After my mom died, I was astonished by the weight of grief and lack of stamina I experienced. Three months of caring for my mother took such a toll on me that I had a hard time focusing most days and often just slept. This went on for months, and I couldn’t understand why—my grief was now “over” and my mom was in her heavenly home. Many people told me that the exhaustion was normal, though. After almost a year, I finally felt like I’d come back to “normal.”
In addition, my father and I had to learn a whole new way to connect with each other since our relationship had centered around my mother’s illness for many years. We struggled to keep things “normal” that first year after her death—celebrating holidays and having lunch once a week together—but things were not the same. As time moved on, we began to talk more openly with each other about our grief. Now we have a relationship that is stronger and more dynamic because of the shared experience.
When friends need my prayers now, I am quick to provide them—often writing them out for them to read or praying right in the moment of need with them. Although saying “I will pray” can bring comfort, I found the most peace and encouragement during my most difficult days from those who would pray right there with me in the moment of need. Those times during my mom’s final months have shown me how important prayer and praying friends are, and I endeavor now to help others during their most difficult moments. In addition, I am writing two books—one fiction and one nonfiction—about how grief affects our relationships and our lives like a pebble tossed into a pond. I pray I will continue to heal as I write these books and that they will help others heal too.