Managing grief in the new year!


Many of us have heard about the stages of grief. For those of you who are not sure what those stages are, they are as follows: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. What a lot of people fail to mention is that it doesn’t necessarily progress in this order. Or just because you have completed one stage, doesn’t mean you will never go back. Unfortunately, I have found myself experiencing the stages of grief. On December 9th, I lost my older brother. My mother passed away 11 days later. In this short time, I have found myself flying back and forth through these stages of grief and it’s nauseating. I’m completely exhausted. I keep waiting for this moment when I will just “get over” this grief and all will be new again. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I will move between each of these stages at various times in my life. The time in between will just lengthen, and I will learn to live my new “normal”. Until then I will try to learn to cope and go on with the day-to-day. Because I know that is what my mother and brother would want me to do.

So, in this new year 2018, I am allowing myself to stumble, but I will always get up. I am allowing myself to grieve, but I will never give up. I will allow myself to move on, but I will never forget.

My mother, who at times, struggled with depression used to tell me “sometimes you have to fake it, until you make it”. So, I will allow myself some fake smiles here and there to help cope, but I will make it!

Our pastor told us in his sermon, to reflect on the past year and to instead focus on the positives and try not to dwell in the negatives. There are always Gods blessings around, sometimes we are just not paying attention. I would like to share with you some of my 2017 blessings:

  1. I got to spend another year with my mother! She was so sick, and I thought I was going to lose her many times throughout 2017. But I got to see her, talk to her, say goodbye, and love her! I thank god that he allowed me this time!
  2. I got to spend a terrific year with my brother. We took him on a vacation where he got to experience many first. It was like reliving my childhood all over with him. I am thankful I got to spend this time with him, and my children/husband got to see a side to my brother that they only heard about through me. My brother was special in many ways. He had down syndrome, but he was always smiling and happy!
  3. I became an adopted mommy for my mom’s dog, knebbles. This dog is my shadow now. I have always been a cat person, but this little dog has worked her way into my heart.
  4. God led me to organize a fall festival at church in October. It was a great success and it was a lot of fun watching people enjoy and fellowship with each other.
  5. I got to spend some time away with my husband this year. We went on a short vacation where I saw a Jim Henson museum. My favorite movie of all time Labyrinth, had an exhibit there. It was remarkable! If you knew how obsessed I was with this movie then you would be excited, I promise!

If you find yourself struggling, know you are not alone. If it were not for God, I truly don’t know how I would still be standing. Try and stay away from constant negative thoughts. It is okay for them to sneak in, but don’t let them stay. Sometimes it takes writing out the positives, because it is human nature to dwell on the negatives. My hope for myself and you this new year is to draw closer to God. Really, get to know him and form a relationship with him. Stay positive and never give up. My hopes for you and I are for a Happy New Year!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


It is easier to have faith in God when things are good! But what if they are not good?

When things are going good in your life and there are very few troubles. It is easy to sit back and think “I got this” and pull away from God. I have been there countless times in my life. It’s not that I stop believing, I just stray a bit. It is kind of like when your child goes off to college, and calls once in awhile if they need something, or stop in to say hey, and then move on. So I would thank God for my blessings, maybe pick up prayer a little more if I sensed trouble, and go on with life. My visits at his house (church), would become less frequent. I started making less and less time for him, but I felt like my faith was strong, because everything was great!

When tragedy strikes it can overwhelm you and really catch you off guard! Then becomes the true trial of faith. You start to question God, Why me? I am faithful? And maybe even start to place blame. The truth of the matter is we live in a very imperfect world. This life is hard and there will be tragedies and heartache. As humans we have the gift of free will, but with this gift comes down sides, as we can see many of them playing out in the news daily. God uses these moments to pull us closer to him if we will let him. God is a our father, and like any father he wants what is best for his kids. If we make a poor decision, then God will use this to help us grow as a person if we let him.

So when things are not going to good, it helps to lean on God! That is what we are supposed to do. I know I have had to a lot lately. My mother got very sick in January and my whole life changed. I almost lost her! She was on a ventilator (a machine that breaths for you), and they couldn’t get her off of it. So they had to move her to a special facility that was about 2 hours from home. I made that trip 2-3 times a week, and also tried to hold down my job. My mother also took care of my older brother, who has down syndrome. He came to live with my husband, 2 kids, and I. My brother made the trip with me to see our mother. There was many times we weren’t sure if she was going to make it. It was an emotional roller coaster. I work night shift and I got a call from the hospital that my mom had a possible stroke! There was nothing I could do, but wait for a phone call to see why she had become unresponsive. Since mom was so sick, I became legal guardian of my brother, so I could legally make decisions for him.

So I was caring for my mother, my brother, working in a caregiving profession, of course my 2 kids, and finally it just all came down on me. I became burned out! My husband was there to help out. He has been absolutely amazing through all of this. He had open arms when my brother came to live with us. He also stepped up in many areas. Without his support, I probably would of had a full on nervous breakdown.

I had taken a new job, and had to step away and tell them I was burned out. I didn’t know what I was going to do for money, but I couldn’t go to work the way I was feeling. We struggled with bills, and it was, and still is a trying time. It was during this time, I became closer with God. I read in my bible, had prayer, and even meditated. I had neglected myself for so long, that my body finally just said enough is enough. With all this going on in my life I had 2 choices. I could blame God for my sorrow or grow closer to him. I chose to grow closer to him, and I am so glad I did!

My mother is now closer to home. She is in a rehab facility, and she is working on coming home! That is my home, because she wont be able to live by herself. I have seen what the power of prayer has done in my life. My mom has been back from the brink many times. If you would have asked me in March if I thought this would be possible, I would have been in disbelief. My brother is adjusting incredibly well. He comes with me to visit mom and enjoys being in our noisy household. I look over at him when we are in the mix of the hustle and bustle and he is smiling.

I returned to work and I have been doing really good. I feel like I am reenergized. I have started school to work towards my Masters degree. So professionally I am on a better path too. I was exploring getting out of nursing all together, but with lots of prayer and self discovery, I feel this is where I am supposed to be. I actually had a supervisor come up to me the other night and said, “Thank you for everything you did tonight, you are a great nurse”. It made me smile, because it validated that I am where I’m supposed to be.

So have faith in God even in the storms of your life. Storms don’t last forever. They might seem that way, and I am not totally out of my storm yet, but I know with God at the wheel, I will end up where I need to be.

Faith Bible Verses

  • To keep your faith strong, you have to visit God in his house (Church), don’t be Gods college kid, who only shows up if they need something, or calls once in awhile.
  • Prayer is important! This is the way you communicate the good, bad, and the ugly. God listens to it all, he is just waiting for the call.
  • Finally, let God know you love him and your thankful, even in the bad times. There is always something to be thankful for. When we get in a situation, it is human nature to just concentrate on the negative.


Sometimes you might really have to dig to find the positive. When you do find it, hang on to it through the storm, and collect more on the way. Pretty soon the clouds will part, the sun will come out, and you will look back, and stand in amazement of the incredibly God we have. Much love! XO