Grief Has No Time Limit: My Personal Views

This is my champaign pink geranium Mom saved for me many years ago.
This is my champaign pink geranium Mom saved for me many years ago. | Source

We never know what will trigger our brains to think of them.

People come in to our lives, relatives, friends and acquaintances, each one are unique in their own way. Perhaps without warning we lose some of these people who have become a part of our lives. We miss them so much that many things will remind us of them. It could be a favorite song, food, program or something we shared with them. It could be another person who reminds us of them. But whatever it is, this one thing will trigger our brains to think of them. Grief has no time limit. Maybe we think the heartache is over and most often it is. But the missing part of the event will always occupy our minds at some point in our lives.

My first encounter with death came when I was sixteen.

The first person I lost close to me was my paternal grandmother Sadie. I was sixteen and very fortunate to wait this long before my first encounter with grief. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, to tell my dad his mother had passed away. Grandma Sadie was eighty three years old. I knew she wouldn’t live forever. But the disease which took her was harsh. She had lost her battle with Cancer after having a ten year remission period. I was able to fight off the tears while around others, but flooded my pillow for weeks from overwhelming grief. For months later I could not travel by her house without the illusions of seeing her in her favorite place, a rocking chair near the front bay window. It definitely was prayer that got me through this one. Grandma loved green tea and salt risen bread toasted. I get a craving sometimes for this combination myself and always think of her as I have my tea and toast.

Grandma Sadie and my first encounter with grief.
Grandma Sadie and my first encounter with grief. | Source

I was thirty four when I lost a close friend who was murdered.

When I was thirty four I lost one of my best friends, Dawn, to the hands of her newly divorced husband. She was my age. I graduated high school with her. I stood up with her when she married. We had our first child within weeks apart who also became best of friends. We worked in the same factory. My daughter as well as hers was at the scene of this gruesome murder. It was an overpowering shock to all who knew her and to all that knew her assailant. A shock many of us never quite got over. I was totally stunned. So stunned I couldn’t even cry for her. I wished I could have. I refused to believe what had happened. I really thought I had lost my mind as the tears would not come in all the sadness. Years later I had a dream where Dawn and I were visiting and talking over old times. She assured me she was happy and when I woke up I cried. I was finally able to cry after all the time which had passed. That was the only time she visited one of my dreams. I have a gift of dreams. Usually if I dream of a deceased loved one it’s not long before someone else I know passes away. This dream was an exception to the usual. I believe the dream was meant to heal the grief and confusion I was experiencing. I never looked at death the same way after that.

This is a picture of my Uncle Ervin's sugar shanty that Grandma Rood painted back in the 1980s after a snow storm.
This is a picture of my Uncle Ervin's sugar shanty that Grandma Rood painted back in the 1980s after a snow storm. | Source

As time went on I lost more loved ones.

As time went on I lost more people in my life. In 1991, my dad’s brother Don fell down a flight of stairs. Swelling in his neck would suggest a broken neck but it turned out to be arthritis. It was heart failure that took his life. I really miss Uncle Don as he was the only uncle who came to see me just to visit.

My Grandma Rood was so stricken with pain from a broken hip and pneumonia in 1992, I prayed strong for God to either ease her pain or take her home. Not only was she in pain, but both her sight and her hearing was nearly gone. As bad as I felt when she passed away I was happy for her, as her pain was gone.

2003 was a year of continuous grief.

There’s one year that stands out because I lost so many family members as well as friends and neighbors. The year was 2003, my brother, my dad, aunts, a cousin and friends perished one by one. It was then I started writing poetry to ease the grief. Through poetry I could release emotions and make sense out of what otherwise made no sense to me. Many loved ones I lost that year were Cancer victims. But not all of them, I really believe my dad died of a broken heart because he was struck down with a massive heart attack just three weeks after my brother, Rusty lost his battle with Lung Cancer. And as I said I have a gift of dreams, I was forewarned, only with all the people fighting Cancer, I didn’t think it would be my dad. It was only three or four days after this dream before my dad passed away. I had a dream of my Uncle Don, dad’s brother, who had passed away in 1991. He visited with me right in my dad’s kitchen. In this dream no one was home. Yet Uncle Don and I sat at the kitchen table chatting away and wondering where everyone was at. My dad had his heart attack sitting at the kitchen table. Ironic, I know. Sadly it wasn’t the only dream warning I had that year. My dad came to me often in dreams that year right before another victim left us. Whenever we have a heavy snow storm I think of my dad because we had one the day we lost him.

I lost my mom in 2006

One of the greatest losses for me was when I lost my mom in 2006. We knew for months she was sick with a disease of the liver, but it wasn’t until just ten days before we lost her that we were told it was 4th stage Liver Cancer. Needless to say it was unreal to us to think we had been left in the dark by professionals over something that important. She had pretty much been sent home to die. No Chemo or other options were offered to her. Hospice helped us with things needed to care for her and helped prepare us for some of what was to follow with her parting. Mom was able to tell us exactly how she wanted her funeral arrangements done, right down to having her nephew, Chet play bagpipes at the grave site. Somehow knowing we followed her last request as she wanted helped make us feel better. She wanted her immediate family members to have a yellow rose for remembrance. It surely worked as I cannot see a yellow rose without thinking of mom.

We all find our own way to deal with grief. Writing about it is mine.

Over the years the loved ones taken were fewer in number, but young people killed in car accidents and people losing babies became common with family and friends. The thought of losing a child would be a pain greater than any other. I pray for the parents who lose their children and hope God guides them through the grieving and comforts their broken hearts without putting them into periods of insanity. It’s my greatest fear of all to outlive my kids or grand-kids.

Everyone has their own way to deal with grief. And who are we to say what will work and what won’t when each of us are individual. I am no stranger to grief and losing loved ones. I have things that have helped me deal with death that may not have any effect on someone else. But I also have dealt with losing people in such a way even I have no idea how I got through it. My belief is that through my prayers, God put my mind in a state of shock to lessen the pain. Prayer holds the power to get through anything.

Writing poetry about my loved ones has always helped me deal with the emotions of grief. Sometimes just writing my thoughts about them in a journal will ease the pain. But whatever reminiscing I do I know I know a sure way to avoid extreme sadness is to think about the good times and try to erase the bad ones from my mind.

My mom saved this plant for me to enjoy today.
My mom saved this plant for me to enjoy today. | Source

This is the story behind my champaign pink geranium.

The Story Behind my Champaign Pink Geranium

About ten years ago I left a champaign pink geranium sit in a clay pot outside under the tree by my walkway. My mom had come for a visit one warm summer day and noticed the sorry shape this plant was in. It was dried out from too much sun and left to fend for itself in hope of a raindrop or two. Mom said to me, “Let me take this plant home and revive it.” I agree that she could have it. She couldn’t stand to see it neglected as it surely would not survive.

I had forgotten about the champaign pink geranium. Mom passed away in 2006. A year or so after mom’s passing my sister asked if I wanted my plant back. I couldn’t believe it was the same plant. She had kept it in an upstairs window. It had the right amount of sun, but not too much and it was watered regularly along with other plants sharing the window. Mom surely did revive the plant just as she planned to do. I almost cried when I saw the pretty pink blossoms. Amazing what a little tender loving care can do and to think I would have let it die.

I brought the champaign pink geranium home and became paranoid about remembering to water it. I have slipped this plant off several times over the years to keep more than one pot going at a time just in case one died, but I still have the same champaign pink geranium even though I am down to one pot again. I guess I better be starting some slips to start another. It has become sort of a memorial plant in memory of my mom and a living heirloom as well.

The picture here was taken awhile back when this plant was at its best. It doesn’t always look that good, but at least it still stays green so I must be doing something right. This is a climbing plant and sometimes has a mind of its own with blossoms sucking up so much sun they shrivel up not long after they reach their peak of elegance.


A widow at 59

I never expected to be a widow at 59. But December 12, 2014 I lost my husband, Bill of nearly 41 years just a few weeks shy of our anniversary. It was a long dragged out year of turmoil and sickness as Pneumonia hit him in December of 2013. The impact it left was COPD to overwhelmingly create more health issues for one suffering from a bad heart. To make matters worse he could not escape the control of nicotine. Several attempts to quit failed. Even knowing a cigarette was likely to take his last breath away, he continued to smoke.

Greif can come in all different forms. On this one the mix has been unbelievable. Disbelief, sadness, loneliness and anger made my last few months less than average. To top it off I’m on my own financially as well as living alone. I thank God for my children. Their help with yard work and managing the household is truly a blessing. I only wish they lived closer. My hope is to move closer to them. I hope I can soon.

Tonya, my friend and co-worker lost her battle with Cancer.

Losing my friend Tonya/co-worker on August 26, 2015 had been rough. She never knew until April that her Cancer had came back full force after being in remission for ten years. A large mass lying across her bladder was untreatable as surgery did no more than speed up the cruel ending to a battle to surely lose. Much like the Cancer I saw my mom suffer with came back with a reminder that no one will escape the grip of a disease as horrible as Cancer if it has its sight on you. Today’s technology has not rid us of this killer now any more than it did ages ago.

Tonya was only 63. The same age as the husband I just lost in December. No time for retirement for either of them. Hard workers sometimes never have a time to relax and enjoy their elder years. Such a sad thought as we have always been told hard work pays off. The good Lord willing maybe some of us will get to enjoy a retirement.

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Comments 5 comments

old albion profile image

old albion 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Diana. You have certainly had more than a fair share of grief in your life. You relate things in a clear way, you have I think become a stronger person. Yes I know it's easy to say such things but time heals, as you know though we never forget.

Best wishes.

Graham.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 2 years ago from Potter County, Pa. Author

I hope by sharing my own story I am able to help others deal with their own grief. Thank you, old albion for your nice comment.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

I was also 16 when I first experienced grief. My older brother had passed away. Since then most members of my family have passed. We keep their memories alive by sharing stories about them. I continue to celebrate my parents birthdays even though they are celebrating in a better place. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger :)


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 2 years ago from Potter County, Pa. Author

I know people who have problems dealing with their loss. I think they are only making themselves ill. It's a part of life we all have to face someday. If only I could help them find a comfort zone. I appreciate your comments, Sunshine625. Thanks for stopping by.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

We do the best we can by helping others deal with grief, but we all deal with it differently. I have friends who just can not move on, but they are doing their best.

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