In 1992 Russell M. Nelson gave a talk called the Doors of Death he said,
"Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. Moreover, we can't fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life."
This is one of the last quotes in the blog post Share My World: Sweet Sacred Experience I did about 6 months ago about my mom's death.
I want to talk about what it has been like for me as I have mourned or grieved for my mother...and my father.
My mom and dad were both on hospice and I am so grateful for the literature they shared with us during this time. We hear about death and dying so often, yet I had never experienced it on such a personal level and with the literature I had a better idea of what to expect.
A beautiful quote from Dr. Earl A Grollman from the hospice pamphlet When You Are Grieving ;
Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical, and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.
Sweet reunion, Jodi Jarvie and Kathy Jarvie
January 21, 2019
Kathy Jarvie, Sara Jarvie and Jodi Jarvie
Picture by Scott Jarvie
A sentiment that I shared in previous post that I want to highlight again;
[We all] have very different experiences and thoughts on death and dying. As part of my grieving process and to expand the conversation about death and dying I want to blog about my thoughts and experiences.
Grieving is a very personal journey. What we do, how we do it and when we do it are very personal matters.
About a month ago @soyrosa did a post When was the last time you cried? I didn't comment then but thought to myself...I have cried quite a lot lately. For me, the grief and the crying comes in waves. Sometimes I am doing good and moving along in life. It is mostly when I slow down and sit in church and listen to beautiful music or sing inspiring songs or am in the midst of my meditation that I cry.
According to When You Are Grieving: "Crying helps let the pain out. Tears help relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and promote healing." With those benefits who would not want to cry?
From When You Are Grieving
There is no right or wrong way to feel when you are grieving. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions you need to feel. Try not to ignore them. Also, don't let others tell you how you should feel. Remember that whatever you are feeling is right for you.
Yoga and meditation have been a beautiful way for me to slow down and listen to my body and sit with my emotions. I am have been practicing yoga for years and I adore Yoga with Adriene. Here are two of my favorites for suffering and grief.
Yoga for Suffering, Yoga with Adriene
Beautiful words she uses throughout
surrender, be present in the moment, let your tears drop down, Open your heart, chaos, control, breathing, strength and support from within, broken into a million pieces, we are whole, create space, find that inner support, you are whole, open heart, release, trust the process, ride the wave
Yoga for Grief, Yoga with Adriene
Beautiful words she uses throughout
take your time, take one breath at a time, one day at a time, hold and hug you, loving awareness, open heart, finding what feels good for you today, stay present with what is today, find inner support system, inhale lots of love in, exhale lots of love out, feel the support
There are many emotions of grieving- anger, shock, relief, feeling awkward about sharing our grief, to name a few.
One of the emotions that I have been working to understand is guilt. I have felt a sadness and guilt because right before my mom died we were cleaning her and turned her over to find a very big and gruesome bed sore. Even now writing this is still difficult. The memory of that time and thinking why didn't I move her more? I knew her tail bone was hurting her. I fell like if I was taking care of her better I wouldn't of let that happen.
Again wise words from When You Are Grieving about guilt
You might feel guilty from something you did or did not do before the death. Acknowledge what you could have done differently. But also accept that you cannot change what has happened. Try to let go of feelings of guilt and forgive yourself.
I know this is a process and takes time. With my father I felt guilt for giving him the medication he didn't want and tricking him to do it. Time has helped heal that wound. I know time will help heal my heart and soul.
Things I miss
I miss phone calls with my mom the most. We would talk multiple times a week and were very good friends. I find myself still wanting to call her and tell her the things that are going on in my life. Recently I was scrolling through my phone and found voice mail message from both my parents and listened to them. It was nice to hear their voices.
That same day I found a journal that my mom gave me for Christmas in 2012. She put pictures in it and told my life story. She also had my dad say something about me and to me. I haven't looked at that book for years and to see those words from my parents were like a love letter from 6 years ago to my current self who miss them and wanted to hear from them.
A beautiful quote and sentiment from Helen Keller
What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
So although I miss seeing, talking to and being around my parents they are not far away because they are a part of me.
Remembering Your Loved One
Part of the grieving process is remembering your loved one. Here are a few ways that we as a family have remembered our mom and dad and for me specifically.
As a family we built cairns for both my parents on the mountain my dad often hiked. This was such an amazing experience to be with my family and build these monuments to our parents.
For more about this experience see my post Cairns of remembrance
I have a wall in my office that I put pictures of my parents throughout their life and it makes me happy and sad to look at them. I miss them so much and that is ok. To miss someone is to love them so deeply. Here are a few of the pictures.
I made photo books of both my mom and dad. Instead of baby books or birth books these are death books. It might sound weird but it is a compilation of the pictures, social media posts, words of solace from friends and family that happened during the time of their death. I also included the funeral talks. It is such a great way for me to organize and process the experience. I also have the physical book to take at and look at when I feel the need and desire.
In May 2019 my brother, @jarvie and sister, Kristen and I took a sibling trip to the land of our ancestors. What a wonderful way to remember our parents, learn about our ancestors and to bond to each other. We went to England were my mom's family is from and to Scotland where my dad's dad family is from. We got to be in England for Mother's day. It was so special.
Bathgate, Falkirck, Kilsyth and Sterling
The thing I want
For me, I want people to ask about my loved ones. "What was your dad like?" or "What do you miss most about your mom?' "What are good memories you have of them?" I know death and dying are sensitive subjects and most people don't know what to do or say (including me) so they don't say anything. I am going to learn from my experience and I am going to ask my friends about their loved ones. If they are not ready to talk that is ok. I want to give them the opportunity to talk and remember their loved ones with someone who cares and will listen.
I know that healing takes time. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to understand and engage in activities that have helped me through this stage of my grief and grieving.
Again from President Russell M. Nelson,
"Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. Prior to our birth, we dwelled as spirit children with our Father in Heaven. Returning from earth to life in our heavenly home requires passage through- and not around- the doors of death. We were born to die, and we die to live.
And Neal A. Maxwell,
"Our tears are just as wet, but not because of despair. Rather they are tears of heightened appreciation evoked by poignant separation. Those tears of separation change, ere long, becoming tears of glorious anticipation."
I am most grateful for my knowledge of Jesus Christ and the resurrection (Luke 24) and eternal families. It gives me a great sense of peace to know that I will get to see and be with my parents again.
Doors of Death by Russell M. Nelson
When you are grieving, High Desert Hospice
Hope through the Atonement of Christ by Neal A. Maxwell
Share My World Series
My Year Journey on Steem All the 2018 post are here.
Share My World: Sweet Sacred Experience
Share My World: Red Rock Scenic Byway
Share My World: Grand Canyon in the Snow
Share My World: Grief and General Conference Weekend
Share My World: Being a photographer for Global Resolve
Share My World: 3 days in Nairobi
Share My World: Camp life on the Maasai Mara