Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I hope this report finds you doing well.
As you know, if you have ever lost a loved one, this can be a challenging time of the year. Our thoughts tend to go towards the one we have lost. It is very easy to let this become an overwhelming time of sadness.
A couple of suggestions:
1. When your loved one crosses your mind, intentionally try to remember the last positive holiday memory you had with them.
2. Focus on the joy they brought to your life.
3. Call other family members and share the happy memory with them.
4. Remember that there is nothing wrong with thinking of the lost loved one.
5. Go ahead and shed some tears – they can be very cleansing!
6. Remember that this is a very normal part of grieving and there is nothing wrong with your feelings. (It’s what you do with those thoughts and feelings that will make the difference in how your holiday experience goes.)
7. Remember those in your life that are still living, and cherish the time you have with them.
Now, for those of us who are friends and family of the grieving –
It is perfectly okay to bring up the person who has passed away. Dancing around the fact only tends to make things more uncomfortable for your loved one. Let them know that you remember also. Encourage them to remember the good times. Share positive stories about the person who has passed. Never tell them to “get over it”. Grieving is different for each person. Show support and continue to tell them you love them.
I pray that these things will help in some small way.
My dear friend, Janelle Woody, Posted this on Facebook:
Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed
For many years I (Bronnie Ware) worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.
I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way – you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness
I know this has been lengthy but I felt it was something we all can use.
This last month has been filled with many visits, encouraging those who have lost loved ones over the last year and loving those who are making their final journey.
Please remember the following in your prayers:
Kenley Martin – suffering multiple seizures daily, trying to get meds regulated to help.
Roger Luckenbach – suffered a heart attack and is having a very slow recovery.
Sean Patty and family in the loss of his mother, Karon Patty.
Chris Wilson, nephew of Irene LeMarr, had surgery for kidney cancer
Steve Henderson & family in the loss of his cousin, Kevin
Betty Johnston and family in the loss of her son, Lyle Johnston
Pam Christopherson – was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (stage 4)
Josh Barnes mother-in-law, Jo Carol Spurlock, passed away after a long battle with cancer
Shirley Muse is battling cancer. She is in treatment in Albuquerque, NM.
Eddie Foster continues to recover from pneumonia and doing much better.
Lynn Payne – continues to battle COPD but seems to be doing better.
Roy Hart continues to deal with Alzheimer’s and is now experiencing “Sundowner’s” which make him very restless and agitated in the evenings. Pray for Merita’s continued strength and good health as she assists Roy.
Jack and Minnie Hedgepeth, Peggy Whitefield’s parents, recently moved to Odessa and are now in assisted living. Minnie has Alzheimer’s and the move has been difficult for her.
Blessings & Grace to each of you in this holiday season!
Lonnie & Donna Hamil