You are a Beautiful Soul

Mom, you are a beautiful soul too. This was evident while planning her memorial service, especially as family and friends gathered to remember her.

You are a Beautiful Soul

Remember that you are a beautiful soul when you start feeling less than your perfection. Because when your life is done, it’s the memories of your beautiful soul that remains.

The First Decision

It was just me when Mom breathed her last. My husband passed three months and three days earlier. My sister had moved to be close to the birth of her first grandchild, and I had moved to a new life in North Carolina. That sounds as lonely as life can be, but there is a unique peace amid loneliness. It allows deep healing.

Waiting until the Saturday after Thanksgiving also gave me time to process the loss of my husband and mother. It helped make it a true celebration of her life. After that, the first decision of place was easy.

Texas, Alaska, and Florida cousins
Texas, Alaska, and Florida cousins

Mom grew up in Winter Haven, Florida. It was where she worshiped, and it was my birthplace. So many relatives were close, and those far away could get time off work. It seemed a perfect time.

Holiday Realities

My wedding was six years prior, also right after Thanksgiving. I conveniently forgot about the difficulties during the planning phase. It’s a time when businesses other than retail aren’t always available.

Catering became a hurdle in the week before Mom’s memorial. Suddenly, the restaurant closed for the holiday weekend. Scrambling over the phone with the church administrator, she found a last-minute substitute. Then the plan for dessert fell apart. A change from coconut custard pie to various cakes solved this latest snafu. Some of these calls were while I was at a gas station on my way to Florida the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Oddly, I wasn’t flustered by any of it.

Everything worked out beautifully. Some expected to attend but didn’t show, and a few new, treasured guests were able to make it.

Time Gave Me Space

Compared to my grief at my husband Wayne’s memorial, I felt almost blissful this time. Instead of hiding in the back room for grieving family, my sister and I welcomed guests in the church narthex. my son Larry and IHere’s a photo of my younger son, Larry, and me by the sign-in book. Since Mom had been using a weekly calendar as a diary, I chose to use the 2022 book, placing it next to her framed photo.

Many people mentioned how lovely the service was. Part of the success came from a long phone conversation with Pastor Reich. So many small details flowed forth as he asked me questions about Mom’s life. It was like a review of everything that I loved about her. He wove her personality and small acts of kindness into a fabric that was her life. It was then I realized, Mom, you are a beautiful soul.

I told my mother how much I loved her many times while caring for her during the last few years. And she reciprocated.

Take the time this week to tell someone you love them. Give them a warm hug if you can. If they are too far away, wrap your arms around yourself and say, “You are a beautiful soul.” And know that you are a beautiful soul too.


Feeling Grief During the Holidays

Feeling grief during the holidays is a challenge. Some days we are entirely uninterested in the holiday trappings. Celebrations can go from joy to sadness in seconds. The worst part can be the isolation. We don’t want to cry when others are joyous.

With patient persistence, the pain will lessen if you surrender to it. Professional help is also invaluable. I’ve sought out therapists, grief coaches, pastoral care, and shamans. Because, for me, there is no one way through.

Balancing Sadness and Joy

Let the tears flow when they well up. True friends will support your journey through grief. A random thought or statement often acts as a trigger, which eases our anxiety with tears. I’m grateful for each one.

Take your time. There’s no rush to get over the passing of a loved one. Allow your natural flow in this process.

In the early stages, when action is needed, try to pick one activity around your loved one’s memory daily. Often this entails a financial or legal detail. Ask for help. Making lists and seeking advice can also help us stay on track.

Be choosy about your activities, letting your heart be your guide.

Daily morning meditation will help you discover your unique style. Journaling is helpful. And adding ritual eases overwhelm. For instance, I sit in the same place each morning with my cup of coffee, light a candle, and ask my Spiritual team to come close. In the early days of this activity, I asked simple yes/no questions and waited to ‘hear’ the answers. Now, there is a calmness in my heart as soon as I sit down.

Plan at least one joyful activity each day. This is part of self-care. Don’t short-change yourself by counting a required activity like grocery shopping. You might think it matters because you are getting out of the house. Instead, it needs to be a gift you give yourself. For instance, a trip to the post office is on my schedule. Then I add a stop in a cute downtown area to window shop. The fresh air, colorful displays, and people bring me joy.

At first, the sadness will overwhelm the joy, but eventually, there will be more joy. Working through grief is a process. The holiday season is temporary, and the new year is approaching. You can do this.

Final Thoughts

In the past week, I’ve experienced more sadness than I thought I could endure. However, talking with friends who are also coaches has helped me push through.

cherished christmasThe artificial tree is still in the basement, but I have a fresh wreath on my door. My Christmas cards are on their way to my immediate family,  the dearest decorations are on display, and I’m planning on attending a wreath-making class tomorrow. It’s not because I need the course, but because it will bring me joy. After all, I still have a bare Advent wreath.

Sending you love and compassion,