My Happily Ever After?
By PeggySue Wells
Saying good-bye is a reason for deep grief.
There are many good-byes in life. Some are easier than others. A good-bye can
be a natural part of life. Other partings are intensely painful.
Saying good-bye to a marriage relationship truly is a tearing of flesh and heart.
Giving up the family and heritage you dreamed of building together is a wrenching
Perhaps the parting is between you and a beloved child. Someone precious to you
took an early journey home.
Losing a relationship, a job, a location, a dream – each is a significant adjustment.
We grieve the loss.
Grief work and mourning exact a toll emotionally, physically, spiritually, and
financially. It is also a time of growing, resting, learning, and yielding. Like deep muscle
exercise, this is all sorts of good, profound stuff. Grief cannot be avoided or sidestepped.
Sharing the journey helps. This journal is your companion through the process.
Each day for one month, read one statement and journal your thoughts and emotions. Putting one foot in front of the other, you will get through the desert of grief and enter the Promised Land of the next chapter of your life.
Take pen in hand, and begin. One day at a time.
Time doesn’t really heal all wounds.
Time merely teaches us how to live
with this gaping hole in our heart.
How does your heart feel today?
Crisis wears many faces.
Crisis can look like the loss of a loved one,
the loss of a relationship, the loss of a marriage, the loss of a job,
the loss of what is familiar due to relocation, the loss of a dream.
A crisis is a turning point.
Yet while we are in crisis we often feel powerless, hopeless, desperate, paralyzed.
Crisis can destroy us. Or crisis can make us stronger.
It all depends on how we face the face of crisis.
What does the face of your crisis look like?
No one can avoid it, go around it, slide under it,
fly above it, or swim below it.
Grief cannot be walked around, it must be walked through.
One step at a time. One day at a time.
What are you most afraid of when you think of the future?
It seems like you had to say good-bye
before you had the chance to say hello.
What dreams do you miss most?
Life changed overnight.
This was so unexpected.
What was the biggest shock?
Too often, tears are the only water
in the dry desert of grief.
What is the value of your tears?
There are many difficult decisions to make.
What is your toughest choice?
No one can take away the pain
and few understand the depth of your grief.
Though the scars remain, the open wound eventually heals.
How will this scar make you better?
Swimming with the tide is easy.
Swimming against the tide increases your strength.
How are you becoming stronger?
When you feel like you are in the pressure cooker,
it’s time to let off steam in a healthy manner.
Talk to a friend, take a walk, journal your honest thoughts,
scrub something until it shines.
How will you let off steam today?
People often mean well, but say the wrong things.
Listen to their hearts, not their words.
How did someone show you that they care?
Though the situation seems overwhelming right now,
may it soon open the door to opportunity.
Where do you feel overwhelmed?
Someone may be willing to help carry the burden.
Maybe then it won’t seem so heavy.
Who is available to help you?
Hope and encouragement are better than advice.
What does hope look like to you?
Anniversaries of loss and grief are annual reminders of our pain,
and of how far we’ve come on the journey to the other side of grief.
How far have you already come on your journey?
Our own deep grief reminds us not to turn away when we see others in pain.
We can cry with them. We can give a hug.
We can ask, “How are you?” and really mean it.
Who needs to hear from you?
Another who is grieving can be a companion through the journey,
but may not be able to give comfort.
Two drowning people cannot save each other.
Who is strong for you?
Healing cannot be rushed.
It’s harmful to tackle projects we’re not ready for.
There are no deadlines for when we must be over it.
Can you trust the process?
When we are drowning in grief
it’s okay to cry.
Where do you find encouragement?
We fear the waves of grief will overwhelm us.
Choose to ride though the powerful emotions now
so the unfinished process will not haunt the future.
How will this be a stepping-stone in your life?
Being bitter about the loss only increases the pain.
We can be thankful for what we had, for what we still have,
and for what the future holds.
What are you thankful for?
There is a whole world out there just beyond the pain.
There is a whole world out there in spite of the pain.
Go to a movie, try a new restaurant, visit a museum.
What will you do today?
When someone wants to talk
and we don’t feel like it,
we don’t have to.
What do you not feel like doing?
It helps to have a safe someone to talk to
when it’s time to talk.
Who is a safe someone you can talk to?
It is surprising when close friends don’t understand.
It is surprising when support comes
from unexpected sources.
Where does your support come from?
It’s not comforting when someone says,
“At least you had those years together.”
Or “At least you don’t have to worry anymore.”
At least we’ve learned not to tell another, “At least . . .”
We’ve learned to say, “I’m sorry.”
What else have you learned?
Cocooning is tempting.
Some alone time is good.
Balance it with time out and with others.
Say yes to many invitations.
We can’t wait for someone to invite us out.
Invite someone else out for a milkshake or a concert.
What delights your heart?
There is no aspirin for heartache.
Chocolate is medicinal.
So is tea.
What gives you comfort?
A stuffed teddy bear is something to hold onto.
A good book or video is for losing your mind in something other than the pain.
Where does joy invite you?
On the journey of grief
we will meet fellow travelers.
Perhaps we can walk a while together.
Will you walk a while with another?
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or
seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.