Monday, August 27, 2007

Sympathy Messages for the grieving

Well, my friends encouraged me to write this letter to you.
I'm humbled by the thought of being the go-to gal for something so important to people, as dealing with a death,
and helping a loved one or acquaintance through.

But I have been through many deaths in my life and have rather naturally stood in a 'caretaker' role for the grieving.
That has been true with the children in the family, and even for those older than me, since I was a child.

So I've agreed to share my experiences with you, and to try to describe what words and gestures really help.
And which efforts like phone calls and gifts, have helped loved ones, colleagues, and friends so much with a loss.

I don't want this to be depressing. If you're reading this you're probably grieving right now anyway, or care about someone who is. So I won't go into all the sad details of the many deaths I've been through in my life, but I will tell you enough to show how you come out the other side. Okay? : )

Suggested reading from Lucie Storrs of

The Light Beyond

If There's anything I can do

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My condolences matter -The right thing to say. Forever

The first three deaths I witnessed were grandparents.
But I noticed something that bothered me about my self, and will help you.

I lost my Grand Aunt, then grandfather, then grandmother in a short time.
My Aunt's death leveled me, my grandfather's was very tough, and my grandmother's was a little tough. Right now you're thinking; 'oh that's the order she was closest to them in', right?
It was the reverse. Yes, it got easier on me. But why? I had more loving moments of nurturing from my grandmother than anyone in my life.

I realized it was because I accepted death is real, and then realized;
I could really help the others who were mourning.

In that old family, it was that same grandmother who took me by the hand as we delivered huge homemade meals, sometimes several times over the first forty days.

Sympathy Messages for children

When Maxine died, we were crushed. She is a lovely, giving woman. None finer.
A 'third' grandmother....
Agnes! What do you mean is ? She's dead, right?
Well yes and no.
Her body is and she stopped physically interacting with us, but all that she 'was',
lives on - if we allow it to be so.

That is how all grieving people feel! We want our loved one to still 'be' here.

Just like we want be kept alive in thought, after we ourselves are in the heavens.

More on Maxine in a second...

Okay, my friend Carol is yelling at me to reveal the best things I've ever given to those suffering a loss.

The first thing, which I've given to everyone close to me, and which I believe EVERY home should have, is a copy of Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep.
From the prayer card of my dear Brother in law who died at 34.
I framed this for my toddler nieces:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond's gift of snow

I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the Autumn's gentle rain

When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night

Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die

That isn't something you go the library for.
You get the Hardcover for yourself and any friend or relative who needs it.
In fact I believe they even offer live forum help when you buy their book.

The main book is Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

With all the deaths I've helped people through,
that is the one help I never fail to send.

And my personal favorite gift, which we discovered when Maxine died was originally for the kids' sake.
Even though they gave it to uncle Harry, it gave them IMMENSE comfort.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the kleenex.
The usually unemotional Uncle Harry loved the gift so much, that he gave it prominence and shows it to everyone.
The dear old man bought a telescope.
The kids use their cheap one just fine.

We named a star after her,
and sent uncle Harry the big, gorgeous framed display.
We even found out that her real first name was Aloha.
This was a wonderful remembrance that everyone feels good about.

Uncle Harry was an engineer by profession. A very logical-type personality.
At first I thought, that he would think, naming a star after Maxine was silly.
But as he sank back in his chair and looked at the exquisite framed deed to a real location in the heavens, his spirit reconnected with Maxine.
There was a relief on face, a joy really, that she was in a sense gone, yet still a light in our lives.

And remember, grieving children need something to physically cling to.

See what I mean here
Name a star ISR

I wish that was available years ago for the children. But they all know how to find Maxine in the night sky, pray and tell her "Aloha".

Bless and be Blessed