Grief and The Today Show

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bob Harper on the Today Show (link)

One of my favorite things about my morning routine is that I get my coffee and breakfast and sit down to the Today Show each and every day! I think I appreciate it so much because, for years, I was always rushed in my mornings. To take my time and savor my coffee is a luxury that I don't take for granted.

This week has been no different except on Tuesday. I watched Savana Guthrie interview Bob Harper from the Biggest Loser who recently suffered a heart attack. As I sat there watching a listening to him, it just washed over me. Hearing the words:  "heart attack" "6% survival rate" "death" crashed down on me. Flashbacks to the worst night of my life when R collapsed in front of me came back to me in a more powerful way than they have in a long time. I had major flashbacks to that night in the beginning, but as time went on they were less frequent. But the pain of grief blindsided me that morning, and I was hurting.

Grief is like that, isn't it? Always lurking, always ready to spring itself on you when you least expect it!

I was experiencing the pain of grief like I haven't in a while. Maybe it's that April is such a hard month for me. It was always the best month--- springtime, new life, beautiful flowers and my anniversary with R, but then April 29, 2012 came and changed all of that.  April has been the month of dread, the month of pain, the month of anticipation of that day. Of course, it is so much better than it was in the beginning, but it is still difficult. I'm not sad all the time by any means, but IT is just there under the surface. One of the best articles that I've ever read about the anticipation of an upcoming anniversary of a loved one's death was written by Christina Rasmussen- author of Second Firsts. Her blog post titled "Don't get on the anniversary train"  really resonates with me. I'm working on not getting on that train, and I am much better than I was a few years ago. And I have the hope that each year will get better!!

Something else that has really helped me is a particular story in my GriefShare group from a few weeks ago. Each time we meet we watch a video. One person who speaks on the videos is Dr. Susan Zonnebelt- Smeenge who lost her husband. She tells of widows in her church telling her how she would never be truly happy again, but she realized that she could not live her life not ever being truly happy again. She says that the grief journey doesn't have to be where you are always grieving and feeling bad. You can and should be happy again.

Grief is a journey where you experience intense loss and sadness. Your life is on a detour, but no detours last forever. Eventually, you get back into the mainstream of life. There is the other side of grief where God heals us along with our help and hard work. She says that she got to the point where she is no longer grieving the loss of her husband. As we heal, we remember our loved one differently than in the beginning. We revisit our sadness. She likens it to a high school or college graduation. You go through your grief journey- just like we go through school. We graduate, but we don't forget those school years. We even go back for reunions. Momentary sadnesses are going back for reunions- we remember the way that it was or think about how it would have been if they were still here. But we aren't grieving- we are experiencing a momentary sadness, not the terrible pains of grief.

I love the analogy of my times of pain that I feel now being a reunion and not true, all-encompassing grief. So I guess really this week, I've had a reunion of my loss. I am so much better, and I'm so thankful to be better.

I also know that everything that has happened to me in my life has passed through God's hands. Knowing that and choosing to believe that gives me peace. I will make it through the month of April, and I know from past experience that I will be stronger for it! I'm always stronger when I get to the other side!!

I feel better already just getting this all out of my head and down on paper!! Thanks for listening!!