Dear friends,
Today my son-in-law speaks at his long-time friend’s funeral…and I think of his mom. Another friend posted a note that her ten-year-old son died 17 years ago. I think of the moms in the grief group I host who are forever missing their children who left this life either very young or even older. A mother’s heart is forever missing part of herself with the loss of a child. I “just happened” to run across this poem written by Steve, my first husband who wrote a lot about death and life…

A Mother’s Grief

In the womb of a woman a life began
And she felt the new life grow.
She put the child within God’s hands
And she loved her new child so.

As the breath of life touched his lips
She held him in her arms.
She thanked God for the gift He gave.
Please keep him safe from harm.

But as the child grew in his years
Sickness closed in on him.
As the mother realized her deepest fears,
Why had God done this to them?

As she knelt down to pray
She felt a gentle hand.
The light was brighter than the day
And beside her God did stand.

“I cry the tears just as you do
And I feel the pain you feel.
Though your child’s life here is almost through
My love for him is real.”

“You see I do not take him from you
For the bond you have can’t break.
As I say these words are true,
I save him from the snakes.”

“Yes, by My side he’ll walk today
And his pain will be no more.
In My arms, he’ll find his way
To the road to heaven’s door.”

“I also say he’s in your heart
And beside you he will be.
Just as he was when his life did start…
Now he walks beside of Me.”

“There will come a day when you’ll touch again
And you’ll hold him to your breast
For your child is only with a friend.
He did not die, he only rests.”

By Steven D. Hall

God’s love for us is described in Isaiah 49:15: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

Dear Friends,
Yesterday, I stopped in a store to look for a pair of shoes (At least that’s why I thought I was there). A friend saw me before I saw her and practically attacked me with one of those long I-really-need-this hugs. I hadn’t seen her in person since her mother was killed in a car wreck two years ago. She just got through honoring her mom’s birthday—and now she was dreading Mother’s Day this weekend. I never found any shoes but I believe God sent someone she knew would understand. I didn’t have any words of wisdom just a long understanding hug…because Mother’s Day can be hard.

I personally know and love many mothers and children who are dreading Mother’s Day…a mom who never got to see her young son reach true manhood, another mom who has had to watch both her children die on separate occasions but will be honored by her delightful surviving little granddaughter who will know her as mom the rest of her life, another mom who lives with the trauma of watching her strong adult son who was married with children waste away from cancer, another mom whose son died in a freak bicycle accident 19 years ago at the age of ten, lots of moms who lost babies before they were born, moms who lost one twin at birth but delivered a healthy twin, older moms who thought they would go first but have had to bury their grown children, mothers whose children are alive but lost to drugs, mental illness or “Who knows where they are,” moms who are forgotten in a nursing home…

Mother’s Day is hard for children and husbands who are still learning to live without their beloved moms/wives (the one who held them dear, cared for them, prayed for them and kept record of memories). Mother’s Day is hard for those who made a decision to abort a pregnancy and live with regrets that only God can heal. It is hard for women who gave their child up for adoption or had them taken away. Mother’s Day is hard for children and moms who have severed relationships.

Mother’s Day is hard for women who struggle with infertility or have never had children, for those who foster or adopt children with trauma, for those who have children with special needs which demands their lives. Mother’s Day is difficult for those who are raising children without their dad.

There are a lot of reasons Mother’s Day can be hard, but there are a lot of reasons to be thankful for the blessings of being a mom or having a mom (even if she has left this earth—or never lived up to your vision of what a mom should be). There are blessings in knowing mothers or even being a mom-figure to others who need a mother’s love in their lives.

This Mother’s Day may be hard—but I encourage you to focus on the blessings of having the chance to love like a mom or be loved by a mom. Thank God for making mothers and women who love like moms. Some of the greatest blessings are found in the hardest circumstances.

Love and prayers for a blessed Mother’s Day,
Eva

God’s word in Isaiah 66:13: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…”

Dear friends.
Another one of my precious preschool children I taught and helped care for since she was born just had to learn of her daddy’s death. I identify with her mom who had to tell her what no mother wants to tell her child. This will forever shape and define who this delightful girl is. Her devoted daddy was with her one moment and gone the next. It is so hard for adults to deal with the reality of death. It is just as difficult for kids to handle…but they do. They could use our help, though. The adults who are there for the child are usually grieving also. It is so important not to forget the kids during this time. They may look Ok, just like you do—but they need some extra care during this time as well. Besides, it gives you purpose to keep going.
My four children ranged in age from 2 years old to 17 years old at the time of their dad’s death. Several older widows told me that I was blessed to have children still at home to make me have reason to keep going each day. Even as we deal with our own grief, we need to actively seek ways to help our children express theirs.
• Expect new fears to surface—especially at night time or nap time when it gets quiet and lonely. Try to ease them into sleep by providing vitally important bedtime routines including prayer, story, the best thing that happened to them today… Tuck them in and reassure them you are there. ALL ages need this!
• Let them know you are hurting, too—that it’s OK to cry. Cry with them, hold them. Let all ages know you both need extra hugs right now.
• Give them a large huggable stuffed animal with their loved one’s photo around the neck (in a soft frame like a luggage tag. It will be cuddled more than you know. Some people make a pillow of shirts the loved one wore.
• Reassure them you will be OK. That you will be there for them and will care for them. They may never have seen you grieve and may think you will not be able to care for them.
• Let them know when you are leaving and coming back. Everyone is fearful of losing another loved one when it is so real.
• The greatest gift you can give your child is to share your faith in eternal life—that they will be reunited with their parent—that there will be no more death—that because of Jesus we can count on a joyful life after death. If you are not sure of that, perhaps this is the time to be sure.
• Talk about your loved one. Share memories—especially funny ones and pleasant times.
• Use the MY FOREVER MEMORIES OF YOU for children to let them make their own memory book to keep forever. There are pages to spark their own precious memories to draw, write about or put photos in.
• Let them play but don’t be surprised when something will trigger a new wave of grief. When it happens, let them talk, cry or just hold them til it passes.
• Expect extreme and sudden changes of emotions. Be extra patient as they work through these. Help them find ways to express it. Let them know you have crazy emotions right now, as well.
• Encourage a regular routine to maintain order during such a chaotic time (for you both!)
• Children will reexperience grief at big moments in their life as they grow- like learning to drive, graduations, their wedding and birth of their own child. These are peak times they realize anew how much they miss their parent.
• Sometimes children do not feel open to share their hurt with you because they know you are hurting and they do not want to add to it. Keep reminding them that it is good to express their grief and you can get through this together. Reassure them you are still a family.
• For more help got to my website or join My Forever Memories of You grief group on Facebook
• For more help, get one of the MY FOREVER MEMORIES OF YOU books available in adult and children’s versions.

Love and prayers,
Eva

Dear Friends,
Several of you just faced the year anniversary of your loved one’s departure from this earth. My thoughts and prayers were with you though I might not have been able to fully express that. (My son-in-law is still in the hospital recovering from a 20-foot fall through a skylight in a roof. Praise God! He is broken but alive! I thought I would be adding my daughter to the young widow list) There is a surprising amount of emotions that you may go through approaching or on that particular day. Perhaps it is the fact that it has been a full year—not the grueling days or months you’ve been enduring—but a whole year. Here are various thoughts and statements on that “year anniversary” I have experienced or heard others express through the 26 years since my husband’s death and encouraging others through grief:
• Congratulations—I made it through the first year.
• A year is nothing compared to how long I will have to live without them.
• Anticipating that year mark is worse than the actual day.
• I just want to sleep through that day.
• I made that day a special celebration and it was so precious.
• I am not the same person I was a year ago.
• I will never be the same as I was a year ago (I’ve heard the previous two statements in both positive and negative connotations).
• They will stay forever young and I will grow old.
• A year! Now my grieving is over, right?
• I am just now beginning to grieve.
• I’m beginning to have hope for my future.
• I will never get past this.
• I just keep reliving their death.
• I want to carry on the best of their life for the rest of my life.
• I can never love again. Loss hurts too much.
• Life is short. Relationships are precious. It is important to me to let others know how much I love them.
• I will never see them again.
• I can live fully because I know I will be reunited with them… and the Lord is with me and will never leave me.
Wherever you are on that “calendar of grief,” I am praying for you as you truly will not ever be the same. The reason I keep doing this? No one understands your personal grief more than God; and Jesus makes all things new.
Love and prayers,
Eva

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:1b,3

 

Ps. If you or someone you know is having a difficult time in their grief, the book I designed to help people work through their own grief is MY FOREVER MEMORIES OF YOU (available in adult and children’s versions)

Dear friends,
Regrets or those haunting “What if?” questions are one of the things which can prolong the deep pain of grief. Some experts call it unresolved grief. It is a natural part of grieving to second guess how things could have been different if you or someone else made another choice. Yet when you get stuck in that mind frame, and it holds you captive, it is time to try to resolve it. You may think that there is no way to do that since they have left this earth, but there are definite things you can do to work through unresolved issues. You cannot turn time back and undo any choices you or someone else made; yet you can choose to find a way to work through it and go forward from this point.

Real Regrets, Wounds, and Questions

Through the years I have heard tragic regrets—not taking someone to the doctor, not spending time with them, the last conversation being a big fight, letting their child go on a trip which resulted in death, abuse, neglect, not appreciating them while they were alive…The “What if’s?” can be debilitating: What if I had gotten them help? What if I kept them from going? What if I hadn’t done this or that? The process of going through the deepest part of grief can depend on dealing with some of these issues. Some are really not your doing and others are.

Ask for Forgiveness

There is true freedom in forgiveness for even the worse possible scenarios…for even the worse possible person. It truly has to begin with asking forgiveness from God Almighty. There are a lot of things which come to the surface when we are grieving. Emotions are extremely sensitive. The only One who can truly forgive us is God. He wants to forgive us more than we will ever comprehend. That’s why He sent Jesus to absorb our sin so we could absorb His holiness. We can’t do anything to make that happen. Each of us can only accept His forgiveness in the deep love it is given by God Himself—specifically for you. What a relief when we admit our wrong and our need for a Savior who can give us eternal life.
After admitting to God what we regret-what we are sorry for- we also can ask forgiveness from our loved one (or sometimes not-so-loved one) who has died. Write a letter to them asking forgiveness for what whatever regret, hurt or deep wound you might have caused. Then you can decide to burn it, bury it, tie it to a balloon and let it go, or nail it to a cross.

Give Forgiveness

Sometimes there are real wrongs done against you. You truly might have been innocent and undeserving of a wrong by the person who has died. It is never too late to forgive them. If we are to truly live in the richness of God’s forgiveness, this is something we must do. Forgiveness truly brings freedom! Write a letter to the person letting them know how they hurt you and that you are reviewing your relationship with them. Let them know you are forgiving them. You may have to forgive them over and over until it no longer holds power over you. Then you can do the same thing with this letter as listed above.
Dear friends, this is a very short synopsis of dealing with regrets and unresolved issues. If you truly want to work through this, you will have to do more than just read about it. The book MY FOREVER MEMORIES OF YOU I created to help people work through their own specific memories and grief has at least two chapters which go more in depth. It is for you to work through. It is your choice to accept and give forgiveness. It is a huge step in experiencing the true freedom found in Jesus Christ.
Love and prayers,
Eva

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

Dear Friends,
No one has to tell you how real death is. You have experienced it first hand as your loved one was here one moment and then gone the next. Whether you were there with them when they took their last breath or you received a traumatic phone call, you may still be trying to process the reality of their absence. Whether their death was expected or occurred suddenly without warning, they were still physically available one second and gone the next. You are the one left behind.

Processing the Death Takes Time

Everyone has to deal with the shock of death in their own way. Even though our mind knows that death happens, we still can barely believe it happened to one we were so interconnected with. Death goes against our nature. We were created by God to live forever. Death was not part of His perfect plan. It takes a lot to absorb that fact that our loved one is gone. It can shake our world, our security…our entire life. That’s why it often means needing to see the body, know all the details of what happened, and telling and retelling our story of the trauma of their death.

Before and After

Our lives can be so deeply affected by the death of a child, spouse, parent, sibling or friend that it splits our lives in two. Everything is measured or remembered as before or after their passing. You will never be the same. Your life with your loved one by your side was already growing and changing because life is full of changes that cause us to grow. But our life is transformed in a major way by the passing of a loved one. The hopes and dreams of our future change because they will no longer be with us. Perhaps we cared for them and now we must find new purpose in life. Our lives change in such countless ways we can’t even comprehend it all at the beginning. Of course, we will never be the same.

Where Did They Go?

As we deal with their presence with us one moment and then gone the next, we can’t help but think more deeply about where they went. They left their body—so where are they? There is a whole chapter in the interactive book My Forever Memories of You which goes deeper into these natural thoughts. We all know this life will end for us in a moment; this is a critical time to make sure of where we go when we take our last breath. As we deal with our personal grief, we can begin to choose how we will live our remaining moments in this earthly life.

PS. The poem was written by my first husband before he died

Love and prayers,
Eva

 




Dear Friends,     I heard a sweet second-hand report about someone I have known most of my life who just lost her husband less than a month ago.  The person told me how her mother was reading and interacting with the book My Forever Memories of You which I designed to help people go through their own personal grief in their own way—in the comfort of their own home. Not only was her mom reading in it, but she was spending time writing her own thoughts, memories and prayers in the book. I couldn’t help but get tears in my eyes. This report was even better than hearing it from the person themselves because someone could see how it was helping their mother through her most challenging trial. That was my hope and prayer. I think of my own grief and years of being there for others in their grief. It was an answer to the prayers I prayed as I wrote the book for those who would be going through it in the future. I wrote it like it was for one dear friend who was grieving. I prayed for that unknown yet much-loved friend as I wrote each page. God gave me a glimpse of one of those friends.

Not my book—but Yours

                It is not often I get to hear how someone has made it their own book. That is what it was designed for- for someone to read excerpts from my grief to jump start them into sharing their own: to be able to tell their own precious story in their own words. To write down the blessings, regrets, memories, joy and sorrow that all come from realizing in an entirely new way what their loved one meant to them and how they continue to influence their life. It was created like a very intimate grief sharing group between the person, me and the Lord. It is my hope that my love and God’s love will help them be brave enough to embrace and heal from their intense grief. Most people who are in the midst of grieving do not have enough energy to let the writer know if the book is helping. That’s good! Because, this book is truly meant to become their own personal story- not mine. Yet, the Lord is so good. He knew I needed to see an answer to the book being truly used.

Holding my Friends up to You:

                Father, I pray for each friend who is a part of this group, who is or will make My Forever Memories of You their own memory book, and anyone who happens to read this grief blog.  I may or may not have met them personally, but I know You know them more intimately than anyone else ever could.  I know I can hold them up to You and You are the One who can help them. Thank You, Lord, for never ever leaving us alone. Thank You that we can share our innermost thoughts with You and You hear them and bring about beauty, healing and eternal hope—even from the deepest grief. In Jesus’ precious name, the One who is acquainted with grief.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”   Joshua 1:5


Heavenly Father, yesterday I happened to hear of more unrelated deaths than usual on one day—my daughter-in-law’s stepdad, my sister-in-law’s stepdad, and four children and their aunt who were killed in an apartment fire near my church. My stepdaughter was involved with the children’s lives. Although it is such a deep sorrow to hear of deaths and the effect that loss has on those dear loved ones left behind, I can’t help but think of the ones who passed through death into immeasurable joy and peace as they are in Your very presence. It is amazing how one day, one moment of passing can be viewed in such conflicting ways.

Father, I have personally been on the “left behind” side of death too many times to count. And due to the grief ministry You have led me to, I have seen the deep wounds of the broken-hearted up close and personal (even when I haven’t always known the ones who passed from this life). From our side, there is often deep wailing (whether heard or unheard) that comes deep from within the very soul. There is a panicked lost feeling-wondering how we can possibly go on living without our loved one. You already know our deepest pain. I believe that’s why Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus—not for Lazarus, His dear friend who had been dead for three days. Jesus knew Lazarus would be brought back to life. He wept for those dear ones grieving in such deep pain who were “left behind.”  Lord, You know us better than anyone else possibly could. You know all that goes on in our inner most soul.

Lord, You may have conflicted feelings when death comes. Death was not Your plan. Yet You see it on the other side. Your beloved child is coming HOME to You forever to be free, healed, glorified, and more alive than ever before. I don’t know how You can do it; but I am absolutely positive that You are with those who are left behind in their deep grief that can barely be expressed…and at the same time, You are welcoming Your dear ones into Your very presence where they will live in joy with You forever and ever.  There will be no more suffering, tears, darkness, evil… There has to be a huge celebration!

Father, I have seen You do it so many times before. I pray that You let those “left behind” know that their loved one is enjoying their new life with You; that You will never leave them as they come to terms with living out the remainder of their life here without their loved one; that You prepare them for their eternal life with You; that You look forward to the time You will welcome them Home into Your presence…and that You understand their tears but You know the joy that is coming up ahead. Help those “left behind” to find all they need in You—the very One who created us to live forever with You- beginning now through Jesus Christ!

****

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”  Psalm 116:15

“When the perishable has been clothed in imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (I hear my friends who are left behind, saying that the sting is on this side.)

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making all things new!’” Revelation 21:3-5

*****

Prayer Prompt-

Father, comfort those “left behind” with the true promise of eternal life with You … ef

Interactive Memory Book to help you work through your own griefhttp://evajuliuson.com/eva-juliuson-books/

Dearest Friends, the idea of anything good at all coming from grief may seem absolutely impossible to you right now. You might be angry that I even suggest such a thing when you are in the deepest part of your grief. But one of the very reasons for this grief ministry is to hold out eternal hope to those who are completely devastated. Seeing good come from the pain others believe they could never recover from is why the Lord has kept me doing this for 25 years. With God, nothing is impossible. He loves bringing about good—even out of the most tragic situations. It may take time for you to see it, but the more you cling to the Lord Jesus Christ, the more you will see God even in your brokenness. Here are just four possible good things that will come from your deep loss:

  1. Deep Compassion

After experiencing the life-shattering wound of having a loved one ripped from your life, you will forever have a depth of compassion for others who go through this. Your situation may be completely different than theirs; but you know the gut-wrenching sobs that cannot be expressed, the tears that threaten to drown, the loneliness that seems to be permanent, the well-meaning words of others that cut deep, the fact that grief cannot be taken away but has to be worked through. You will know from now on that a simple hug, text, phone call or sharing of a memory is more precious than can be expressed—especially from someone who has been there. As you find comfort from the Lord, you will know how to comfort others.

  • Knowledge that Life is Short

We know with our intellect that everyone must die at some point yet rarely are we ready. With the reality of your loved one’s death right before you. You now know with all your being that life is short. They were here with you one moment—now they are gone. It doesn’t get more real than that. When you realize how fleeting life truly is, it changes the way you live. You realize any day could be your last day. You learn to savor sunsets, wind, moments…and most of all relationships.

  • Relationships Are Most Important

Many times, we don’t realize just how important our loved ones are until they are gone. We don’t realize how intertwined our lives and souls are. Dealing with the death of our loved one helps us to realize that things are not important. We would give almost anything to have them back in our presence. On the other hand, we realize we are selfish in wanting that for they have gone to the eternal part of their life. We begin to realize that the relationships we still have are more precious than we ever realized. This experience changes the way we talk to others, listen to others, try to understand others, savor others, pray for others, and share the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ with others.

  • Draws You Closer to the Lord and Eternity

As you struggle through grief, hopefully you reach out to the Lord to handle what you can never handle on your own. Each day is more than you can face by yourself, but the more you ask Him to help you, the more you realize He will never ever leave you or forsake you. He has been with you from before you were born and He will lead you to you eternal Home with Him. That is one of the benefits God gives us when He gave us Jesus Christ. Not only did He pay the death penalty for our sin, but He is with us always—as we finish this life and hold His hand when it’s our turn to soar across the finish line with Him.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Dear friend, when I woke this morning, the Lord reminded me how hard nights are when you are grieving. It is hard to go to sleep and hard to wake up. Night time is when it gets quiet. Everyone is asleep. There are no distractions—just your thoughts. That’s often when the tears flow the hardest. That’s probably why He laid it on my heart to post this in the middle of the night. It was like He knew someone would not be able to sleep tonight. Someone would be having a very difficult time.

It was 26 years ago today that my husband passed from this world to be with the Lord. I have no problems sleeping now. I will be asleep when you read this post…but the Lord is available all the time—even at night when no one else sees your pain or hears your sobs. There is not one tear that is shed or unshed that He does not know about.

Since He is the one who knew you would be awake and need Him, I urge you to hold up all your grief to Him. He is ready and waiting to help you bear it. I may be asleep but He is there with you right now. HE thought enough of you to have me write this. He desires to help you. He longs to comfort you. It is His will to bring about precious good things even from this unbearable pain.

I may not know specifically who this is for…but I know God does!

Love and prayers, my friend!

Eva

“I lift my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night, The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”   Psalm 121