Friday, May 02, 2008

Grieving: Share the legacy instead

From: A friend
I just saw your piece on step-children and obituaries. I just lost my father and my sibling and I do not yet have children of our own. My step-mother put that my father was the "devoted grandfather" to her grandchildren in his obituary. (Our step-siblings' kids.) Yes, the kids are also named, as are their spouses in the obituary. We are not married, but I have a long-time partner.

When she sent it to us to "review", I told her how I would like that part taken out as it was just a painful reminder that we will never have that opportunity to see him with our children some day, or to hear them call him grandpa. She said my dad was sad that he knew he would never see his own grandchildren and that he loved these children and the she would not change it. It hurts so bad. Am I just being too sensitive about the wording, or, are there others out there just like me.

DearDEAR Friend,

First, accept my sincere condolences for the recent death of your father. I lost mine just last September, and so I have a glimpse of how you are feeling right now. There is little besides our faith than can see us through at a time like this.

I had originally thought to write a blog entry on this topic of tender feelings, but my own feelings about my parents' deaths are still so tender, I don't think I can do it. We shall see how this letter goes.

I don't know about your religious affiliation or background, but I would like to share a little of my thoughts with you today. As more people have the courage to speak of their near-death experiences, it is perhaps easier to believe that our lives do not end at death. We know from our studies of the bible that Christ came to earth, and that he said "In my Father's house are many mansions - I go to prepare a place for thee." If death was the end, there would have been no need for the resurrection. Most will tell you that death is a transition between this life and our future in the eternal scheme of things.

So your father isn't completely lost to you. Our fathers are very near, but we cannot see or interact with them as we once did.

I am sure that when you and your siblings have children, your father will be the one in heaven
allowed to give the final embrace before each tiny one comes into your kind mothering arms. Your dad will most certainly be mindful of these little ones as they grow and progress in life. Of all the angels in heaven, who do you think will be at the head of the line volunteering to be their guardian angel, if it isn't your dad?

Regarding the obituary, I think that your step-mother had to walk a fine line at a time when she was also grieving. I think that you can let go of your hurt feelings toward her by realizing that hurt is just a manifestation of your incredible sense of loss since your father died. I am only a few months ahead of you on the path of recovery. I'll go along just fine, and then something will trigger a precious memory that brings me to tears once again.

Surround yourself with beautiful things like flowers and a favorite photo of Dad. Take walks, play, dance, sing! Our dads would not want us to be so terribly sad. Yet, what we are going through is part of our normal grieving process as mortal beings.

Things will get better bit by bit.

What you have left is your family, including the steps, who also have fond memories of your dad. Open your heart and let the memories flow. Make new ones with the wonderful family that continues. Share your heritage -- Dad's favorite songs and other family traditions.

If your father thought well-enough of this woman to marry her, then you can continue his legacy by showing love and having a profound influence on her and her posterity.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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