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Finding Joy in the Grief

This morning, as I searched in my cabinet for a coffee mug, I spotted this one. It really describes how we are getting through these dark days. (And I don’t mean the steaming creamy caffeine inside, either!) As difficult as this has been, I’ve found such comfort in the constant prayer pouring from my heart all day long. Most of the time those prayers are a simple “Help me” when I am overwhelmed, at a loss for what to do or say, or know I just totally blew it.

I’ve also been surprised at how much joy I’ve found in reaching out to help someone else. It isn’t easy, and it can be thankless. But being useful to someone else seems to be one way I’m feeling my way into this new life without my daughter.

We worked on Elli’s headstone last night. It’s so sadly beautiful. But writing a headstone is even tougher than writing a eulogy. How do you sum up a life in 3 lines… on a stone that will stand long after everyone who knew her is gone? I finally dug back into Scott’s words at her service. He is so much more eloquent than I, and I found the perfect thing there. (I’ll post it when it’s finalized.)

I’m hoping that her stone will be in place by late spring or early summer. I know I’ll visit often when the weather improves. As difficult as it has been to order the stone, it’s going to be a big part of my healing, I think. For me, having a place to go and have a good cry that is also beautiful and peaceful is so helpful. Being outdoors is very healing — perhaps because it helps me keep my perspective. Being sad indoors on gloomy days weighs me down… literally.

Plus, crying at a cemetery is expected. A friend of mine wrote recently that this is why people used to wear mourning for a year — then it was clear to anyone looking that you had suffered a loss. I never understood why that was so valuable until now. Death is invisible; the fact that part of me is buried a mile away isn’t readily apparent. I have to face the “how many children do you have?” question and those who do not know Elli has died (Elli received a letter in the mail from one of her doctors today — apparently they didn’t remove her from their mailing list yet).

So we keep pressing forward, trying to love each other where we are at each day, laughing and crying when we feel like it. And praying continually that despite it all, we can also be helpful and encouraging to others, as they have been to us.

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  1. Diane Teague says:

    I am praying for you.

    Your blog is a blessing. You have shown me strength through your weakness. Only God can do that.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Dearest Joy, Thank you for sharing your heart and your growing pains in Christ. The Lord has used you in my life from the beginning of your days. I praise God that He has given me a willing heart to let Him use each of my children and grandchildren to teach me many of the lessons one must learn to grow in Christ. Thank you so much!
    Love you always, Mom

  3. Joy, your blog is such a blessing. Although, I admit that many times I read it and cry–for you all and for the void that Elli left in your lives. I pray that designing and getting her headstone will be a step in the healing process. She will forever be a huge part of your live and of who you are. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and struggles here–it is very encouraging for many of us–a lot of times just to know how you are doing. We will continue to pray for you and Scott and the kids. May God continue to work in your life and show you His hand in your healing.

  4. I am praying for you, Joy. I have no idea how you are feeling, or the depth of sadness you are feeling. Your blog is a great example of how God is using you. You are a wonderful example to many of us,
    Susan Nelson

  5. Just found your blog…… Interesting…..I’ll be back to read more.

  6. Adwen, the Green Fairy says:

    I miss her so much.

  7. I know what you mean about a place to go and have a good cry. I was in no condition at the time so my mother in law helped design my daughter's stone and it turned out perfect. I had never thought about having anything on the back-but she had imagines from all the sports my daughter was involved in (a megaphone, volleyball, basketball jersey and a tiger paw for the mascot) The front has four hearts-one in each corner-they say "Precious Daughter" "Beautiful Granddaughter" "Loving Sister" and "Special Friend". It is such a neat place (not sure that's the word) but so many people leave things there. When I go I never know what new thing will be there. An angel figurine, a poem, card, etc. I hope you can find peace going there when it's ready.