These regular My Forever Memories blogs are written with love to offer encouragement, help, hope and love through your personal journey of grieving your loved one.
No one chooses to grieve, yet it is something almost every single one of us must face to one degree or another. Not one of us will get through this earthly life without experiencing the death of at least one or sometimes many people we love. Grief happens when we desperately miss the one who has left, and we are left behind to figure out how we can possibly go on without them. The pain of separation from one we love expresses itself in multiple ways, often without warning. The emotions can be so intense that they can either sneak up on us or explode without notice in the form of soul-wrenching sobs, shocking anger, paralyzing fear, anguishing anxiety, joyous memories, overwhelming feelings of being lost, horrible loneliness and so much more—alone or in a crowd in the matter of a single day. Grief actually serves a vital purpose.
Grief helps transition us from a chapter in our lives we truly do not want to leave—to a new unknown chapter without the presence of the one we love and has shared so much of our lives. They are here with us one moment and gone the next. It is impossible to just go forward like nothing has happened when their life has been so intertwined with ours. We are not designed to grieve forever, but we do need to review the special gift we had with our loved one. It takes time and effort to recognize all they meant to us and how they impacted our lives. It is also a critical time to realize that life here is short and eternity is forever. It is a time to reach out to the Lord and realize that He is the only One who truly never leaves us in this life. He is the one who “gets us,” comforts us and leads us through grief and everything else. The best way to go through grief is to turn to the Lord for help. Jesus is described in Isaiah 53:3 as “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” He will personally lead you through grief when You ask.
We cannot get yesterday back (no matter how much we want to). We may be tempted to skip over grief by running away from it through excessive travel, keeping extra busy, using pain killing substances, not talking about or hiding all evidence our loved one lived or jumping too quickly into another relationship…None of those will keep us from grief. In fact, it often intensifies it. It is far better to face your grief and go through it. There is purpose in looking back through photos, visiting places you loved, and writing out your emotions and memories. By working through this time, with the Lord’s help, you will come out with a healthier view of the immense gift He gave You in your loved one. There will never be another person just like them. By facing your grief and working through it, you will see that you haven’t actually lost them; they are still with you. You can carry on some of the traits you appreciated most about them as you slowly step into the next chapter of your life.
Though we are not meant to live in the deep grip of grief for the rest of our lives, we will have times throughout the rest of our lives when we miss them. Yet it is also possible to look forward to eternity spent with them—with no more goodbyes. God promises us what is coming in Revelation 21:4 “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.” We can go forward in confidence after working through our grief. We have an unimaginable future ahead of us. Our loved one has already begun their new life with no grief. We can work through our grief with the true hope of eternal life given to us through Jesus Christ.
Jesus promises us, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of the widows, is God in His Holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5)
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Love and prayers,
PS. MY FOREVER MEMORIES OF YOU book is a great way to work through your personal grief in a healthy way.
I haven’t posted anything lately about the two books I wrote after twenty plus years of standing with others as they grieve. These books —My Forever Memories of You (one for children and one for adults- available in ebooks and paperback) were designed to actually give you a way to voice your own story, grief, memories, regrets, gratefulness, loneliness, fears, and thoughts of going forward. Here is a link to get a little preview. This is a book written by me–and you. It is actually YOUR story with memories of your loved one. Every single book will be different because of what you put into it! This is one of the most important times of your life. It is a crossroad between this earthly life and eternal life.
These are written out of much compassion, my own grief, my love for the Lord and the broken hearted, my experience as a Grief Recovery Specialist. What makes this book different is that it is a mixture of me sharing excerpts from my own personal journal as I grieved and places for you to share your own personal thoughts, practical and spiritual encouragement and the eternal hope that is found in Jesus Christ. What other hope is there?
A Gift of Eternal Hope
It is my hope that churches, friends, family members will get these books for their friends who are grieving. We can’t and shouldn’t take their grief away. It is vital to go through it. This book allows and gently guides people to work through their own personal grief. It draws them toward the only One who can truly say He will never leave them or forsake them.
Most grievers are not going to get this book for themselves. It is all they can do to make it through the day. These books will actually give them prompts to work through their own grief and find ways to express the jumbled overwhelming emotions that come with grief. It is my hope and vision that churches and believers will use this book to give grievers the ultimate hope as they go through the most devastating time in their lives- whether it is the death of a spouse, child, sibling, parent, friend–whether it is a peaceful or violent death due to old age, tragic accident, suicide or illness.
This book will never be a best seller but it could be a book that will offer real eternal hope to those walking through the valley of the shadow of death…but it will take those who care getting these books to those who need it. They are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, or through me. It is not one that lends itself to many reviews because those who it will mean the most to are not even considering giving it a review (which is so important in getting it out to more people in today’s world.) This ministry also includes My Forever Memories of You grief group on Facebook (churches, pastors, friends can add grievers and pastors to this group for extended encouragement) as well as me speaking to groups.
Thank You to the churches and people who have already shared a book with those who need it. Pray for these books and the My Forever Memories of You grief group on Facebook to continue to share eternal hope!
Love and prayers, Eva
Book Award Winner
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!”
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,
God’s word in Isaiah 66:13: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…”
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,