From Grief to Grace

Today’s topic is supposed to be about something that was planned that did not turn out as expected. I don’t think I can do a better job than the one Lee did with her post tonight. Also, I’m not feeling that topic because I have something else weighing on my mind.

In the past year, I’ve had too many friends grieve the loss of a parent. I’ve also had another grieve the loss of a sibling. This sad and unfortunate trend continued this week as someone close to me lost his mother. It also pains me to say I have friends who are preparing for their loss as they have a parent who is ill or in hospice care.

In almost all of the instances mentioned above, cancer has been the common denominator in the passing of those individuals.

Every loss we experience is tragic. Infant or elder, expected or all of the sudden, death brands our soul with the lasting reminder of its eventuality. We mourn. We grieve. We try to make sense of it all. And in its own way, death unites us in the commonness of sorrow and pain.

There’s an extra layer added when the ones we love are lost due to that universal foe we call cancer. It’s hard enough to learn to accept death, but losing someone to cancer makes us feel cheated. We’re left feeling they were taken from us prematurely, and if not for cancer, they’d still be with us creating memories and sharing moments.

But as with all deaths, we, those who survive the ones who have passed, can carry their legacy and lives forward in how we choose to honor and remember them.

I never had the honor of meeting Jeffrey Block. He died at the age of 18 following a four year long battle with cancer. Still, he’s been the inspiration for a movement and a cause that has positively impacted the lives of thousands of people. His older brother chose to turn his grief and sorrow into a lasting tribute to his little brother, and formed a charity organization dedicated to the fight against pediatric cancer. The culmination of this tribute is found in the song Jeffrey’s brother wrote for him. To this day, I cannot listen to that song without my eyes welling with tears and my thoughts drifting to the memory of my father.

Grieving is a natural process. Feeling hurt, pain, and sometimes despair following the passing of a loved one is normal. Still, I like to think they’d want us to instead celebrate the life we shared with them and keep their memory alive by channeling that sense of loss into something positive.

You don’t have to go out and found a charity or write a beautiful song to honor a loved one. Instead, find solace in taking actions you know would make them proud. Find direction in the lessons you learned from them while they were still with us. Keep their spirit alive by enriching the spirit of others.

It’s when we turn grief into grace that we allow our loved ones to live forever.

“Running Through the Fields” by Ken Block

Well we shared a season
Running through the fields
We never had a reason
To be scared of things
That were so unreal
Making our own stories
Playing our own games
We never had no worries
Never thought things
Would ever change

But I’m missin’ you today –
Don’t know why you went away

Times I sat and wondered
Nights we sat and cried
I’m proud to be your brother
No one knows how hard we tried
To make it to tomorrow
For just another day
There’s never time to borrow
For things I’ll never get to say …

So many days I’m searchin’
So many nights I’m left alone
Sometimes the song of the wind
Well it’s — only the warning for the storm

Moments turn to hours
Months they turn to years
It’s different now without you
With your image crystal clear
The child was the teacher
A brother and a friend
A fragile little creature
Who’d do it all again and again

Well we shared a season
Running through the fields

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