Lessons

Life is short. As I’ve aged I’ve been made fully aware that this statement is all too true. We’ve lost so many loved ones and grieving is endless. So many have gone before us that I have come to recognize the importance of grieving and working through the grieving process, our health depends on it.

What I’ve learned, too, is that I’m capable of grieving in my own way and if I don’t attend a funeral, it’s not out of disrespect but allowing myself to grieve in my own way. I have helped many family and friends with funeral arrangements and some are harder than others, looking at the many photographic memories of the deceased I relive my own memories with that person. Sometimes, I laugh, sometimes I cry. I have learned through years of healing that the person never leaves us, they are just here in spirit, no longer in our physical world. This brings me comfort.

What’s my point? I’m not sure there is one. I am heading to Fort Liard today to listen to an Elder’s story for the Na Deh Kleh newsletter that I created for our people, and I thought about the lessons I’ve learned over the years. Grief is such a big one, the importance of grieving in a healthy way. Listening to the women in the healing circle yesterday and seeing Grandmas cry for their losses, made me think of years of pain our people have endured. It hurts my heart to see a Grandma cry for a child they’ve lost or a Mom cry for her son. Our people deserve to heal.

I remember many a day when I’d get in there and party with the family and friends of a deceased one to celebrate their life after the funeral. What I didn’t know at the time was that addictions stunt our grieving process, so we remain stuck in that time, finding it harder and harder to let the deceased go. Memories are relived and they are like a record player in our minds, stuck skipping. This ends when we stop using and start addressing the pain and start the healing work our bodies, minds and spirits need.

I still feel pain when I recall the good memories of past loved ones, anger when I think they could have been spared life if only they’d stopped drinking/drugging, and I still cry when the tears come. Healing and tears are good. Allow your self to cry but also allow yourself to enjoy life, too, that is what our loved ones would want. They would want us to be happy, healthy and to keep living life.

Healing and tears are good. Allow your self to cry but also allow yourself to enjoy life, too, that is what our loved ones would want.

Before I wrap up, I also want to share that grieving is not only about losing someone we love. Grieving is many things. We grieve when we lose or leave people, places and things. I grieved the loss of my favorite coat, a job I had to leave, and have grieved favorite places I’ve visited. Ahh, the ocean. My spirit aches for the ocean. So find someone to talk about those things, too. Find a professional or a friend you can trust to listen and help you unload some of that pain, so you can live fully today.

I wish for our people to heal all the years of pain, grief and loss. It seems endless for sure but it’s possible to take care of us so the pain does not control our lives or us. Creator intended for us to live in harmony and I’m sure that is what our loved ones, in the physical and spiritual world, want for us, too.

The sun is shining, so bless you this beautiful day. I wish you a great weekend.

 

Renee

Morning Thoughts & Birthday Blessings

Today my Grandma would have been 88. She went Home to be with the Creator on December 26, 2016. The heartache and memories around her loss are still fresh, especially on days like today.

A lot goes on when families lose someone; the various stages of grief, funeral preparations and the emotional trauma of ‘what’s next?’ How do we move forward while being held hostage by our emotions and grief? How does a family heal when people’s feelings get hurt over things said and done?

I think back to the days when we lost my her and how confusing and chaotic things became. Miraculously, I somehow held it together amid the turmoil but I had a job to do and that was my focus. My job was to memorialize her and through that I was able to grieve and focus on what was most important in that time – her, my Grandma, our family’s rock. All the noise and stuff that was not my business, didn’t matter.

Most recently, our family suffered through another loss and with that, came more turmoil. Again, I focused on my job at hand and the most important person through it all – my cousin. I didn’t attend his funeral, although I heard it was a beautiful service. In all the deaths I have experienced, whether they be family or friends, I have learned to grieve in my own way, staying focused on the important stuff, honoring the loved one with peace, humility and grace, and taking care of myself. We all grieve differently and to thine own self be true; we have to do what is right for us. Every time.

Am I rambling? Probably. I’ve been up since 1:45AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. It’s 5:45AM now. I’ve had a coffee, let the dogs out, have two puppies running amok and it’s dark as night out still. I just have so many thoughts in my head and heart that I needed to just write. It’s my therapy.

Ultimately, I wanted to honor my strong, loving, hard-working Grandma on what would have been her 88th birthday today. I could never have anticipated how much our family structure would change with her passing but I know I’m stronger and wiser because of it. I miss her greatly, as I know we all do. I used to wish that things were back to ‘normal’ but were things ever really normal to begin with? I don’t think so. They just were. That’s life. Now they’re different. Maybe they are normal after all?? Life is crazy and beautiful in all its glory.

All I know for certain in this moment is that she’s with me in spirit. In her honor, I will practice love and kindness because that is what my Grandma exemplified every day. Happy heavenly birthday, Grandma. God bless you forever. We love and miss you.

R

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Grandma and me at the Behn family cabin
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Grandma, me and Grandpa – Keeping It Behn!
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3 Generations – Grandma, Mom and Me
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Our last family dinner with Grandma – thankful for memories!