Passages On Healing

It is raining. It started raining last night while I was reading the book on healing and grief.

At first I thought the claps of thunder were fireworks, but then the thunder became distinct and it begin to rain.

The windows are fogged up and I see my patio plants through a soft haze.

I finally got my photos of Abi and Charlie back from Walgreens.


That’s of course my daughter and Andrew in the middle. The photo of Abi was always one of my favorites.

The one of Charlie is the photo you all liked so much and asked me to frame. It was when he was standing next to the gardenia plant out on the patio recently.

I dug around in one of my closets and found these frames and framed my little family. Only three remain here with me.

Abi has gone on. But my immense love for her did not stop breathing when she did. It remains here with me and always will.


A reader emailed me this yesterday:

Good morning, Brenda,

Just a little note to share a sudden change to my life. I’ll spare all details but I want to share that on Thursday, June 28, my sweet husband Ron of 41+ years suddenly passed away. I’m now filled with overwhelming sadness and a huge broken heart. I’m on a new path and I’m lost and confused – today’s post on your blog is amazing- thank you!

I’m the one who was attempting to leave a HUG every day after you lost Abi.

Thank you for allowing me to share!


Darlene, we are all here for you. When the weakened grow strong, the strong stand up to help the weakened. We are here for each other.

Trying Something New:

I thought I’d try something a little different in writing my posts. For those of you who don’t have time to read the entire post, I’m writing in segments to see how you like this method.

Then you can skim if you don’t have time to read everything. By highlighting headings, you can find a stopping point and come back and start reading again if you so choose.

Healing & Grief:

I finally placed my order and yesterday received the book one of you mentioned to me: “Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief” by Martha W. Hickman.

It was written back in 1994 and the author is dead now. Her words, a balm for the soul, thankfully live on.

The author lost a teenage daughter and started writing down her thoughts after her loss. Her words became a book, with the addition of quotes by other writers the author deemed important sprinkled in.

It has a page for every day of the year. I decided to just start at the beginning. So last night I read all the days of January. The words were of immense comfort to me, and I read some again and again and again.

Words That Gave Me Comfort:

January 1:

“We are drawn into the brotherhood or sisterhood of loss, tenderness seems to be our natural state. We are so vulnerable. Everything brushes against the raw wound of our grief, reminding us of what we have lost, triggering memories – a tilt of the head, a laugh, a way of walking, a touch, a particular conversation. These images are like beads strung together on the necklace of loss. Tenderly, we turn them again and again. We cannot bear them. We cannot let them go.

“Then, gradually, bit by bit, the binding thread of grief somehow transmutes, reconstitutes itself as a thread of treasured memories – a tilt of the head, a laugh, a way of walking, a touch, a particular conversation as gifts from the life we shared with the one we have lost, gifts that can never be taken away.”

January 5:

“Sometimes when I am feeling down, I am my own worst enemy. Let me be my friend.”

January 8:

“Sometimes all I can hope for is that I’ll feel more hopeful tomorrow.”

January 12:

“In the months after my daughter’s death, I filled four notebooks with entries – writing sometimes daily, sometimes several times a day, sometimes only once in several days. I described feelings, the events of the day, occasions of recall, of sorrow and hope. It was a means of moving the grief away, getting it down somewhere else, siphoning it off.” – Martha Whitmore Hickman

January 14:

“Weeping is perhaps the most human and universal of relief measures.” – Dr. Karl Menninger.

January 20:

“I would say to my friends – When I cannot come out from my house of grief, put your hand to the open window and I will hold on for dear life.”

January 23:

“I will not further burden myself by trying to fit some image of a “model griever.” The strength I have is the strength to be myself.”

January 25:

“Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.” – Faith Baldwin

January 28:

“I look forward to the day when images of my loved one’s life are no longer associated with the event of my loved one’s death.”

January 29:

“Nothing is to be gained by turning away from the truth. When the circumstances of life are grim, I will face the grimness, learn what it has to teach me, and walk on through.”


Final Thoughts:

I have learned that writing about my grief is like snapping off a chunk of it, storing it away for safekeeping, then finding that my load is lighter.

These words keep coming to me this morning. They often give me peace in knowing that there is never perfection in life. And more importantly, there isn’t supposed to be.




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  1. What a beautiful post. It is amazing that the placement of words can be so inspiring and comforting. Thank you for sharing your gift (and your life) with all of us.

  2. Brenda, You have created a wonderful safe haven here where people can come together and share their deepest most painful feelings of loss, and maybe, just maybe feel a tiny bit better knowing all who are here reading their stories feel their pain and are here to offer any help they can.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  3. Out of all the books I read after my son died, one called A Time to Grieve (by Carol Staudacher) was the most helpful and meaningful. Just thought I’d pass this along, in case anyone is interested.

  4. This was the first link that popped up in my news feed. I felt compelled to read it since I gave birth for the first time to my beautiful son on Monday and buried him Friday. I wake up daily feeling ripped in half not knowing how I make it through each day.

    1. What a terrible loss. To get to know him just a little, aside from the time he spent inside you, only to lose him. An unimaginable loss. You will feel ripped in half, chewed up and spit out. There’s really nothing to do but get through it the best you can. The point is just to get through the day, however you can. We’re here for you. I’m an email away.

    2. I’m so sorry Janele. I hope you have some people around you who love you and can support you as you grieve the loss of your little son. I have had a daughter pass away, and I have gotten a lot of comfort from reading Brenda’s posts about grieving. It doesn’t matter the age of the loved one who was lost, or even if it was a child, a husband, a sibling, a parent, or a pet, the feelings of grief can be similar and the main thing is to find people who simple want to share and give support and not push you to move faster through the process than you can go. This blog is a good place to find that kind of gentle support.

  5. What sorrow and support I am reading about today. This is a good blog for so many persons. Thank you, Brenda. The quote by Leonard Cohen is one of my favorites.

    My deepest sympathies to Elaine, the comment above, who just lost her son, as well of the other losses noted.

    1. No one wants to be in this club. The club of the grieving. But at some point, everyone will be a part. To love is to eventually lose. A natural but brutal part of life. It doesn’t matter if the death is sudden or you know it’s coming. It doesn’t matter if it’s a person or a beloved pet that shared you life with you. You just have to keep going until you’ve walked through to the other side. That is what grief is all about.

  6. Since losing my son, Joseph Anthony Suarez, 4 weeks ago (5/29/18), ive searched and searched various blogs and mom grieving articles, i am officially in this club of a grieving parent! I came across your site and it has given me the motivation ( what little i have) to write. Joe was my only son, he was my first born, he died suddenly and very unexpectedly. Monday, 5/28/18, he came home and left to go hangout with friends…Tuesday morning 5/29/18, i received a call my son was deceased. I am still in disbelief after 4 weeks. I have his ashes in a Urn on my dresser on our bedroom. My heart shatters every body shakes when i think too hard..his birthday is 8/31. The monday after his Celebration of Life..i almost died. I wanted to be with my son. But..i am still breathing. I have 2 daughters (24 & 20) plus a 2 yr old. granddaughter. Not Today…it wasnt my time. I feel so empty. Joe was my “person” we were extremely close. This pain..its unbearable.

    1. Hello Elaine, I am so, so sorry for the passing of your dear son Joe. My daughter, Kaitlin, died at age 29 in August 2016. I will tell you this much — you already have great wisdom within you and you’ve spoken it — “But…I am still breathing.” Hang onto that phrase, repeat it often, write it on post-it notes and put them everywhere to remind you that you are still capable of breathing, and you need to keep breathing. You can still breathe, and it is what you are supposed to do. It might be all that you can do. Do it for yourself and for your daughters and granddaughter and even for your son. They all need for you to keep breathing. If you can’t form any other coherent thought, can’t accomplish anything else, just do that much — keep breathing.

      Also, there is so much wisdom in your phrase, “But…I am still breathing'” that I am going to write it down myself and maybe even embroider it on a pillow or something, so I see it every day. I do sometimes still forget to take a breath, and find myself feeling frozen in shock. Just like Brenda is doing with her posts on grief, you have given others some helpful and wise information, even in the midst of your deep grief and pain. Thank you.

    2. It is unbearable. The book I referenced is helping me. Just reading wise words from other people. Writing my thoughts is helping me, because that’s always how I’ve made sense of the world. The life and breath gets sucked out of you, like you’ve been punched over and over. We’re all here for you.

    3. Elaine (and Lynx) – I hope you see my reply. I am so sorry for the loss of your children. It is beyond horrendous. It is a loss that NO parent should ever, ever have to go through. I lost my firstborn son, Philip in September 2009. He was 21 years old. If either of you ever want to email me to talk – I am here to listen. You may email me at [email protected].

  7. Dear Darlene and Janice , Losing a husband, helpmate and soulmate is the most devastating blow that women in very long marriages have to deal with daily. Your husbands found goodness and greatness in you and that is why your marriages stood the test of time. Allow others to help you through your grief and work through the acceptance stage of grief. May God bless you and help you mend your broken hearts.

    1. Sometimes it’s not just about the length of the marriage, but the intensity of it. I just lost my husband of 5 years. The pain that I feel having lost my best friend , my soul mate, the father of my children, is razor sharp. I feel like the future that we planned has been stolen , the man I dreamed a dream of growing old with is gone, and I find myself sadly questioning all that is good in the world.

      1. My heart…for you…..
        Five years of closeness is long… I’m breathing in… imagining your pain…that only you exactly know….
        Agony… ache constant pain……
        Man I hope a single thought, nature moment animal…. places a slight smile for a nano second on your face this day…
        You have my human support…. I love you…as the next tear inevitably comes…. know this….you survived another painful minute, second… n you are an idy biddy amount closer to a state of peacefulness than you had been……
        I can’t empathize but can strongly attempt to sympathize…. I wish it were 2016 myself… for you… (for me)…. breathing, breathing…. supporting…as I too receive support…..
        Shalom…….(till nxt time)

      2. Yes, I know how you feel about not knowing about good in the world. You wonder, you question. Because that is natural. What you are feeling is perfectly natural. Let yourself grieve, ask your questions, just get through the day for now.

  8. I lost my husband of 48 years recently. Only those who have experienced such a traumatic loss can understand the deep sadness that the void creates. I so empathize with you and Darlene. I read something the other day that is so true….losing my husband put a hole in my world that I walk around during the day and fall into at night. Love and blessings to you and Darlene.

    1. Oh so true. Nights, the silence, the going to bed alone, all is hushed but the beating of my own heart and the memories swirling thru my head, the loneliness of not being able to reach out and hold a piece of my world that is lost forever. Love to you and all who share in the grief. Thanking Brenda for sharing.

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