survived the accident, a part of him died in 1991 and he never knew how to re-engage in life. Toward the end of his life, (93 years) he disconnected emotionally with much of our family. Memories get distorted with time but the best quote I can remember and identify with is this: “while fathers are the head of the family, mothers are the backbone…they keep everything in place.” Our head remained but her passing altered our family greatly. I don’t think anyone understands how the “vacant chair” at the Thanksgiving table effects the dynamics of a family…until we each go through our own experience of loss. As a mother of children who are now launched or on the verge of being launched, my role has changed and continues to change. I find myself mentoring young women that God has sprinkled in my life whether at church or at school where I work and two platforms that are close to my heart are the brevity of childhood and the near sacred-bond between mothers and daughters. Grief certainly is universal, Melissa. Thank you for sharing your journey.