Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Moving Forward


With great relief, I turned the calender from 2009 to 2010-- I did so with the hope for a kinder new year. But before I could figure out if I'll call it "two thousand ten" or simply "twenty-ten", the Grim Reaper knocked on our family's door again and we gathered for yet another funeral last week.

I came home after a painfully long funeral day and reread, for about the twentieth time, this post on grieving by Holly Dietor. Her words touch me deeply and I share it with you in case you missed it's original publishing. Although I've never actually heard Holly's voice, as I read, I could see her in my mind's eye and heard her speaking to me about loss and grieving. It helped tremendously.

Last month, just before Christmas, Beloved husband and I traveled to Israel on short notice, in a rush, to visit a cherished loved one who was near passing. It was important and meaningful for us to spend one last time with him while he was still alert and communicative. We made it just in time.

The grieving process for this loved one overwhelmed Beloved and I on our return flight to Los Angeles because we knew he probably would, and in fact did, pass away while we were flying home. In my jet-lagged, sleep-deprived state, I tried to remember Holly's words to share with Beloved in hopes of bringing him comfort.

As she so eloquently stated, grieving is an individual process that we need to experience and move forward through. But with the loss of so many loved ones in the past year, I often feel stuck, even paralyzed sometimes, with heartache. I am blessed that Beloved has nurtured, nudged and occasionally pushed me forward through the grieving process which helps make some of it more bearable but I know I still have a long way to go.

Earlier today I called a close friend whose husband passed away several months ago. She'd been having a very difficult time and her first holidays without him were especially painful. To my delight, the phone was answered by her 6 year old grandson who was visiting, along with his younger sister and parents from out of town, in hopes of cheering her up. He proudly spoke in his most polite and grown-up voice-- "Hello, Grandma's residence, James speaking." We chatted for a few minutes before I asked to talk to his Grandma. His words spoke volumes....

"Grandma is on a playdate with her friends."

Aside from it being a very cute answer, it meant that, for the first time in months, his Grandma was up to going out of the house with a few friends for lunch. I thought of Holly's words about moving forward through grief and admired her bravery as I know it wasn't easy to do.

Today life is much quieter for me-- A year earlier I would have never dreamed it imaginable that several of my "playdate" loved ones would have passed away. But now, thanks to Holly's wise words and the sweetness of a child's response, I am reminded that grieving is part of the process-- and so is moving forward.

Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Tatiana Grozetskaya - Fotolia.com

50 comments:

Holly said...

I am completely humbled and honored to be part of your journey with you. And, if I have helped you, then it is a gift worth holding for always.

Hugs, Love & Light,
Holly

Mari said...

I'm so sorry you have had another loss in your life. I appreciate your words on grieving and moving forward and you did make me smile with the story of your friends playdate!

ChristineM said...

Beautiful post, Joanna...and I am so sorry for your family's loss.

Nancy C said...

This is a lovely post. I, in my own way, mourn with you. Take care of those you love, especially yourself.

Willoughby said...

I'm terribly sorry to hear of your loss. Grief can be such a complicated emotion. I'm glad you have Holly's words to comfort you.

Take care, my friend.

Joyce said...

Dear Joanna, I'm really sorry of all your heart has had to carry through these past months. There is no magic wand or meds to ease the pain, just time that heals. Sending you many hugs!

I'm off to read Holly's words- I sure could use them myself. xo

yorksnbeans said...

Beautifully written Joanna, but I'm so sorry to hear you had so much loss throughout this past year. Hugs to you.

Kristina P. said...

Thank you for sharing her article. I think that grief is many times misunderstood.

Alison said...

I am an expert on grief and grieving - not qualities I would have chosen for myself. But life goes on and for me so many good things keep happening. I don't know what else to say really. I am inspired by Holly's writing too. I would love to chat to you one day about 'stuff'! xxx

Jeanie said...

I hope the rest of the year brings you less loss and more joy, Joanna. I glad Holly's words were able to help you through the grieving process.

RNSANE said...

What a sad journey that must have been for you but I'm glad you were able to arrive in Israel in time to spend some time before the death of your family member.

I have been fortunate, to date, not to have to mourn the loss of many close to me but, at 65, I know I cannot avoid that terrible sorrow much longer. I pray for the strength to remember our joyful times together and to cherish them and to let go when the time comes, knowing that my own time is not that far in the future.

Marguerite said...

So sorry for all of your losses, Joanna. Wishing you all the best, as you move forward.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I'm so sorry for the losses you have experienced Joanna. wishing you a much better rest of 2010.

Kathy said...

So sorry to hear Joanna. Grieving is a very personal journey as well, and every person travels their journey via their own route....and the nice thing is that there is not right way or wrong way to travel.

Sometimes I think that the passing of one person often takes us back to the passing of someone else we loved. When there are so many, it can be difficult to separate it all and we become overwhelmed with grief.

I'm glad you were able to find comfort in Holly's writing. You are in my thoughts.

Sassy Pants Freckle Face said...

hey, I am so sorry, I am just an email / phone call away

That is all I can say,..........

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

Saying goodbye and letting go is very difficult and I'm sorry that both you and your husband have had to experience this. I'm glad that you both were able to spend time with him before he passed away.

I did a two part blog post about my friend who lost her husband. In the post, I learned as you said, that grief happens gradually and different for each individual. Some have the strength to push forward and others need someone to hold their hands or even lift them up and carry them.

So glad that your friend is taking baby steps and is on a play date. Her grief and sadness may not ever disappear but she is finding the strength to begin moving again.

My thoughts are with you both.

lisleman said...

all the best to you and your beloved. Those young ones don't even know how much cheer they can bring at times.

Marla said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it. I can relate.

Ronda Laveen said...

You really have been through it the last couple of months haven't you. All of your words and feelings are tribute to those who've passed on, moved on and are hanging on by a thread.

Blessings, Love, Light

Frau said...

Sorry it's been a tough time with loss. I wish I had the magic words to heal you and yours..but I'm happy you are guided and are moving forward. Have a wonderful day and sending ((hugs)) to you.

angelcel said...

One loss is hard enough, but I know that a succession can leave us positively reeling. I'm so sorry to hear that 2010 has opened with such bad news but glad to hear that Holly's words have provided comfort and are helping you to move forward. I know I'm thousands of miles away but I just wanted to let you know that I'm here if you need me. Sending you hugs... x

slommler said...

You expressed the journey of grieving so beautifully Joanna! I am so sorry for your losses over such a short period of time. I know it feels as if you can't catch your breath.
Life does move us forward even when we are not quite ready too.
Hugging you and your Beloved,
SueAnn

Brian Miller said...

grieving is part of life...its never easy to see those that were part of our story pass...how we continue to live is a testament to how they touched us.

Betty said...

Doesn´t it always seem like these losses come all at once? I´m so sorry you had such go through such a tough time last year and hope that 2010 will be better to you. You are right when you say grieving is a process and I hope that you proceed to heal.
Hugs,

from Betty

Peaches said...

Thank you, Joanna.

Fireblossom said...

A friend once said to me that it is a courageous act to love, because it means that a goodbye is coming some day, for one or both of you. And yet, we keep loving, because that's what makes life worth living.

((((((Joanna)))))))

My name is PJ. said...

Oh Joanna, I'm sorry for your loss, for your losses. I can identify with much of what your post says because I find myself now in the chapter of my life where everywhere I look I see my loved ones sick or passing.

I'd like to share wise words that were shared with me when Dad died and Mom began hospice care: this is a chapter, not the whole book. I thought it an interesting choice of words when it was first spoken, but over time I have found myself clinging to them because they have hope interwoven with them.

God Bless, Joanna.

Gaston Studio said...

I, too, am very sorry for your loss.

Beautifully told, Joanna, just beautiful.

Ina in Alaska said...

Beautifully written Joanna. Stick close to your husband and draw comfort together. Glad you were able to visit Israel just in time. Happy New Year, dear. xoxo

Christine said...

thanks for your insight into grieving, sorry for your loss.

Cindy La Ferle said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friends as well as to the tender topic of grief and loss.

We've had a tough week here too. Just lost our favorite next-door neighbor, a wonderful elderly woman who was like a grandma to our son while he was growing up. Then we got word that an old high school friend died suddenly ... and that my husband's best bud from grade school had a stroke at 55 yrs old.
We're reminded at midlife to cherish our loved ones while we can!

And now I'm off to visit the link you mention.

deb said...

Joanna,
So so sorry for your sadness, for all the grief that goes with living.

What a touching and beautiful post . And it came at a good time for me as well, so thank you. And I am going to read Holley's words.

And while the subject is poignant , I am so touched to see Cindy there above me, touched in all of this cyber connection, reminded how at the heart of so much of it we all need caring good people touching our hearts, if even through our fingertips.

anne h said...

Hugs and stuff!
♡Heartfelt hugs to you...♡

cinner said...

Joanna, I am so sorry for your loss. When I started blogging, shortly after my Dad died, and Holly was a rock for me. Her kindness was amazing, She helped me go through the grieving process. I just find when you think your okay, poof your dealing again...I am learning this is what life is about. Know you are loved, feel the grief. Holly told me to write about it, and I found that really helped me. Both you and Holly are lovely woman whom have brought smiles to my face, big hug to you Joanna, We could share a coffee and some tears....Hugs.

Nezzy said...

Oh Joanna my heart goes out to you. Your post truly spoke to me. I was just wiring flowers up north for our Pastors mama, a little India woman I lovingly called Mama Sosamma. She passed yesterday morning and my heart is heavy. I spent some time with her in the nursing home Monday and got to pray with this dear lady. I think I'm gonna need a playdate!!!! The wise words of Holly are so true, moving on IS part of the grieving process.

God bless you dear one!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh that sounds tough. Gorgeous post, though, and so wise.

Ms. Diva said...

It has been almost seven years since my children lost their father! And although we have all moved on, every now and then, it hits all over again!! I am so sorry for all of your loss this past year! I'm praying for you and your loved ones!!

Christine Forest, M.D. said...

Again, grieving is one of those things that we have no recipes for. We all do the best we can with it. But it does take time and a stubborn willingness to move forward and live, despite the pain, despite of how difficult it is to regroup and fill one's heart, yet again, with love, kindness and hope. Sorry for your losses. You are so strong!

Ami said...

The things one always says at a time like this, "Sorry for your loss." "If there's anything I can do..."

Well, they're just things people say. The truth is, no one knows what to do, and it's damned difficult to do nothing when there's nothing to be done.

I hope that your heart heals and you're left with the memories of the good stuff.

TechnoBabe said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear Joanna for the link to the best writing on the subject of grief ever! I left a comment for Holly but it was of course on a post from mid 2009 so I hope she gets my comment. You, my dear, are such a caring woman. If you are not feeling in high spirits just yet you are exactly where you need to be to complete your grieving process. I was wondering about your trip to Israel and figured you would speak of it when or if you chose to so I was careful not to say anything specific in my comments. I so like the 6 year old answering the phone. My hubby name is James so I read that part to him.
Hugs.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words and support. I really appreciate it.

Now I'm going to blow my nose, pull up my knee socks, and stop whining. My next post will be much happier.

:-)

xo jj

Izzy said...

perhaps we will move forward together at our own pace... my heart still aches over the passing of my birth mother. but i'm moving forward, even if others don't see my progress.

please come over and get in on my giveaway - perhaps a piece of jewelry wrapped in love and peace will soothe your heart.

http://stonespirit-izzy.blogspot.com/2010/01/january-giveaway.html

Alix said...

I indeed remember Holly's wise words when the hit the blogosphere. I only hope I am able to remember them when I need to.

Thank you for this lovely post, Joanna, and for recognizing Holly and her incredible intuitive warmth. She is a treasure - as are you, my friend.

So sorry for your loss.

beth said...

I'm so so sorry for you loss....

Matty said...

I'm sorry for your losses. While I've experienced them myself, I've been fortunate that no one very close has left us.......so far.

Saranne said...

Just catching up in blogland.....so sorry to hear about your losses, and know that you are in my thoughts during this rough time....I really appreciate your linking to Holly's post about grief...so eloquent! Be kind to yourself and hugs from me! oxox

Spencer L Casey said...

Ah, Joanna, thank you for sharing this. My heart is with you.

SLC

Oz Girl said...

I am so sorry for this additional loss in an already difficult year for you - I hope with all my heart that 2010 proves to be a better year, and you are able to heal and move forward.

I am finding that one of the hardest parts of aging is not ME getting older, but those around me getting older, my parents, my grandparents, etc., and passing. The wrinkles and aches and pains that I am growing more accustomed to is not so hard, but losing those I love hurts my heart deeply.

Unknown Mami said...

Not just because of this post, but because of all your posts and how you convey yourself, I feel compelled to tell you that you are an extraordinary person.

I am so sorry for the losses you have experienced. I am glad that your life has been filled with love because without it you would have nothing to lose.

gayle said...

I am so sorry for your losses...I have been thinking that as we age this will happen more and more..great post and a good reminder for me to call a friend of mine that lost her husband!