Tag Archives: how to grieve

3 reasons you should visit a cemetery

This past week, only days after Memorial Day, I ironically found myself attending 2 funerals and visiting 2 cemeteries. I listened to Taps from a Marine bugle, I watched a flag being folded and unfolded by 2 solemn officers, and I straightened plastic flowers at several grave sites. 

This weekend marked my most profound visit to a cemetery to date. I stood over the graves of both my parents. It’s not something you anticipate having to do until your 60s, but I’ve already done it. Then I stood over the graves of my grandparents, uncles, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents.

And I could hear my mom’s voice in my head saying,

“Don’t walk on the graves. Walk in between them. See the space between the headstones? Follow that when you walk.”

“Read the stones. Someone lived a full life, and this is how they are remembered.”

Mom was religious about instilling in us a respect for the dead because, after having been widowed at 31, she was acutely aware of the value of life.

As I ambled through the Illinois cemetery, I reflected on its role in culture. With the current popularity of cremation, I wondered if cemeteries will one day become obsolete? What value, if any, do they hold for life? My own experience has supplied me with three reasons you should visit a cemetery. I will share them with you, on the premise that you will one day find yourself standing over the granite stone of a loved one. Continue reading

How to cope with loss

Yesterday was August 8. The date meant nothing to me specifically, except that it was one month after July 8.

Just an ordinary day for most people, but for me, it marked the one-month anniversary of my mom’s death. The only month of my life that I have existed without her. Only one month ago, I was holding her hand and talking to her and kissing her warm cheeks. I’ve had exactly one month to figure out how to cope with loss while you keep living. And I’m blogging about it. (It’s called self-therapy, people. Thanks for helping me process.)IMG_1466

I wonder how many other people in the world remember July 8 as a day where everything changed for them. Or perhaps today is one of those days for someone–a day that can’t be forgotten? It makes you think . . . every day, all year long, someone, somewhere, swallows hard because of the date on the calendar. Because that simple number in a little square bears the weight of a life-altering moment in his or her life. Continue reading

Getting ready for a loved one to die

I’m not ready.

It’s one the first things I said, sobbing, when I found out that my mom, who’s had dementiaIMG_3688

for about 10 years, had suddenly experienced a debilitating stroke. I was in the process of planning to move her to a lovely facility, just a one-minute drive from my house. I was so excited! I wanted to spend her remaining years giving care, spending time, and enjoying her, even though she is no longer the same mother I have known throughout my lifetime. Her condition had already digressed enough that I wasn’t afraid to move her to a new location, so I set the wheels in motion. While my brother and his family have done an amazing job caring for her, I couldn’t wait for my turn.

But now she’s not moving anywhere, except into heaven’s bliss. That’s a way better move. But it’s still hard to accept. I want more, now.

None of us feel ready for eternity, even though God created us for it. Our earthly lives are a race against time, and time always runs out before we can win the race. At least that’s how it feels. Continue reading