Posted in Grief

Friendship and understanding

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one. –C. S. Lewis

Most friendships begin with all of those lovely things that we have in common with another person and grow over time.

But, some friendships are rooted in shared sorrows and an intimate understanding of loss.

My friendship with Tonya began as the latter. The loss of a parent–in Tonya’s case, both parents–brought us together.

And over time, our relationship has evolved into so much more than that.

We laugh, encourage one another, and celebrate life together.

But there’s an underlying knowledge that she understands me.

When I experience great joy, she knows that there’s a part of me mourns my father.

When I’m struggling, she knows just what to say that both acknowledges what I’m saying but also what I’m not.

I am guest posting for Tonya today over on Letters for Lucas, where I’ve shared a letter to my mother, a woman who I don’t thank nearly often enough.

It would mean the world to me if you came by to say hello.

Thank you for your friendship, Tonya. I count you amongst my greatest blessings.

 

Because They’re All I Have…

When I gather them together in one neat stack, I probably have 30 or so pictures of my father.

And when I comb my mind for memories of him, I have zero.

My father has been gone for as long as I can remember.

I was just two years old when he died…such a cruel age to lose a parent.

I would give anything for just one memory…just one wisp of a shared moment.

This stack of photos is all that I have of him.

I don’t know what the skin on his face felt like, but in the photos, it looks so soft.

I don’t know what his hair felt like, but the photos show that it was wavy and smooth.

I never had the chance to hear from him the stories of his youth, but the photos shed some light onto the young man that he was.

I’ve always worried about something happening to my collection of photos…always worried that if they were gone, I would have nothing left of my dad.

So, I’m sending my precious pile of photos to LiveOn Rewind, where they will be professionally preserved.

LiveOn will send me a preservation kit that will include a box custom-designed to fit my photos, a prepaid mailing envelope, a waterproof plastic bag, and secure packaging. Once I’ve mailed it off to them, they will convert my photos and return them to me within 3-4 weeks. The best part is that I’ll be able to see photos in the meantime, as they’ll share them with me as they process them.

Although my father lives in my heart, my photos are my only real connection to him and I’ll feel so much better once I know they’re safe.

Do you have any old pictures that you’d love to keep safe? Here’s a LiveOn discount code for you to use: HOLIDAYREWIND

Thank you to LiveOn for sponsoring this blog post. Please LiveOn to learn more about sharing and preserving your most important memories. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective. Although story ideas were provided, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Taken

breast cancer ribbon, pink ribbon, My cousin Crystal died Saturday morning.

She was 48.

After a brutal battle with breast cancer, she could fight no longer.

The final days of her life were spent in a bedroom with her sister, my cousin, Roxanne, who is also dying.

The doctors say she will likely die before Christmas.

Breast cancer.

Both of my beautiful cousins will die from breast cancer.

I spoke with my aunt at length on the phone today.

She alternated between tremendous strength and overwhelming sadness.

She begged me to be careful. She spoke of breast self exams and mammograms.

We talked of her loss…both of her children.

Both.

Crystal has two children, both in their early 20s, neither of whom have children of their own yet.

As I try to comprehend what they are feeling, I can’t help but think of my own children.

And my aunt’s words echo in my ear…breast self exams and mammograms.

“Vigilent,” she said, “you must be vigilant.”

She spoke of cancer that had reached Crystal’s bones and finally her brain.

I think of my aunt and what she must feel when she’s trying to fall asleep at night.

Both of her children. Taken from her.

We should not outlive our children.

My heart is truly heavy.

Please educate yourself about breast cancer and learn how to lower your risk at the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Do it for your mother. Do it for your children. Do it for yourself.

Connected through Immeasurable Loss

Letters for LucasOne of my dear friends, Tonya, lost her parents in a tragic accident several years ago.

They were young, vibrant, generous, and kind.

We spoke last year about what it means to have lost a parent, in my case, and two, in hers.

We spoke of death, faith, and pain and how we will explain our losses to our young children.

She asked me to share with her my thoughts all that time ago and I kept procrastinating, as the answers hadn’t crystalized in my mind as I thought they might.

My father’s death has been so central to who I am and how I approach my life.

Today, I am finally ready to talk and I’m sharing my thoughts over on Tonya’s blog, Letters for Lucas.

Please come visit me there and spend some time getting to know Tonya. Her soul is truly lovely.

I will be ever grateful if you share your thoughts and wisdom with us in the comments.

 

I’m learning

This week, I am honored to have Amy, from Transplanted Thoughts, as my guest poster for Small Moments Mondays.

Amy has lived through more unspeakable sadness than many of us can even begin to imagine.

Her story is unfathomable and overwhelming.

Her story inspires and brings hope.

Her story exemplifies survival and optimism.

To say that she is strong diminishes her. To say that she is brave doesn’t begin to cover it.

Amy is a survivor…she is truly remarkable.

To learn more about Amy and her lovely family, please read That MorningLucky Scars, and Peppermint Ice Cream Love, just a few more pieces of her beautiful writing.

Thank you for sharing this small moment with us, Amy. Thank you for continually showing us what it means for life to continue…thank you for showing us how to find joy in the small moments. I am so incredibly grateful to you.

I’m Learning — by Amy

I used to be good at juggling.

Juggling my time and that of my 6 children, that is. The two oldest kids live out of state and 3 of the 4 little ones at home were dealing with health issues. 6 kids demanded that I be an organized, get it done kind of mom. In addition to family life, there was time spent running my sewing business.

I thrived on being busy and like most moms ‘my’ time was had after the kids were in bed. This was time spent sewing, chatting online or cleaning up the house.

When I had all four boys at home, I dreamed of the time when they would all be in school and I would have some free time on my hands. I had even figured it out. David would have started preschool the year Jacob entered fifth grade. Zachary would be in Kindergarten, Jonathan in 3rd. I admit I now feel guilty for looking forward to that day. In my mind it’s turned into a warped – “Be careful what you wish for kind of thing.”

Now that I only have 3 of my sons left at home, it breaks my heart that I have all this time on my hands.

And no desire to push myself doing menial tasks just to fill that time.

Sometimes I catch myself staring off into space. I abruptly come to and wonder where the last hour or so wandered away to. Especially in the afternoons after I’ve gotten Zachary down for his nap and the big boys have yet to arrive home from school. This quiet time around the house paralyzes me, draws me into it’s catatonic embrace and doesn’t let me go.

Night-time is the absolute worst for me. I am a night owl by nature and the time spent after the boys fall asleep has always been my most productive. While I still find myself awake at 1 or 2 in the morning, nothing on my “To Do” list has been crossed off.

Once, I had the drive to pack as much as possible into each and every day.

Now, most days are celebrated by simply making it through.

I’m learning to say that’s okay.

I’m learning to embrace the slowness that only grief can impose. The slowness that makes me more attentive to my boys. Once toys and videos were a means to keep the kids busy while I accomplished another task. Now spending that time with the boys has become the priority.

I’m learning to say that it’s okay that the house isn’t spotless because I chose to hang out with the boys instead.

I’m learning to say that it’s okay if I spend the day in my pj’s just because I need to.

I’m learning to say that there is life after the death of a child.

It’s just not the same life.

And that’s okay.

Learning.


Now, please go follow Amy on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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