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photo by my brother Rodd Moesel

Dear friends,
It was the first time I was able to go to my husband’s grave without the kids. Each time before, my heart had been divided by my own grief and concern for my children. This time I was free to grieve for my own loss. The ground was still freshly dug with no signs of grass. There were still dried flowers upon this horrible ground which my beloved husband’s body laid under. The cold wintery day caused me to worry about his poor body freezing- the same body I had loved, kept warm and cared for. It was more than I could take. Great sobs and wailing burst forth from depths I never knew existed. All was dark and dreary; and I was alone in the world. That’s when I felt a tender hand lift my chin to look up…

As my face was lifted to gaze upwards, everything changed! The sky was the most peaceful blue with bright white airy clouds floating with hope. Instead of focusing on the dark hopelessness of the grave, I was seeing the promise of heaven—where my love was now. A quiet joy bubbled up to drown out the life-threatening waves of wailing. All I could think of was the overflowing abundant eternal life my husband now dwelt in. Not even grief can take away the hope we have of a life lived with our Lord—a place where there is no death, pain, suffering, violence, evil, illness or grief. My intense grief was changed simply by looking up!

Oh! my dear friends, many of you are feeling overcome by intense grief. I urge you to look up! Look up at the One who gave you such a precious gift in your loved one—however short the time. Look up for the hope of heaven and the hope of joy in life once more. Look up at the One who understands your grief better than you do and who offers you something to overcome it with-eternal life through Jesus Christ. Look up at the One who will never ever leave you! Look up at the One who holds you as you muddle through separation from one you love so much. Look up to the real Home our Lord is making for you. Look up for the strength you need to go on.

If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, look up from this harsh lonely life from the foot of the cross—the cross He was willing to die on for your sins, so you could live with him forever. Look up to be made new! Look up to be forgiven. Look up to be filled with His Holy Spirit. Look up! Your life depends on it! You may still grieve, but look up at our eternal hope!

Love and Prayers,
Eva

 

“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” Acts 7:55-56

Dear Friends,

Christmas can be very painful for those who are grieving the death of a loved one, but have you ever thought that Jesus was born to bring hope to those who are low in spirit, the broken-hearted; those who think they just can’t go on? This deep gut-wrenching, life-shattering, paralyzing loss in your life is one of the few critical points in your life when you fully realize your great need. How can you go on? How can you possibly ever celebrate again? How can you find any hope or joy or purpose for living without the one you love so much? The answer lies in that quiet, lowly stable where the Son of God was born, mostly unnoticed by a hopeless dark world. It is possible to find all that you need as you kneel before that manger this Christmas-even in the midst of your grief….

 

Kneel in the Darkness

Most likely, there have been few such times of darkness in your life as when someone you love suddenly left this life. Perhaps it was your child who you must somehow learn to live without. Whether they were a baby, a teen or an adult child—you grieve all the future Christmas and other life celebrations you will miss sharing with them. Perhaps it was your spouse that you hoped to grow old with and you are filled with Christmas and other past memories. Maybe it was a parent, fiancé, sibling or friend. It could have been a violent or a peaceful death—expected or unexpected, but you were not ready (even if you knew it was coming!) Now your world has been shaken. Everything seems unstable, fearful and dark. I respectfully and gently suggest you kneel in the darkness as the Light of the World was born for you long ago in that unnoticed stable.

 

Solemn Stillness in a Crazy World

Your world seems chaotic, out-of-control and void of the love you depended on, that you were counting on. This is the most critical time in your life to kneel in the lonely stillness. You need this baby Jesus who was born to be King of your heart. Nothing will be right until you do. He is the only One who can heal your heart, who will walk faithfully with you through the Valley of the shadow of Death. No one else can understand you like He does. No one else will stay with You when everyone else leaves. No one else can give you peace and joy in the midst of your grief.

 

Drop to Your Knees

Grief will knock you off your feet; punch the life right out of you. While you are there flat on the ground, make a choice to kneel before Jesus, the baby who was God-in-the-flesh; the one who lived as one of us yet without sin to willingly offer Himself as a holy eternal sacrifice for our sin. Jesus is the only one who could overcome death (the penalty for our sin) and make a way for us to live with Him in holiness forever and ever. If Christmas seems different this year because of your great loss, kneel quietly before Baby Jesus in a manger who gave everything to become your king! He will never leave you, and will be with you as you learn to live in even greater joy with the Son of God—the very One your loved one knelt before as they left their earthly body. We each have a reason to celebrate Jesus at Christmas time–especially when you stand in grief at the crossroads of heaven and earth.

 

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying. ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.’” Luke 2:10-14

 

Dear Friends,
With the holidays approaching, extra anxiety can set in for those who are dreading going through them without their loved one. No matter how much you want time to stop, the holidays will come whether you want them to or not. Some people truly wish they could just skip over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years due to the fear of facing these special days without the one they love by their side. There are some specific plans you can make to ease your way through these special days that are filled with memories, emotion, family and the very obvious void of your loved one.

Make Realistic Plans
Even without grief, holidays can be stressful with so many things to do on your list. You may want to consider paring down your list to take some of the stress off and leave yourself extra room for grieving. Consider writing down all the ways you usually celebrate (putting lights up, sending cards, shopping, baking, wrapping…) Take a good look at the list and take some of those items off the list this year. The world will not end if you do not do everything you usually do. On the other hand, there may be some things you’ve done every year that you know are important to continue. Focus on those fewer traditions or ask for help on some of your tasks.

Acknowledge Your Loss and Celebrate Them
You do not have to act like nothing has happened. Find a creative way to honor your loved one this season. Make a special ornament; give a gift that you would have bought for your loved one and give to someone in need; set a place at the table for them; light a candle and have everyone tell something they admired about your loved one; print a card to send out to share thoughts of your loved one; give a framed photo with family members; make a pillow from old shirts to give to a family member; read something they wrote… You know your loved one and can plan a special personalized way to celebrate them during this holiday season.

Stay Flexible During this Season
You may get invited to parties and gatherings. You may want to accept them with the understanding that you have no idea how you will feel that day. Explain that you may need to cancel or leave early. Grief, as you know by now, is unpredictable. It could hit hard without warning, so leave yourself an out to leave if you need to. It may be a good idea to come up with a planned answer for those you see during the holidays who ask how you are doing. You may feel like talking about your loved one and you may not. Feel free to have an answer ready such as, “It is still very hard but I don’t feel like talking about it right now.”

Sometimes the anxiety about the holidays turns out to be much harder than actually going through them. Prepare your loose plans. Give yourself permission to take extra time to remember the special gift of your loved one. Keep a journal or have a safe trusted friend you can share your heart with. Don’t forget to celebrate the real reason we have these “holy-days” in the first place. They just might become more precious than ever before as you discover in a new way that “God is with us” through Jesus Christ.

Love and prayers,
Eva

 

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“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” Luke 2:14

Dear friends,
There are a lot of books and some great support groups for grievers these days…so what makes My Forever Memories of You different? It’s my hope and prayer that sharing eternal hope is the biggest difference. We were never made for this life to be all there is. In fact, it is only a glimmer compared to eternity. We were created by God to live forever. Because of sin, death is something that happens to us all at some unknown point in our lives and in the lives of those we love. The death of our loved ones makes that more apparent than ever. We may have lost the very one we depended on to be there for us…or the one we dreamed of sharing life together. There is no way around grief. We must go through it. It might seem like the loneliest, most painful part of our lives—yet we need to share it openly and honestly with the very One who will never ever leave us or forsake us.

Sharing My Grief
Our thoughts and minds become so muddled and chaotic during grief that it is very important to share it with one who truly loves you and will let you express it without judgement or correction. I had already been writing every day in a prayer journal to God before Steve ever died. That is what helped us through his devastating illness. When I lost my other half, the one I could share everything with, I eventually found new hope and comfort in sharing with my Lord more that I had even shared with my husband. The book MY FOREVER MEMORIES OF YOU has excerpts from my personal prayers during grieving. Yet, most of it, is your book. After twenty-five years of encouraging others in grief, I realize the greatest help they could get was not from me, but from the One who loves us most, created us and is always available. The short peeks into my grief prayers are only to encourage you to spill out your own heart before the Lord. He is the Great Counselor!

Sharing Your Grief
Everyone who has ever had a loved one die is an expert on grief- but it is their own grief. We may all be there for you, to encourage you and tell you what has worked for us. Yet there has never ever been another relationship like you had with your loved one (no matter how short or long that relationship has been so far). The most helpful thing you can do is tell your story and share your raw chaotic emotions with the One who knows and loves you and has forever to listen; the only One who can truly help you. He is the only One who can help you find joy again in this life and promises eternal life with no more pain or sorrow. My Forever Memories of You offers a place with prompts to tell your story and share your heart with the Lord. Feel free to share in the group or in the book.

Sharing Eternal Hope
Death may seemed to have taken your loved one a moment. At this crossroad of life and death in our lives, if we accept God’s free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, we live forever with our Lord. This life is only temporary, we are traveling to our real Home with the Lord. Others may leave us but He never ever will. Grief may be painful, but we have the hope of eternal life!

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“I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13

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***Use these books and group to help someone you care about find their hope in the Lord as they go through the valley of the shadow of death.

Love and Prayers, dear friends
Eva

Dear friends,

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.

Not Forever

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.

Right Now

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.

Forever
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.

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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

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Love and prayers,
Eva
PS. MY FOREVER MEMORIES OF YOU book is a great way to work through your personal grief in a healthy way.

Dear Friends,

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

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

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,
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