Stretching the Heart

I’ve come to realize that grief is an under appreciated emotion. Certainly it is painful, inconvenient, and sometimes overwhelming. However, I really believe that it provides an opportunity for growth.  Whenever I have allowed myself to fully grieve – to hurt, and ache, and wonder what might have been… all the while accepting that things are as they are – I’ve stretched my heart.

How to fill a stretched out Heart

With thankfulness for the opportunity to be touched by a beautiful life.

With inspiration to see our own lives to become a blessing for the future generation.

With respect for the unyielding call of eternity.

With love for one another.

Courage to love Again

I’m sure we have all heard the phrase, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” (Tennyson) Of course, these are the things we tell ourselves when we are out of the immediately painful season of grief. You know, when the muscles surrounding our heavy hearts have firmed up a bit, and it’s a little easier to carry the load. This is the time of grief when we are able to set our sights on the things ahead. Our peripheral vision once again comes into view. We can slowly begin to pour all the thankfulness, inspiration, respect, and love we have gained into another life.

Can grief be taught?

As a mother I have the privilege of teaching my children many things. Some of the more honorable life lessons I’ve been a part of are: how to share, how to delight over a brand new baby, how to be a good friend, and how to give of yourself for the benefit of another. A lesson on grief and loss should really be viewed with the same honor. I want my boys to know that we can celebrate and respect both life and death.

I’ll be telling my children about the loss of a dear woman today. Our friend, the principal of their elementary school, passed away after losing her battle with cancer a few days ago. We were on a short trip when I found out, so while I have had a chance to begin grieving, husby and I decided to wait until we were home to share the news with them. In case you are wondering, the pounding waves and fierce winter winds of the Oregon coast create an excellent place to shed some tears. Your children can happily kick at sea foam, chase gulls and never notice your broken heart (really, whose eyes aren’t watery when you are out on the beach in February?).

I know their little hearts will be stretched because Mrs. Murphy was truly a beautiful woman. Despite her year and a half long illness, she came to work every day she was able. She gave herself to our children generously. She was always thankful for our parental support. She encouraged our children to give their best efforts in school and all of life. While we are thankful that she is finally in comfort and peace, we will miss her very, very much.