Posts Tagged With: Grief

Dealing with Loss

Dealing with Loss

Life is constantly changing and in those changes sometimes things get lost, things that are essential to our hearts and souls, to our minds and well-being.  It would be great if we were able to accumulate and keep everything and everyone that came into our lives, especially the people who we love most and who have impacted us most in our lives, but we can’t. No matter how much we wish it, how much we want it, we came into this world alone and we will leave it alone, and along the way we will have to deal with loss.

The worst pain I ever felt in my life was losing someone I loved, especially because it was hard for me to love in the first place. It took me so long to open my heart and let that love in – and then to have it taken from me so quickly. I still find myself waiting – waiting for someone that is gone in my life to just walk around the corner and greet me again with that beautiful smile, to  speak words of encouragement to me when it seems like everything and everyone is against me, to tell me I can when I don’t believe it.  But, he never comes – and I keep waiting.  Even today, after twenty-six years, I feel this empty space he left behind.  But, I only have to close my eyes and I can picture him smiling at me, urging me forward in my life, daring me to take those chances, and trying to provoke me into giving love another shot.  I talk to him all the time, because I know what he would say to me.

Right now someone very special to me, someone I love deeply and care for greatly, is dealing with a loss and I don’t know how to help him. I know the pain he is in and I want to tell him it gets easier and eventually the pain goes away, but it doesn’t.  I want to tell him that she’s in a better place, watching over him, and he will see her again someday, but I really can’t make that promise either because I don’t know if it’s true or not. I have faith it is, but it’s not something I can promise. It’s not my call. I know the emptiness he is feeling inside. I know the questions, and the doubts, and the fears, and the anger, and the bargaining, and everything else that comes with grief.  I’m so scared he’s going to be weak like me and let that pain build a door and a wall that will push everyone else out – and go through the motions of life but not really live.  But, I can’t stop him.  It’s got to be his choice.

What comforts me when I think about my loss is remembering the smiles, the laughter, the conversations, and the dreams we built together.  When I’m hurting or doubting, I hear his words and his voice pushing me forward and encouraging me.  That’s what I want for Scott – I want him to think about what ‘she’ would want for him, what ‘she’ would tell him if she was sitting beside him, what ‘she’ would want him to do. He knows what she would say. He knows what she would want. And THAT is what I want him to push for, to strive for, and to make happen in his life.  He has a fighting motto – “Find something worth dying for – and then live for it.”  I pray he heeds his own motto.

Ecclesiastes 3 reads, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, and time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:12: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”

That’s what I want for him – to be happy and to do good while he lives.  To live in the moment, to live in the day, and not just merely exist.  He is in a time of mourning, but he must look toward the new sun and not dwell on what is gone for more than a cycle of the moon (30 days) lest it become work of the enemy to steal his strength and joy.  I know the pain of holding on too long. But, what can I say or do?  I am helpless because this is his journey, his walk, and his burden to bear.  James whispers to me when I’m feeling overwhelmed and helpless to do anything to ease his pain – and reminds me that where there is much grief there is much love. All I can do is love and pray and wait.

Dealing with loss is not easy. It hurts. It hurts badly.  I can’t save the world from feeling loss, but perhaps just try to remind it that there is/was/will be love in the world too.  I know that James loved me and he always wanted what was best for me – and knowing that, I have tried to live my life pursing love, pursuing happiness, pursuing the dreams we built together.  I want him to be proud of me, as I have become proud of myself. For my children, when I am gone, I would want them to be happy, to be loved, to live each day as if it were their last, to take chances and risks, and to not be afraid to fail and get back up.  That’s what makes life valuable.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Dreams, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Inspirational, Life, love, relationship, Relationships, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Complicated Simplicity

How much pain can a person truly handle before they break?  A person can break, I’ve seen it, experienced it, and am not convinced once broken we can ever be whole again.  But can we survive?

The hardest part of my faith for me is to trust that God will not allow more than I can handle.  That is His promise.  That is a promise I don’t understand.  It seems simple enough, but complexity and simplicity often happen at the same time.  Complicated Simplicity. What an oxymoron.

I’ve looked into the eyes of a person and saw fire – flames of life burning in them so bright they can’t help but make the world around them sparkle with hope, joy, laughter. It’s easy to believe in those moments in that promise.

I’ve also looked into a pair of eyes and witnessed such pain and depravation and literally watched the color of their irises dull and their whole countenance pale in despair. This is when we hope for that promise most of all.

I’ve also looked into a pair of eyes as their souls slipped away and death consumed them. It’s not something that can really be explained, nor is it something I would recommend.  Where is the promise here?

All these experiences leave behind scars… a tendril of essence that becomes recognizable when you see it operating in all the other sets of eyes in the world.  I truly do believe the eyes are the windows to a person’s soul.  I want to hold onto that promise, but I doubt, and I waiver, and I fear.

When my walls are up I avoid allowing people to look into my eyes.  When my walls are down I seek as much eye contact as possible. Our bodies can lie.  Our mouths can lie.  Our hands can lie.  Our thoughts can lie.  Our feelings are often the biggest liars of all.  But the eyes… the eyes can’t lie.  In this new technological world, it’s becoming easier to lie because we feel comfortable behind our screens.  Black font replaces our attempts to conceal our eyes, mostly from ourselves.  Again, another example of Complicated Simplicity.

 What complicated-simple truth would my eyes say today?  I’m reminded of a quote from my first published novel where Cain rolls over, away from the fire, away from the view of his new friend.  Tears spill out the corner of his eyes and he whispers, “No more.  I can bear no more.” Unlike my character Cain, I’m not immortal. I can break.

There was a moment when I opened my eyes this morning.  A brief moment – where time stood still and the universe turned toward me, and waited for an answer.  I had a choice.  Live or leave.  Fight or give up.  All thoughts left my mind.  All feeling left my body. Then I heard my spirit singing the soft echo of a song I haven’t heard in years from a group called Switchfoot ….

Welcome to the planet.

Welcome to existence.

Everyone’s here.  Everyone’s here.

Everybody’s watching you now.

Everybody waits for you now.

What happens next?  What happens next?


I dare you to move!

I dare you to move!

I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor!

I dare you to move!

I dare you to move!

Like today never happened, today never happened before.


Welcome to the fall out.

Welcome to resistance.

The tension is here.  The tension is here.

Between who you are and who you could be.

Between how it is and how it should be.


I dare you to move!

I dare you to move!

I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor!

I dare you to move!

I dare you to move!

Like today never happened, today never happened before.


Maybe redemption has stories to tell.

Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell.

Where can you run to escape from yourself?

Where you gonna go?  Where you gonna go?

Salvation is here.


I moved.  I got up. I put my feet on the floor.  I breathed.   So complex, yet so simple. Today, I’m still broken but I’m alive.  So, yesterday was not more than I could handle. I’m not saying I handled it well, just that I survived.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Revelation’s Light

Revelations Light

Healing is a long process and from my experience a very painful one, sometimes I believe even more painful from the things for which I’m healing.  I won’t rehash my woes this morning, because I truly feel I’ve reached another level of enlightenment and stage of reconstruction. By revelations’ light, I’m transforming from the ghostly image of who I’ve been into who I’m meant to be.

 According to my expert online research (we all know how trustworthy internet information can be) there are currently seven stages of grief: Shock and Denial; Pain and Guilt; Anger and Bargaining; Depression, Reflection and Loneliness; Upward Turn; Reconstruction and working through; and Acceptance and Hope.  I personally feel there are seventy times seven, and they’re all sitting on a merry-go-round, and until we truly find the peace we need, we just keep circling the same hurts over and over. 

I know this may be hard to believe, but on most days and at any given moment, my friends will often find me smiling, laughing, joking, encouraging someone else, pushing,  giving of myself and anything I can and have to help.  I’m a giver.  I’m compassionate.  But, I’m also a reflective person; I examine myself often.  With that examination come a lot of facing truths, dealing with pain, and gritting teeth while I endure the healing.  Healing isn’t easy; at least not for me. 

Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me this video featuring three of today’s wackiest comedians giving advice on living and overcoming depression.  At first I thought it was funny.  I’m beginning to recognize I use laughter as a defense mechanism at the first sign of pain or discomfort, even without knowing I’m in such a state.  There were a few key phrases that jumped out at me while I watched this video, but throughout the day, at different times, and then in the night while I’m waiting on my mind to drift to sleep, I kept hearing parts of that video play over and over in my head.  I tried distraction of every kind, including playing What’s the Phrase with a few friends, but nothing stopped the anger in me that finally bubbled to the surface and then finally spilled out.  My poor friend, Jenna, graciously allowed me to use her as a sounding board without judging or getting angry at me.  Girlfriends are really important. 

I had thought I’d been through this stage of grief already, but I guess I’ve only scratched the surface, because I’m angry.  I’m not just a little angry; I’m steaming, volcano-erupting-mad-as-hell angry.  I should not be where I am! I’ve worked too hard for too damned long to be here.  I’ve spent my whole life putting other people first and the first time I trust someone else to put me first, they don’t – they let me down; they let me fall, and then walked away to leave me to pick myself up.  I’m so fucking mad.  I gave everything and when I needed someone to believe in me, to sacrifice FOR me, they couldn’t or refused.  I don’t even think most of the pain comes from them not being who I needed them to be, but more from the fact they didn’t deem me worthy of the effort or trouble. 

My anger is so strong it’s colored everything to the point it’s paralyzed me.  Being let down when it’s expected is different than when you finally let go and place your dreams into someone else’s hands.  Then it’s not disappointment; it’s betrayal.  There hasn’t been a task or obstacle I’ve ever had trouble overcoming or defeating in my life, and there have been some major issues, until now.  Literally for the past couple of years I’ve been blinded in rage.  I’m in so much pain I became numb; in shock.  Then when I start to feel it, I blame myself because I should have known better than to trust someone else with the very thing that meant the world to me.  Abuse my body, I’ll bounce back.  Break my heart, it will heal.  But trample on my dreams….

It took me witnessing someone else react in fear concerning their dream for me to realize and recognize what’s been holding me back; why I’ve been paralyzed and not doing simple things I know I should; things that are essentially self-destructive.  I haven’t dealt with the pain yet, because it’s the worse devastation I’ve ever experienced.  I can never express how grateful I am to the friends that have come into my life this past year.  Each one of them has been essential in healing a different part of me.  I know they love me, care for me and only want to help.  All they’ve seen so far is this paralyzed, scared, angry little girl.  But, I’m healing, I’m dealing with my anger, and soon they will get to meet the strong, powerful woman I’ve always been. 

I hope my friends will love her as much as they’ve loved me.  She’s different.  She’s confident, unstoppable, doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, isn’t scared of anything and doesn’t see defeat.  Right now, I’m still very angry. I’m literally shaking as I write this.  I feel trapped, held down against my will and forced into a life I didn’t choose or deserve.  Now that I recognize the source of my paralysis, I have the power to remove it and take a step forward.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Inspirational, Musing, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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