Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans
-John Lennon

A while back, I received a letter from Ron, an old friend and former co-worker that I had not heard from in years. It was a pleasant surprise

After some kind thoughts and “days of old” memories and promises to do better in the future, he delivered the message. He lost Delores a year ago. Delores was his long love, his wife, the mother of his children and his best friend.

He went on to write, “ I am only now beginning to accept her loss. Being in a retirement community and having a wonderful family does help to ease the pain somewhat but never completely, of course.”

I am sure Ron is right. I recently read something that said, “the only cure for grief is grieving.”

I always appreciate expert advice and opinions except when they are wrong. In this case, I am sure they are wrong, as I have watched people that I know and love, continue to grieve the loss of a loved one for many years and even to the time of there own death. There is no cure for Grief. At best there may be a lessening of pain over time.

I am able to accept the idea of my own demise, but I am
unable to accept the death of anyone else.
-Maya Angelou

We know that grieving is a lonely process. In most cases those around us try to share our pain but really do not know how. Most often they try by doing some things that have become standard. They may send a card with a message composed by a Hallmark poet offering condolences and hope for a better tomorrow. There are always the promises of “thoughts and prayers.”

Do these gestures of kindness help with the grieving process? They probably do not, but they may be very valuable in other ways.’

I believe that offering condolences, hope for tomorrow and thoughts and prayers are all, in fact, Prayers which is the highest form of communication and expression of love.

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
-Soren Kierkegaard

If that be the case, grieving will be shared even if it may be at a distance by more people than we may be aware of and some we may never know about.

In your life, you have two families. The one you are born in
and the one you choose.
-Michael Connelly

We need to constantly remind ourselves that we have families that minister to us and we to them. In times of great change families awaken and respond to these changes. We may celebrate, with great joy, the birth of a new family member or we may grieve the loss of another.

We need to constantly share in the joys and sorrows of the family that we are born in but also of the family that we chose. To do that we must know that our chosen family not only includes a circle of friends but also our communities, our church family, our schools, our missions and our earth.

I know that I know nothing.

It is a well known story that because Socrates proudly said that he knew nothing, his peers determined that he was so brilliant that they honored him by declaring him to be “the smartest guy in the camp.”

Obviously that has nothing to do with me. I am totally willing to admit that I am not the “sharpest tool in the box”, I am smart enough to ask for help for almost everything that I do.

I not only use all the brains that I have,
but all that I can borrow.
-Woodrow Wilson

Whether we are happy or sad, with loved ones or alone, celebrating or grieving we know that somehow life goes on and we will survive and know full well that life will forever be different.

In my view, after any life-changing event, our most important challenge is to find our “New Normal” and get on with the life that is left.

I will (for now) stop with the quotes, not because I have none left, but because I have too many. Some of them are so good that any comment or example would lessen the message.

Death ends a life not a relationship.
-Mitch Albom