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Grief is the Price of Loving

Often over the past twenty-eight years, I have ached for God to remove the garment of grief that has been so much a part of my life. But if it were removed, I would never have the amazing memories of a person that was so special to me, and I would never have the stories to share of that wonderful time. So I have learned to accept what grief has given me. It is a reminder of that amazing time in my life and the person that was so dear to me. Reliving that time has brought back the pain again in waves of grief that continue to wash over me. How I wish I could change the events of that fateful day and recreate the ending that happened. But unfortunately, I can't. The ache for a different ending still plagues me at times. What could have been was pulled out from under me. It left me fighting through a thick dark tunnel of grief, wrestling with a myriad of feelings that almost overwhelmed me at times. I didn't think I'd ever find my way. Songs at church would leave me sobbing in the middle of a service. My peer group was stripped away from me. A scent, words, or a memory would suddenly leave me in tears. Pain so profound would wash over me, almost causing me to crumble. I learned to let these times wash over me like the waves of the ocean. Tears became something I grew accustomed to. It no longer mattered if people saw them. Holding them in was too difficult. Letting them coarse down my cheeks was easier to face. It was like a gentle rain that calmed my soul and soothed my pain. I learned to embrace these tears and allow God to comfort me. Editing my book has cracked open the grief so that the depth of that pain is again coursing through my being. But this time there is a tinge of anger over the fact that my happily ever after never did become a reality in this life. It seems so unfair. I lost what was meant to be mine. Sadness has been my robe that sometimes almost suffocates me. At one point, I felt so unwilling to embrace anymore of it and tried to take my life, but God breathed into my life and helped me find an anchor and solace to keep me going. He helped me regain my footing and find my way. Writing became my foothold. It became my beacon that lit the dark tunnel I was walking through. Suddenly, I had a purpose. It was the reason I had to live. Sleepless nights consumed me, and I began to fill them with writing. I'd write until exhaustion finally overcame me and I could fall asleep. During these sleepless nights, my book unfolded. I realized that I had graduated with a diploma in my hand and a story in my heart. That story is my book, Legacy of Love: Lessons in Love, Loss, and Recovery. In six months, I had written the rough draft of my book. But the process of getting it published was a lengthy one. Periodically I would bring my book out and work on it. The second year I added the preface. Then it was tucked away until one desperately difficult day when I was in tremendous pain. I decided it was time to shred the memorabilia I had been given. It was too painful to keep. In the shredding, I ended up tearing up 15 pages of my book. Unfortunately, those were parts of my book that had not been saved on my computer. They were gone. It saddened me, but I prayed and asked God to help me recover them. It didn't happen immediately. Years went by, and my book was again brought out when my kids were little. I would write while they slept. I began searching for publishers for my book to no avail. Again my book was tucked away. Years later, I was having another tough day as waves of grief washed over me, and suddenly I knew I had to write a letter to Larry. This became part of the ending to my book. Then a year passed, and I broke my hand and ended up with six weeks off work. During this time, I had learned writing techniques in my children's homeschooling group, and I began adding strong verbs and descriptions to my book. This was when the 15 pages I lost finally were rewritten with the help of my friend's memories. My book began coming to life. Then it was tucked away again. And my life began to come unraveled. The pain in my life was too much. I ran away from a painful situation, and God carried me away to a church where He finally dropped me into a support group called Celebrate Recovery. I entered a program where I finally found help, support, and acceptance. Healing began to happen. The insanity of my life began to be stripped away. I found help. My sorrow began to soften as I regained my hope again. I entered a grief share group and found people I could relate to and people who inspired me to share, do public speaking, and finish my book. At this same time, a friend began editing my book and making it the book it is today. During this time, I added a new chapter to my book about the song Side by Side we Stand. I also wrote the epilogue to my book, but the pain of the editing made me run away. I had to leave my book with my friend. I could not tackle it for a while. Again it sat waiting. A year ago, when I rewrote my testimony, I added a section to the end of the chapter about the song. Last year I added the soulmates portion to my book. This year I found a publisher willing to help me self-publish it so it would be my book in the end. During this process, I added the story behind the picture of Larry, and I made sections in the story clearer as my copyeditor helped me. With my editing friend's help, I added verbiage to the dialogue and began to remove the wordiness so the message of the story could shine through even more clearly. I also worked with friends who helped me come up with the subtitle. Then I worked with artists who helped me design the cover. That was an amazing experience to watch my dream and the one picture I have had come to life. It has taken 28 years to finish this story, but God has helped me every step of the way. Even in the loss of sections of my book, God was with me. It provided me with healing, and God helped me recover it again. This book has been God's book all along. It was His way of helping me find a reason and purpose to live again. Grief and all, I am thankful that I met Larry. That time will continue to be an amazing memory to me. He was a very special person. I can't wait for the world to meet him. Soon it will happen. My dream will finally come true.

Maybe you, too, have experienced grief and pain in your own life. Everyone's journey through this pain is different, but in the end, we all have to find things that keep us going. We have to develop new routines, new pleasures, and activities that will give us the courage to get up in the morning. It's also important to be unashamed of the tears. They will come from time to time. Let them. You will find healing in tears. Call friends, seek out support groups, take walks, listen to music, start new hobbies. Little by little, God will help you find the light at the end of the dark tunnel of grief. Daily, God will give you the courage you need to make it through your day.


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