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Death - Grief Process

Updated on February 24, 2015
Mekenzie profile image

Walking the road of grief is hard work. Wading through heavy emotions can be lonely. Find encouragement in these true stories. Susan

Sunset | Source
Grandma and My Girls
Grandma and My Girls | Source
My Pictures:  My Babygirl with her Babygirl
My Pictures: My Babygirl with her Babygirl | Source

Loss of a Loved One

Anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one knows the conflicting and gut wrenching emotions that shrouds the process of grief and loss.

About a year ago our family stood by grandma and ministered to her with kindness and acts of love, right to the very end.

We surrounded her with our smiles as she basked in the comfort of our family laughter, rested in the beloved voices of her family singing her favorite songs and reveled in the many touches and cuddles from oldest to youngest.

Grandma was 99 when she departed from this earth-place. She'd been a very healthy, strong and independent woman all of her life but as her life ebbed down her mind and health was wrought with confusion and hardship.

One of the most poignant memories, locked in the time of her last days, was the family gathered around her bed with voices melded together in song. Such was the case right up until the moment when she breathed her last breath.

In this hub I would like to introduce to you four up and coming young writers. I have chosen to feature these three guest writers because they are all family members who stood by and witnessed the candle of Grandma's life, which once shined brightly, dim then flicker and finally go out altogether.

Anna | Source
Maddy and Kristin
Maddy and Kristin | Source
Kristin and Kenzie
Kristin and Kenzie | Source

Grief and Loss

The guest writers on the subject of grief and loss are my lovely and gifted granddaughters. I will feature the youngest to the oldest.

Each of my granddaughters are equally beautiful. Each has a bent which blesses our family in different ways.

Anna is a delightful and compassionate girl. She was only 11 years old when Grandma left this earth. Anna wanted to be there with Grandma and the family as oft. as she could. She is a sunshine type of girl who spread light and joy, to the family, throughout the last days with her Grandma's life. She has a beautiful and clear voice which rang out when she joined in to sing Grandma's favorite hymns.

Maddy is a whimsical light-hearted girl. At the time of loss she was 13 years old. Maddy was the faithful servant who stood quietly by reflecting on Grandma's needs. She was quick to grab a blanket, comb her hair, hold her hand and just be there. Kindness mixed with sorrow covered her every action.

Kenzie is our little scholar who enjoys quietness and reading as much as she does competitive sports. She too was 13 years old when Grandma died ... did I mention she is Maddy's twin? Kenzi had a rough time with the process. She cared and she asked questions but it hurt her to go near.

Kristin, my first born grandchild, was a regular nurturing Nellie. I know her to be one who would typically avoid entering this kind of pain but she amazed me by bravely stepping up with gentle love in Grandma's last days. She tenderly cared for Grandma by rubbing her head, whispering endearments into her ear, rubbing her arms and holding her hand - even when, as death closed in - those hands turned hard and cold.

Here, in their own words, are their thoughts on grief and loss revealing the struggle and process that took place in the private place of their hearts.

Grandma's 99th Birthday
Grandma's 99th Birthday | Source
Anna and Sissy
Anna and Sissy | Source


by Anna

As the color of you faded

Our grief and joy debated

As you took that fall

Our grief won for most of us

But you'll always stay with us

As you debated to cross the bridge to Heaven

We all knew you were not forsaken

As you took your final breath

on I'll Fly Away

You flew to Heaven up and away

Though we miss you more than silver

You'll always be our treasure

Maddy with Grandma
Maddy with Grandma | Source
Maddy Pie
Maddy Pie | Source

A Day in Rest

by Maddy

do you remember?

I do

a day in August

I could feel the darkness closing in

as your breath became gasps

like those of children in horror of a movie

as our songs carried on

as our voices rang out in sorrow

all the color from you drained away

almost like water on a painting

like rain on a window

your breathing became slower and slower and


as your color faded away so did the heat of your body

you came in and out of death

like you were deciding whether or not to cross the river

from here to heaven

we sang many sorrowful hymns before you left

but only one I do remember

we sang the words “I'll fly away” over and over until

you were gone in the words

a sudden panic came over me

like a wave swallowing up its victim

you had finally crossed that river

I'll Fly Away by Gaither Homecoming

Dan - Brookie - Kenzie
Dan - Brookie - Kenzie | Source
Grandmas 99th Birthday
Grandmas 99th Birthday | Source

A Day in August

by Kenzie

do you remember?

I do

a day in August

we were sitting in pews

listening to stories

we laughed and we cried

and we cried some more

then came a duet

they sang like angels

their voices were so beautiful

the song spoke to us

making us cry yet again

we had to leave and face the unwanted

the cars went up the street in one straight





the purple flag on our window

taunted us

it knew where we were going

the burial is always the hardest

this one was no exception

there was sobbing

that's all there was for a long while


As the lid closed

and the casket was lowered into the ground

the final cry left our lips

Mickey Ream was put to rest after 99 years

she was left at the graveyard

right next to Stanley Ream

My Rising Star Granddaughter
My Rising Star Granddaughter | Source
Kristin | Source
Grandma at Home
Grandma at Home | Source
Grandmas Place
Grandmas Place | Source

I'll Fly Away

by Kristin

It was a beautiful, and humid August day outside. The birds were chirping, and the air smelt of freshly cut grass. I had left work early on that beautiful Monday afternoon. I drove my car, for what seemed like hours, until I reached a parking lot full of cars. I slowly pulled into a parking spot directly in front of my Great Grandmother’s nursing home.

I had driven to this nursing home several times before, but this time it felt different. I began to notice things I had never noticed before. The nursing home was a pale grey color, similar to the sky before a rainstorm. The bushes were full of beautiful, bright, blossoming, yellow flowers. The sidewalk leading up to the nursing home seemed to drag on forever.

I struggled trying to pull myself up from the driver's seat of my tiny car. My body felt limp, and heavy, as if I was made of steel. When I finally did manage to pull myself up, I was greeted by the scorching sun beating across my body, and shining through my eyes.

Flustered, I began my walk up to the giant, steel grey door, which looked extremely similar to a prison door. As I felt myself getting closer to the door my stomach began to twist and turn into a million knots. I could taste my breakfast trying to jump from my stomach, and crawl out of my mouth. My whole body was shaking, my mind was racing, and beads of sweat were trickling down my palms as I reached for the steel handle door.

Behind the door were two more doors before I could reach the door where my Great Grandmother lie on her deathbed. Each door required a code I had to punch in before I could enter the next room. I had finally reached the third door, and I held my breath as I pulled the heavy door open with my tiny fingers.

The small hallway was barely big enough for two small people to fit through. The aroma of coffee, flowers, and perfume burnt through my nostrils. At the end of the hallway lie my Great Grandmother's door wide open. I tiptoed into the tiny room full of family members there to say their last goodbyes to Grandma Mickey.

As my eyes shifted to my petite Grandmother's body I could see she looked much worse than the previous days I had stopped by to see her. She was curled up into a tiny ball lying on her side. Her hair was pushed back and out of her face. Pieces of her once soft luxurious skin seemed to slowly fall from her face.

She smelt of something that could only be described as death itself or a body rotting from the inside out. My family members had been rubbing baby powder over her rough, cracked skin in attempt to cover up the toxic smell.

For a brief moment I took my focus off the smell and focused on the tiny movement coming from my Grandmother's chest. Her chest rattled as she took each tiny breath. The sound made me cringe, as I had never heard such a vile sound breaking through another human's chest. I could tell she was nearing the end. She could have a week, days, hours, or even minutes left to live.

I took a seat in a small wooden chair next to my Grandmother's bed. I kissed her hand and rubbed her head. Unlike the other times however, she could not rub my hand back. Her eyes had been closed for days, and I tried to remember the last time I saw them open. It was Christmas time when the family all gathered to take pictures with one another. Her eyes were stern and watery blue like glass.

I remember many wonderful things about my Grandma. When she would hug someone she would hug them with her whole heart and I knew this because, she never wanted to let go. She was a great cook. She cooked the best mashed potatoes and pies of of anyone I've ever know, and she would never let anyone waste food because she wanted us to appreciate the wonderful gifts God had blessed us with.

For the third day in a row I said goodbye to my Grandma, just in case she flew into Heaven and I wasn't able to be by her side. I kissed her hand and excused myself from my seat. Shortly after, two nurses came in to reposition my Grandmother's body, However this time something was different, something was wrong. My Grandmother's body was turning purple and blue, and her face was suddenly as white as a ghost. The nurses then left the room and advised us she did not have much longer.

There were nine of us in the room that day. We all gathered around Grandma Mickey and began to rejoice and sing for her with tears in our eyes. Her once beautiful, sparkling eyes that had been closed for days suddenly popped wide open. She gazed around the room, and knew we were all there to be with her.

She then took such huge breaths that each one seemed like it was her last. The angels were rejoicing, waiting impatiently for Grandma to join them in paradise. We finally began a song called "I'll Fly Away." As we sang she took her very last, long, deep breath. She gazed around the room one last time and flew away. Her body lay still and lifeless; as if all that was left was a shell of the once kind, gracious, stubborn, Godly woman she once was.

That day was the last day my Grandmother graced the world with her presence. I will no longer take time for granted because every single second counts. I will never take a person on this earth for granted because they may not always be around. I will no longer fear death because with death comes peace.

Grandkids Gotta Have Fun
Grandkids Gotta Have Fun | Source


The inner thoughts of four precious girls were expressed with heartfelt well crafted words. I praise God for their lives and the depth of beauty I see in each one.

There were other grandchildren present who witnessed and experienced a grieving of their own. Each one knew they were fully loved and shared in the comfort of knowing we had each other to hold on to.

Great Grandma was all about being in the middle of everything. She loved family and didn't hesitate to share her opinion about anything and everything having to do with each one. ;) It was clear to see that was comforted by being right in the middle of our attention and devotion ... right to the very end.

Grief and Loss

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    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 4 years ago from Michigan

      Oh thank you dear Jackie for stopping by and sharing your heart. Those of us who have experienced grief know how hard it is to get past the pain and on to healing. My oldest granddaughter (who wrote the last entry) said that the experience actually helped her NOT to fear death. She knows she will see Gma Mickey again and that Heaven is more real to her. Isn't that cool!

      Both Gma and Gpa LOVED the song I'll fly away and so we sang it over and over again - it was even sung at both of their funerals to communicate their desire to fly away and be freed from the pain to enjoy the glories of Heaven.

      I look forward to reading more from you as well deargirl.

      God Bless YOU!


    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      So beautiful, thank you so much for sharing this. Of course it reminds us all of similar circumstances. I'll Fly Away is such a beautiful song I have sang and heard sung for many years and it never fails to bring tears, but hopeful, happy ones. I look forward to reading much more of you.

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 4 years ago from Michigan

      Rolly, First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I know your focus has been riveted on your first (paper) book publication - which is a huge accomplishment and will bless many people. Congrats to YOU!!!

      You know the history Rolly and the path of pain left behind. Yet the love and tender care that came from the heart of her family touched me to the core.

      The girls hearts are so transparent and their words powerful. As people grieve different levels of emotions come out. When my Dad passed ... there were so many unresolved hurts in my heart ... it took me years to work through those conflicted emotions. When my Mom died there was no struggle as I released her to God. We loved each other and had resolved conflicted situations that I grew up with. Different people ... different manifestations of grief.

      Thanks for your kind and encouraging comment Rolly and for walking through some of the hard stuff with me. I appreciate it and YOU so much.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Miss Susan... I know this was a hard write for you as we spoke often of Mickey and yes her antics. One thing I have always looked for is what those who pass away leave behind. I can see she left what is important.

      The girls have paid and awesome tribute to Grams. I can well imagine she will direct them all the days of their lives with the wisdom she instilled into them. Excellent writing to all the girls in the house... including you Susan.

      Hugs and Blessings and much Love from Canada

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 4 years ago from Michigan

      teacherjoe, so nice to have your kindness touch down on this hub. I most often grieve in silence too.

      Thankful that my three girls were willing to share their private thoughts on this hub. I pray it helps others who grieve or need to grieve. It's a process.

      I hope your day is wonderful as you bless the little ones under your care.


    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 4 years ago

      Good morning beautiful little sister.

      Thank you for sharing such a beautiful event.

      We all handle grief diffierantly.

      For myself I just need to greive in solitude.

      May Jesus sweet love heal the painful hurt that comes from the loss of a loved one

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 4 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you always, I'm grateful you found the girls poetry touching. They are really special young ladies and I am thankful they poured their thoughts and hearts out in such beautiful and descriptive expressions.

      Thanks for your encouraging comments.


    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 4 years ago from Michigan

      Pamela, the girls amazed me with their words and expressions of love and respect for great grandma. Yes 99 was a very long life.

      How precious to read that you adore your mom - it will be very hard to part with her Pam - but the knowledge of knowing she is with Jesus will give you great comfort.

      Thanks for your encouraging and warm comments - and we receive your blessings from God.



    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is so beautiful. Your grandmother was blessed to have wonderful love from her family. The poetry is touching. Thank you for sharing with us....

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      Your grandmother must have been a remarkable woman as the words of each person showed me the love and faith that lives in your family. I would say 99 years is a long, good life, yet my mother lives with us and she is 89. I absolutely adore her and hate the thought she may be coming near the end of her days with heart problems that continue to get worse.

      I know your Grandmother was welcomed to Heaven with the love of God, our Father. She has no more pain, no tears..... Yes, we have to grieve, but it helps me to know that my mother is a Christian and I imagine that is some comfort to you also.

      This was a very touching hub. I think it is wonderful that the granddaughters each wrote in this hub. It is awesome and beautiful. God bless your all.

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 4 years ago from Michigan

      Faith, I always smile when I see your picture and after reading your last excellent hub (parody) I will forever think of you as the beautiful Terri. ;)

      Yes we all deal with grief in our own way- actually part of the purpose of this hub was to pull back the curtain of grief to see through the eye of my three beautiful granddaughters.

      I'm so glad your family were also gathered around your sweet mama's bed when the angels came to take her home and that she had the comfort of your love and presence.

      I do write some poetry sweet Faith ... but if you look back you'll see the poetry in this hub is by my 13 year old twin girls whom I gave credit to in the introduction. :)

      My girls are so gifted and it makes me so happy that they have a love for the written word too.

      Thank you for you kind and generous words my sister Faith. I know you understand the heartache and the joy grief and loss brings.

      Hugs and Blessings!


    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, my precious sister in Christ and daughter of the King,

      I am in tears from the sheer beauty of your words here in sharing such a beautiful life with us all. We all deal with grief in different ways, and I am still grieving the loss of my sweet mother who went to be with the Lord this past Christmas. We, too, gathered around her bed, and we were blessed to get to celebrate and sing Happy Birthday to her and with her on her 84th birthday, and eat cake with her, while she was smiling, then just four days later, on December 20th, she was gone, but we were all there. Then came that day, she took one big last breath.

      This is the most beautiful hub I have read on grief and loss. So many dear friends here on HP have recently experienced such loss. Your poetry is amazing. I did not realize you were also a gifted poet.

      Your photos of your precious family are just that, precious. So much love is evident. You are blessed to have had her for so long, and she was blessed to have such a loving family.

      God bless you precious heart. In His Love Always, Faith Reaper