My family has been going through some tough stuff this past little while. My children’s grandmother has passed away. She was 94 years old, a happy, good, caring woman. She loved to laugh, to go shopping and to cook for her children. She lived a long, fruitful, strong Catholic life. She was a mother to me.
Each member of our family sits with our own memories, memories of our love for her, her love for us, memories of family times, some good and some not so good. Our household is kind of quiet these days. It is a place of sadness.
One thing that I notice about myself is that I tend to get a little too introspective. This is part of my MO anyway. I am a very introspective person. I never watch dramas or movies that could make me cry – I tend to ask other people’s advice on whether or not to watch something, on whether or not it made them cry. I always think, there’s been enough crying in my life – I certainly don’t need to cry on purpose.
Now is a time for introspection though. A time to be grateful for the love that was brought to my home by the love of a grandmother.
It’s hard as a mom to watch your children go through difficult times like this. My kids are grown, it’s not that I can do much – I just need to be available to them, should they need me.
So, I invite them for supper, spend time with them, make a favorite meal. There is comfort in just doing the ordinary things of life, the simple tasks. I deliberately let them know that I am available, I am there for them.
There are some things that I use in my daily life while I’m in the midst of grief:
Pick up the Bible. For me, settling into the Psalms for a few moments can be calming, reassuring me that God is with me no matter what happens in life. Sit in silence. Pray.
Rely on the habits I have made – the ritual of mealtime, of grace before meals, family movie time, routine of household chores, Sunday Mass.
Make a plan to see friends regularly. They are someone to share joys and sorrows with. They can uphold me in my faith. They are the family I make.
Keep a Book of Thankfulness. It helps me remember the blessings that I have in my life and in the lives of my family.
Share stories about loved ones who have passed away. It’s time to tell the silly stories, the goofy ones that can become part of the shared memory about them.
Remember to be kind to one another, it’s an emotional time.
Just as I think how much I want to comfort my children, to be there for them, and to take some of their sorrow from them, I realize how much God is there for us and wants to do the same for us. When sorrow seems to overtake me, I can see myself leaning into the breast of God, and at the same time, God is leaning forward to gather me to Himself. Then, after a while, I can tell myself, Keep strong and place yourself and your Family into God’s hands.