Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Grief and comfort; these two things usually go hand in hand. When someone is in pain from grief, it is human nature to want to reach out to comfort that person.

I have joked that when it comes to grief, I live in denial. I don't know if that's what it is exactly, but pushing the reality of the loss of a loved one out of your mind and your daily life is probably more like it. Some would argue that it's not healthy, but it works for me. Trust me, I have plenty of days of tears and being immersed in the reality of it all. I just choose not to remain there.

It was learning by example, I'm sure. I watched my Mom do it (and my Dad not do it) when my sister died. I knew that I could never get through a day if I let myself go where my Dad did. Everyone handles things in their own way, though, so we tried to comfort him the best way we could.


I'm sure that word means different things to different people. For my Dad, we quickly learned that it didn't mean talking about my sister, Renee, or even telling funny stories about her. For Dad, it meant listening when he needed to share, spending time with him, and eventually, it did include stories and laughter in remembrance.


One year ago today, I sat in an empty hospital room next to my Mom, who had just taken her last breath. Mark and Renee were trying to make their way up to Atlanta to be by my side, and I had never felt so alone in my life. There was a knock on the door, and in walked the hospital chaplain. He was a very sweet man who had been asked to come in to comfort me. I am ashamed to even admit this, but as this kind, gentle man attempted to comfort me in prayer, I was angry. Angry at God for taking her from us, angry at God for not allowing her passing to be in the comfort of our own home, and angry at this dear, kind chaplain for trying to comfort me. I feel so terribly guilty even sharing that.

On a humorous side note, Mark always teases me that I should have been born into a Jewish or Catholic family with all of the guilt that I carry. Since I am neither, what in the world is my excuse? Ha!

Pushing the guilt aside, I realize that those feelings of anger were fueled by my immense grief. Deep down inside, I really was gracious and thankful for the chaplain's kind words of prayer and comfort. At that very moment in time, though, just moments after my Mom's passing, our ideas of the definition of comfort were not on the same page. Just like my Dad didn't like hearing funny stories about Renee, I didn't want to hear that Mom was finally with Jesus. Finally? She was only 70 years old! Was that too long for her to be with us on this earth? Even the mention of Mom and my sister, Renee, being reunited in Heaven didn't help. Perhaps it was too soon for me to find comfort in that? Maybe in different circumstances or at a different time it would have been welcomed?


Once we left the hospital and began to share the news of Mom's passing, comfort came to us in so many forms.

~Words of love and support on our Facebook page and this blog.

~A home cooked meal with brownies for dessert to entice me to eat when I couldn't even think about putting anything into my tummy.

~Beautiful flowers, baskets filled with nourishing treats, cookies, and chocolate dipped fruit.

~The most lovely cards, which made me cry, yet feel so loved.

~Being taken out to dinner even when I didn't feel like going.

~The generous gift of plants and trees so that we could create a memorial garden in Mom's honor.

~A simple phone call to let us know we were being thought of.

~The flowers in Mom's memorial gardens blooming.

~Laughing with Mark and Renee as we shared stories of our very own 'Wilson'. Unlike my Dad, talking about her did make us feel better.

~Hugs. Lots of hugs.

All of these things did not make me angry, and in some way or another, I found comfort in each one of them. Matter in fact, I don't know how we would have gotten through this year without them.


And today, on the anniversary of Mom's passing, there was the gift of this song by Jason Mraz. If you've taken the time to read my rambling babble up to this point, please take a few minutes out of your day to listen to this. You will understand why I am asking you to do this once you hear his most beautiful lyrics.

Just like my Dad eventually found comfort in the funny stories of my sister's life, I realize that finally, I am open to different forms of comfort. Today, I am comforted by these lyrics, which are such an example of how Mom felt about life...and death.

But if love
If love is all there ever was
There will be peace on the other side
Years go fast
Live each day like it's your last
Me I'm gonna go out dancing
'Cause when I die
I'm know I'm gonna fly
Into an angel's hands
You are loved

You are loved
You are....loved

Yes, today, through my tears, I can imagine her, delivered gently into her Heaven by her angel's hands. She's been reunited with everyone she loved so much. I see her tending to her most favorite flowers and trees. She's not in pain. She is loved.


You are loved. That is my comfort today.


Snowbird said...

Beautifully said Mare. Don't know what else I can say. Hugs.

MariBy said...

Many, many hugs to you and your family today, Mare.

Wannabe Farmers said...

You and Wilson humble me and inspire me.

Baloo1320 said...


That was beautiful. =0)

Christa said...

I made the mistake of reading this at dinner, and I had to hide the red nose and watery eyes. Beautiful stuff, my friend.

Things said or done in grief are long forgiven and long forgotten. I am positive that chaplain would have completely understood the anger, and you wouldn't be the first person that was angry at God about death.

You made it through that first year - the toughest one of all. One minute, one hour, one day, one month, one year. You conquered it all in your own way, and that's all that matters.