Today, August 6th is one year since the passing of my sweet mom. I definitely have done my share of grieving and I still miss her so much. Please read my tribute to Doris Harris, my mom at the bottom of this post.
Right after she passed I read a book about grief that was given to me at the funeral home. Reflecting on this past year and knowing that so many of you have had recent losses, I decided to share with you the stages of grief. You can expect this when you lose a loved one. It might help you realize that it is all normal ( not fun ) and a process that we should all just let happen.
Grief may as well be a four letter word! Until you go through a loss of a close friend, child, spouse, pet or parent you will never understand the emptiness in your soul. Unfortunately, it will happen to each and every one of us during different times in our lives, some sooner than you should have to experience. Some of you will be able to weather the storm, but so many will linger on in your grief for months and maybe years. Here are stages of grief that you can expect.
First of all, we should all grieve, but when is it time to NOT cry anymore? I don’t think that there is an answer to that, but the most important thing to do is let yourself grieve. The worst thing you can do is bottle up your emotions & feelings. The following stages have been written and published for years, but don’t expect them to happen in the order as written. You can expect to experience at least one of the stages over and over or you might skip a stage. It all depends on the individual and the circumstances.
I will comment on each stage as it pertains to my recent loss.
STAGES OF GRIEF
- Shock & Denial- Even though my 83-year-old mother had not been ill she did have a few heart issues. When I got the call that she had a major heart attack and had to be resuscitated, I knew that this news was not good. I was in Colorado and I flew to her the next day literally in shock. I don’t think I was ever in denial, because she was 83 and had a great life.
- Pain & Guilt- Yes, lot’s of pain for me, but I really didn’t have a lot of guilt. I had been back home to see my mom a couple of months earlier where we had some wonderful quality time together.
- Anger & Bargaining- I got really angry with the doctors that treated her because they failed to diagnose a UTI infection that ultimately caused her heart attack. This happens a lot in older people. FYI
- Depression, Reflection & Loneliness – I am typically not the type to get depressed but I have reflected over and over and over. I am the oldest of 3 girls so I am feeling the responsibility to make sure that our family stays close and carries on. I do not doubt that we will continue her legacy.
- The upward turn- Is there an upward turn? I think that time helps and emotions calm down enough to start thinking about other things and moving on without her.
- Reconstruction and working through- Norman and I bought a home on Sanibel Island this year so that our families can continue spending time together. This is part of moving on.
- Acceptance & hope – Well, we are forced to accept or we will just not be able to move on. I accepted my loss early on, but that doesn’t mean I like it. As a Christian woman, my hope is secured with my faith knowing that I will see both of my parents when it is my turn to leave this world.
Loss of a loved one is flat out a LOSS. Tragedies, disease or just old age we feel the loss in different degrees. I do not think that there is a way to prepare or guard our emotions from this kind of loss. We are human! So if you have recently lost a loved one or when you do, just know that you are bound to go through most of the feelings and emotions listed above.
My faith has carried me through losses in my life. If you are lost and don’t know what it is to be a Christian then just ask me and I will share with you. You too can have what I have. God Bless all of you that are trying to feel normal again. It just might be a new normal so don’t fight it.
For more on grief and how to overcome, check out some of these articles. There are no answers but some information that will help you understand your feelings.
A Tribute to Doris Brooks Harris | My Mom 1933 to 2017
The photo above was taken in downtown Maryville, TN in about 1952. She would have been about 19 years old. Don’t you just love that cute little bag? It would be right in style today. She had great taste and style and one of my favorite memories is that we loved shopping together. I looked a lot like her but I had my dad’s personality. She had the best legs even at 83 years old and I am thankful that I might have inherited that gene.
The other photos are of places that she loved. First of all, she loved east Tennessee where she spent a lot of time on the lake and in the Smokey Mountains. She also loved coming to visit us in Colorado but her favorite place in the whole world was the beach. I am sure that is where we all got our love of the beach. Every time I walk along the beach I know that she is with me.
My mom was very educated and held a Masters degree plus 45 hours above her Masters…almost a doctorate. She got her Master’s at the same time that I got my undergrad degree.
I remember that she worked and went to school when I was young so that she could ultimately contribute more to our financial household. Both of my parents set great examples of hard work. My sisters and I all got that great work ethic.
In the end, I think that her legacy is that she was one of the sweetest, honest, family loving & funniest ladies you have ever met. She had lifelong friends that adored her as well as a loving family that will forever miss her. This year has gone by so fast and I still feel the pain…..it seems like yesterday, but this is all part of being alive. We love and miss you so much, mom!!
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