Monday, December 10, 2012

Diamonds in the sky.


 Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond

Find light in the beautiful sea

I choose to be happy
You and I, you and I
We’re like diamonds in the sky

~ Rihanna

____________________________
Someone spoke words that hurt my feelings today. They didn't mean to, I'm sure. And I really shouldn't care, right? But still. I am human and those words were hurtful.

Simple enough, those words were. Three words to be exact.

"She's in denial." 

Denial. You know, that first stage of grief that Kubler-Ross described in her stages of grief. The one that can either be the "this did not happen!" kind of denial or the "I'm doing fine!" kind of denial. I suppose the idea is that I'm in the latter of these two.

Let me be clear. I feel certain that this person did not mean to be anything other than concerned. I also think it probably wasn't meant for my ears but somehow, like things sometimes do, it found its way there.

"She's in denial." 

Well. For the record, I am fully aware of what has happened. I recognize that heart disease is a ruthless thief and that my family is not immune to it's sticky, prickly grasp. Not even the youngest of my family. My eyes are wide open to the fact that my sister, Deanna, is no longer a phone call away from me and that she will not, under any circumstances, be coming to ring my doorbell or pick up my children. I am aching in the deepest parts of me from knowing that my parents have to know what it's like to call funeral homes asking if the effing death certificate is ready yet and I'm feeling frustrated as hell when I haven't managed to intercept such a task and do it myself before they get to even think of it. Not because I'm in denial. But because it's the right thing to do. And because I realize fully that what my mother and my father are going through is in no way the same thing that I'm going through. Hell no, it's not.

That I know for sure. And dammit, if they can lift their heads, I know I can. Thankfully, I haven't had to coach myself to do that, thanks to my faith.

"She's in denial."

I texted JoLai and told her how I was feeling about that. She replied:

"I'm sure a lot of people think that about us."

I stuck that on a mental post it note.

Here's what I know now:  Grief looks very different to different people. A lot plays into that. Faith. Regrets. Unresolved beefs. And just who you are.

And let me tell you something--I've found out a LOT about who I am in this situation.

I am a woman of faith. I am. I am not this uber-strong person with emotions of steel. I have cried when I want to cry. I have buried my face in a pillow and shook until I was exhausted. But every single time, no matter how much I try otherwise, I am reminded of how blessed I have been in this life and that DEANNA was a tremendous part of that.

Can I just unpack for a minute? I'm sorry but I need to.



This is what faith is all about. To me, it isn't about how many rituals you can follow or whether or not you have a big shiny crucifix hanging from your necklace. It isn't about your denomination or how many men or women are leading your church. It's about the quiet times, the alone times. The personal moments where it's you and your faith and nobody else. Not a clanging cymbal or a fast clapping choir or a Holy Ghost filled preacher standing in a pulpit. When it's all said and done, it's about a personal trust and relationship with God. Period.

So, for me, this is what I call a faith walk. Evidence of things that eyes have not seen.

But there are some things that my eyes have seen.

Like, my life so far. You know? My life is a good life. I have a fantastic husband with whom I am madly in love. Two amazing sons, one of whom jumped up and hugged my waist after I finished eulogizing my sister on Saturday and the other of whom repeatedly gave me thumbs ups from his seat on the front row complete with a six year-old perforated grin. I have parents who have not only loved me and my siblings unconditionally, but who also had the resources to help us succeed at nearly everything we tried. I have scores of very good friends and a close circle of very best friends who would stand in front of traffic for me on any given day.

But wait--there's more.

I have the job of my dreams teaching medical students and residents and caring for unforgettable human beings at historic Grady Hospital every single day. I have been extremely successful in my career, have been on CNN more than five times, local television too many times to count, and even in the freaking Oprah magazine. I have talents that I am not only aware of but that I strive to use daily. And those talents have been recognized by others.

I'm grateful for that. And not in denial about this being a big, big deal to have so many blessings stacked up on one person.

Still don't believe me?

My kids go to an amazing school in an amazing neighborhood. My home is one that if it weren't the one I lived in, that I'd probably drive by rubbernecking at each day wishing it were. But it is. Mostly because my husband has also been successful in his career as an entrepreneur and, despite the wretched economy, has still managed to provide the majority of what we have. I can fit the clothes I wore in medical school twenty years ago, I like how I look and I like who I am. I even have the world's greatest hair stylist who never, ever messes up my haircuts and who happens to also give kick ass advice.

And. My siblings and I grew up nurtured and close. We had spats here and there but have always found a way to stay together. We even got to all be at Tuskegee University at the same time--excelling in four completely different departments and sharing the same college memories. All four of us completed terminal degrees--a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, two Juris Doctors and one Doctor of Medicine. All products of public schools in inner city Inglewood and of one household.

Sure. This is a testament to our parents, yes. But more--in my opinion--it's ALL God's favor and a part of a bigger plan. That's a lot to be thankful for, don't you think?

It's funny. No one accused me of being in denial when I woke up to all of the blessings I just listed. No one shook their head and tsk-tsked me, feeling confused or worried then. But see, to me, all of that is far more astounding than my attitude during this walk through the valley since November 15.

Yeah.

There's this psalm I like that includes these words:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts."  - Psalm 139:23

 Even though it's one of my favorites, this psalm always kind of scared me. Now? I'm no longer as afraid of that charge as I used to be. I'm not.

Perhaps some don't see my anxious thoughts, but He does. He also knows my heart.
 
Sigh. So what am I supposed to say? I haven't done this before, so I'm just doing what feels right. I am very, very effing sad that my beloved sister is not here on earth. That's true. And missing her sucks. But my faith, blended with the kindness of others and the closeness of my family, has propped me up and made me stronger. Stronger than what seems even logical.

Logical to me. Logical to most.

But faith walks aren't so much about logic, you know?

Look, man. All I can do is surrender to where I'm at. Where I am is in a place that is saying, "I didn't question the heaping helping of blessings I've received and continue to receive--how dare I question this?" I've asked God to show me what to do and to order my steps. This is all that you are seeing, hearing and reading.

That might change at some point. But you know what? It might not. Only time will tell. But it still kind of hurts to be psychoanalyzed in the meantime.

Yeah.

One other thought--perhaps this process could be helping someone else. Giving them a different idea on what grief looks like. I'm not doing this for that reason. Instead I'm just trying to process all of this in the best way I know how. For me, that involves writing and sharing with a community of thinkers.

And I do realize that my community of thinkers do not all share my faith perspective, but that's okay. I think seeing different perspectives of faith is good for all of us. Like, when my friend Lisa B. asked me today what it meant when she saw hands reached for the sky during gospel songs and during prayers at Deanna's memorial service. And when I asked her about the swiftness of the funerals in Judaism and how best to support her when she sat shiva after her mother departed.

So we live. We grieve. We love. We learn.

It's all we can do, you know? In the way that works best for us. And me, I've never fit into any standard box or cookie-cutter version of how to be. So I'm feverishly writing and I'm letting all kinds of music minister to my soul from people like JT and Rihanna and Maxwell and CeCe Winans and Daryl Coley. I'm doodling on a pad of paper while talking to friends and I'm walking through my (dream) neighborhood meditating or praying while feeling those crunching leaves under my feet. I've been doing all of those things and somehow, through it all, still shining like diamonds in the sky.

Yeah.

Uggh. I'm rambling. I know. But I warned you that I would need you for this. So thank you, okay? I mean that.

Here's the reality:

Three weeks and four days ago, I held the phone as my mother turned onto my sister's street and discovered her car parked and unmoved. Three weeks and four days ago, I stood outside in my sister Deanna's driveway holding my brother as we both collapsed to the asphalt and clung to the back of my mother's head as she did the same. Three weeks and four days ago, I picked up my cell phone and called my father to tell him that, I think, maybe his daughter might not be alive and to please brace himself. And three weeks and four days ago, we found out for sure that she had transitioned from her earthly body and that she would no longer be with us in the way that she had for nearly all of our lives.

And since that time, a world of people have prayed for us, thought of us, and sent that energy out into the universe for our parents and all of our family to grab. We have walked through fire and rain and will for a while. We have clung to each other and to our faith. And mostly, we are better than people would expect.

Is that called denial?

Hmm.

I just realized that it doesn't even matter. It just is.

***
 Happy Monday. Again.

Now playing. . .love this song . . . .thanks Biz.





65 comments:

  1. You are loved, and in the end when everythings is weighed in the balance, love is all that really matters.

    xo

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  2. You are quite the opposite of what that person who carelessly labeled you, to be.
    You are fully aware and present-and very much an individual in YOUR walk through this. And so, I reiterate -you are strong-even in the moments that you may not think you are.

    Maria, fellow Meharrian

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    1. Thanks for always being so supportive, Maria.

      Kimberly, fellow Meharrian

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  3. Oh dear lord, from my experience (and while it isn't close to yours), I can only shake my head (and have done so, over and over, through the years)at "the things people say." When I'm not being generous and deeply self-aware like you've been here and, I'd wager, throughout nearly all of your life, I say, "Fuck 'em."

    Bless you, dear Grady doctor, and everyone in your family as you move forward in mourning the death of your Deanna and celebrating her amazing life.

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  4. Kim,
    May God continue to wrap you and the family in his loving arms!

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  5. Amen! Selah-Pause and think about it.

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  6. Unlike many of your other daily readers, I hadn't commented yet because I just couldn't. And because I lost my father and favorite aunt both to cancer near Christmas time, it's just hard for me to have anything much to say during this time of year when it comes to death. But perhaps, it's the "you bedda tell em'" in me which I thought when I read about how God has blessed you, or for some other reason I'm not aware of, THIS post pulled me out to finally express my condolences to you and your family which I do sincerely and from the bottom of my heart.

    I also have a few choice words for people who feel compelled to judge the grieving process of others, but I'll keep those explicative laced versions to myself. Suffice it to say that it involves LOTS of lips and puckering, and LOTS of buttocks!! BOTH cheeks!

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    1. It's always a joy to have someone in my corner like you. Especially one who knows fancy ways to tell people to kiss their arse. Ha.

      Delete
  7. Not to take away from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross because she brought grieving into the public consciousness and helped a lot of people understand the process a lot better but even she, before she died, admitted that her stages were not necessarily the way it always is. And that people move through them and come back to them and it's far more of a moving-back-and-forth process than people think it is. There is no well-I'm-done-with-that-stage of the whole thing.
    And I have always wondered how to know the difference between denial and acceptance anyway. Speaking for my own personal self.
    I remember after my beloved father-in-law died how my mother kept claiming that my husband had never really come to accept his death which was so cruel and so untrue. He just didn't do it the way she thought he should. She had volunteered for hospice for years and so she was the "expert" but just as with raising children- each and every circumstance (and child) is a completely different situation calling for different responses.
    And you know what I think? I think that if the relationship between the grievers and the grieved was a good one, a healthy one, a loving one, then death is not nearly as horrifying as it is if the relationship was not a good one. That yes, it is horrible, it is darkness, but there is light because there was so much love.
    Which your family is proving.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. 1. I love the new picture of you.
      2. You are always wise.
      3. The relationship was healthy and good. I recognize that this, too, was a gift.

      Delete
  8. While I appreciate the comments here I'm going to take a slightly different view of things. Was the person who said this a doctor or someone trained to be very clinical? Was the comment said in a way that showed that the person was genuinely concerned? If so, perhaps the only way that he or she knew how to show caring was in focusing on making sure that your mental health was being taken care along with your physical and spiritual being which is clearly being taken care of with all of your support. I just point this out because not all people know how to be supportive in just the right way. If this person is someone who has shown that he or she has cared in the past, I would consider whether this was a simple misunderstanding due to someone not understanding your faith but trying to make sure that you were ok. I hope that god continues to look out for you and your family.

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    1. I like your perspective. First, this person didn't say this to my face. They said it to someone else. My guess is that my faith was misunderstood. I think it was a person who cares for me but who also doesn't know such a thing (faith) in their own life.

      That said, it hurt because it was said to another person -- in response to how "well" I seem to be doing. The one who accidentally shared that with me didn't realize how hearing that statement made me feel.

      I think I agree with those who said casting labels and judgements on how someone is grieving isn't cool. I'll remember that next time I think I have an opinion about such a thing.

      Delete
  9. What did I tell you... "It's a Deanna Thang... they wouldn't understand." ;-).

    No regrets. No unspoken words. No doubt.

    I love you, Sissy!

    ~Biz

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    1. Shine bright like a diamond!

      Love you back,

      Miz

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  10. Ms. Moon says it so well. My philosophy is that how people grieve is definitely one of those times when it's prudent to "stay in your lane". Your posts have been heart-wrenching to read, which makes me believe that they were even more heart-wrenching to write. How can you celebrate someone's so-treasured life if you're in denial?

    Thinking peaceful thoughts for you and your family.

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  11. Love you girl....Keep doing you! Inglewood love!

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    1. It was great seeing you on Saturday. Your partner is awesome and I loved meeting him again. Thanks, Brian.

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  12. I don't know you and have only met your sister Jolai once. However, she and I have kept in touch via facebook. Since January, I have read her posts and viewed her family pictures. All I can say is LOVE. You see, even before your sister passed, I could tell the love you guys shared. Its the same love that helps you STAND IN SPITE OF today. You can hold your head up without regrets because of LOVE. I will continue to pray for you all. In the meantime, I will work to make sure my children are as close as you guys are. Smile. Sending love and peace your way. DAWN HARRELL

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  13. I have been reading your posts, and I think of you often and pray for you. Many of your posts about your dear Deanna have brought tears to my eyes, especially this one. I am in awe of the love and closeness your family shares. Could it be that the person who made this comment does not have that kind of support in his or her own life, and thus has no idea how much it can help with the grieving process? Just another thought to consider.

    You certainly don't sound like a person in denial, but your grief will probably change over time as you continue to walk this path. How will it change? Who knows? Yes, grieving has characteristics that most people experience, yet it is still individual and personal. As your love for Deanna matured over the years as each of your grew and matured and changed, so will your grief mature. However, you will always have Deanna in your heart and in your soul, and her love will never leave you because her love is part of who you are. Maybe that is part of the peace that you feel--the part of you that is made up of her love is rejoicing in that love.

    I wish you peace and many more blessings.

    Karen

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    1. Beautifully stated, Karen. Thank you for that.

      I am certain that it will evolve. How, I do not know. But I'm sure it will and I will surrender to that. It's all a process.

      Delete
  14. *expletive* it!!! lol

    You're doing the best you know how, and helping MANY others thru this process, me included. It's a spiritual journey...live, learn, love. -Renee

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  15. Laughing out loud. You know Deanna was good for big, loud . . errr. . .*EXPLETIVE* that!!!!

    ha ha ha

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  16. Sigh...such is human nature to stand on the sideline and judge. Just keep moving...at your speed and your pace. Never mind those people.

    When I said how brave you were doing the eulogy for Deanna, I saw it as such a great testimony of your faith and also the strength of love within your family. Anyone who has met the Draper 4 knows that!!

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  17. Kimberly,
    Preach my sistah!! May the lord bless whom ever doubted your level of grief and faith!!

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  18. I love this post. People forget that our loved ones also send comfort from the other side. My friend told me this when my father died. She said don't be surprised if you are not broken because your dad is helping you from where he is. Almost 17 years later I believe this still.

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    1. Sister Lister--I love this. I do. Perhaps that could explain some of how I feel, too. Thank you for giving me that idea to keep in my pocket. I appreciate you, my friend.

      Delete
  19. I have been struggling with this post for the past couple of hours... it is moving and heartbreaking, and it is also amazing in the way it reveals how common shared experiences can be felt so differently by each of us. Part of what I have been struggling with is finding a way to express the thoughts and emotions your post has evoked.

    It made me teary, because I knew those words had hurt you, and it made me incensed because that hurt came at a time when there is no room for extra hurt. It made me teary also because I pictured you collapsing to the ground in grief and recalled myself collapsing to the ground in grief, an experience we have lived in the same way but also in different ways (my tiny family is scattered around the world and none are near enough to hold out their arms).

    It reminded me of how we (strangers and friends) can relate to each other in ways that build and also in ways that tear us down and apart, and that unless we are mindful, we can hurt people with very few words, without realizing it.

    It also pointed out to me, yet again, that no matter how shared our experiences are and how much we care for one another, our views are focused through the lenses of our own lives and experiences. Many people who work in health care have a very intimate and yet only theoretical view of death and grieving. They see death routinely but they may not have had to filter it through their own flesh and blood. So, their understanding of how grieving should look may or may not have anything to do with their understanding of you, your grieving process, or your faith - it may simply be a construct of their learned theories. Alternatively, they may have felt personal grief, however, while they may have acted similarly to you, they may have been in denial at the time, because they did not have the perspective, the background, the family, the experiences, the faith that you have. (As an illustrative example, the only other family member who was near me and shared one of the losses that I suffered, was convinced that I was in denial, because I was not "grieving like a normal person"... which to them meant I was not grieving like they were grieving... those words hurt, they stung, they made me angry, and they took too long to overcome probably because they came from someone so close).

    Also that person's misinterpretation of your grief and grieving process is not necessarily a function of their lack of the kind of faith that you have. I cannot say that I have that kind of faith - perhaps it is because of my inability to accept that having horrific things (things that are not in the natural order of life like birth, death, disappointment, etc. are) happen to us cannot possibly be part of any good plan (especially when we are too young to have done anything to deserve such punishment). However, I am clearly seeing your path through this process and how true you are to your heart and I see your grief as clearly as a giant sparking diamond in a vast, cloudless, dark purple sky.

    I am hoping, fervently hoping, that the hurt of those words has dissolved into the balmy air of your lovely neighborhood, has been picked up by a swift breeze and carried far far away from you.

    P.S. Sorry this has turned out to be such a huge comment, I am not sure it's suitable for public posting. I thought of emailing it to you, but considered that you may find it as more appropriate to read here.

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    1. Ha ha ha. . .we are a community of thinkers, WCD! It's all good.

      Delete
  20. This poem (perhaps my most favorite), by Rudyard Kipling, has given me strength on many occasions:

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

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    1. Nice. Thank you for sharing, my friend.

      Delete
  21. Again, it's peace that surpasses all understanding not all understand because it seems surreal. Even sometimes we ourselves don't understand how God gives us the strength to be and stand in some of the toughest times of our life. That's why our faith causes us to lean on SOMEONE bigger than ourselves-- it's in those times that He does for us what we can't do for ourselves. I understand because I see and personally saw God in you! Let Him continue to reign in you and give you and your family what you need in this and any storm in life! #whatatestimony :>) We and others overcome by it!!!!

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    1. Hey Big Sister Sonia!

      I was SO elated to see your smiling and peaceful face on Saturday. You know how much I've always adored you and I am so, so proud of you. I appreciate you taking the time to be there. Jada told me that it required you to change your schedule--this meant a lot to me. It felt good to see you and it comforted me.

      Sisterly,

      Kimberly

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  22. Sending you lots of love, Dr. Kimberly. There is no wrong way to grieve; we all do our best and no one should be judging you for how you've been coping. Still praying for you and your family, the best way I know how. <3

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    1. I appreciate you, Nurse 8. Thank you for being a part of this community with me.

      Delete
  23. Kim this your Tuskegee classmate Ted and I want to say after losing my moms earlier this year that you hit the nail on the head with this one.

    God bless

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    1. What's up, Ted? I'm sorry to hear about your mother. God bless you, too. I pray your holidays are peaceful and not too painful.

      xo,

      Kimberly

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  24. Kimberly - My heart is breaking for you. For you all. Please remember that no one needs to know what's in your heart. That is between you and God. Let it go. Virtual hugs! - Kimpy

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    1. Kimpy--girrrrll. I am still speechless from seeing your smiling face. You. Even though we did not spend much time together this weekend, know that your presence did my heart such good. I know that Deanna was beaming when she saw the MHS Varsity Cheer crew together. Somebody should have done a "herkie." Ha ha ha.

      xo,

      Kimberly

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    2. P.S. Remember "Kim Phi Kim?" LOL!

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  25. Like others have said, grieving is SO personal. But, I do think the way you and your family have been celebrating Deanna's life has seemed to me to be an authentic reflection of what I already know of you from this blog.

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    1. Good morning, Stacey. Thank you so much for always being here and for always being so supportive. I consider you a friend. I hope you know that.

      Your friend,

      Kimberly

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    2. Thanks for that, Kimberly! I feel the same way.

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  26. Simple.....You are truly a BLESSING! Thanks for always being honest and sharing w/us apart of your life. There are times when I feel like I've failed my daughter & my mom (this morning was one of those times)and then I come over and read your blog...I realize life is to short to always be down on myself and that I've been granted another day with these 2 beautiful people and I need to keep moving forward. I need to celebrate life to the fullest and love like there's no tomorrow. Your post have made me laugh, cry, think, dream and honestly just want to love my family harder.

    P.S. Please excuse any grammatical errors, not much of a writer (smile).

    Be Blessed,
    Cassandra

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    1. Thanks for these kind words and for your perspective. And if this makes you want to love your family harder, that comforts me. Family is everything and it's a blessing when that word "family" crosses so many lines.

      Hugs to you,

      Kimberly

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  27. Kim,

    I never knew any of your siblings but was saddened to hear of this news nevertheless. I pray for continued strength and blessings upon your family. I know from my own personal trials and from God delivering me personally from the brink of death that God heals ALL wounds. Stay strong in the Lord and keep moving forward.

    Senta

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  28. 'Look, man. All I can do is surrender to where I'm at. Where I am is in a place that is saying, "I didn't question the heaping helping of blessings I've received and continue to receive--how dare I question this?"' <-------This all day long. All day long.

    You just continue to do what works for you and walk your walk of faith leaning on your God, your family and your friends. Bump the others.

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  29. I just wrote a blog about a dear colleague who died and who, like your sister, also shined "bright like a diamond."
    http://bloom-parentingkidswithdisabilities.blogspot.ca/2012/12/our-diamond-in-sky.html

    As others have stated above, there isn't a "right" way to grieve and there aren't discrete "stages" that follow a particular order (e.g. we can flip back and forth in emotions and all over the place from moment to moment) The word denial has so many negative connotations when really it's just our broken heart reaching out and finding different things to focus on in its struggle to cope. To say any part of the process is better or worse suggests a lack of understanding of the process. Grief is rich and complex and hard to pin down like the rest of life.

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    Replies
    1. That's a good word. Thank you so much for sharing this. And! I got the magazines--thank you!

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  30. My heart aches for you. I don't even know what to say so I'll just continue to pray and send you e-hugs!

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  31. Wow. Virtual love is being sent.... Even in your state of hurt you manage to write and inspire. It is amazing, this blog community- the love is palpable...
    And even as someone without faith I am comforted by yours. Thinking of your family... Hugs!

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  32. Denial? I don't think so! Grief is a process and it ebbs and flows and is experienced by each person in a different way. It is my personal and professional experience that faith makes the way a bit smoother. However, those who do not have faith still experience grief in different ways and who is to say what is "better'? Certainly not someone sitting on the outside of that person's grief. I am sorry you were hurt on top of the hurt you already feel for your beloved sister. I say it is between you, your family and your God. Everyone else with unsolicited opinions can just go pound sand!! My mother always told me that just because I HAD an opinion didn't mean I had to EXPRESS it. Perhaps your critic should be reminded of that. I am sure that person didn't mean to hurt you but the fact that it did, reminds me to keep my mouth shut when my opinion is not sought out. Whew we could just avoid a whole lotta trouble if we all "stayed in our lane" wouldn't we? My prayers to you and to your parents. Trust the process, it will get better.

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  33. I feel blessed to know you and your family though that knowing is tender and new. But what I do know of you is that you are one of the most "in the moment" people I have met. I so admire this because I think you "get" so much more of life than most people, who often have their eyes on the horizon rather than the here and now. I am sorry for your pain but let the perhaps well-meant but misguided commentary go and focus on the love for it will carry you through...
    Love, Katie

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  34. Oh, yes! That Faith Walk! It doesn't make that pain go away... it just feels like a heavenly hug that won't ever let you go... especially when you're breaking down. Still praying for you, Doc. Praying hard.

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  35. "But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you." Matthew 6:6. This is the verse that I am reminded of. Faith is not defined by others, just God and you.

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss, your families loss, and the worlds loss of one more great person.
    Saying a pray for you now.
    Kate

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  36. I think it is a blessing to us all that you are sharing your personal journey here. I wondered, reading this, what the person who judged your grieving process was expecting from you - hysterics? Depression? I know from my experience, especially as a life long control freak, that the unknowns of the grief process were unnerving, that I had a very hard time figuring out what I felt and how to feel it. Sadness was just one of many components, and I truly believe now that so much of how I processed the loss of my Dad was guided by Dad's love and life philosophy. He was a very grateful man, he took nothing for granted and counted his blessings every day. How could I let myself fall apart with him for a role model? I internalized much of my sorrow, and I worked hard to see all the joy and love his life created and it helped me immeasurably. It still does. I imagine that your wonderful sister is guiding you and your family in the same way.

    It has been therapeutic for me to share in your journey, to consider love and grief and gratitude anew. And it's an honor, truly.

    xxoo

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