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  1. Pingback: Mormons and Grief: Can We Do It Better? | Flunking Sainthood

  2. This was beautiful and much appreciated.

    My Mother, Catherine Elizabeth, died on January 4th of this year. It wasn’t unexpected – in fact – it may have been anticipated. She had a most terrible form of Alzheimers disease, and had been gradually leaving us for several years. The last several months of her life were horrid!

    My sister, brother, myself, and my Mother’s two sisters decided to put my Mother on Palliative care, so she could be sedated and her mental agony would be minimized. She died four weeks later.

    The pain of it almost overcame me. It was almost as though I couldn’t breathe – or maybe I didn’t want to breathe. All of a sudden, what seemed so clear before she died, became very blurry – and I battled with myself, wondering if we did the right thing.

    This is a portion of a prayer I wrote a few weeks after she died:

    “. . . . I feel You understanding that my heart is just too full of words, and sadness, and confusion, and mourning – and I haven’t really known what to say, or think, or even feel – or where to go with it all.

    “In some ways it looks as though life is going on since Mom died, and yet I feel so conscious of the void she has left – I feel like it will always be there, and that perhaps, someday, I’ll just get use to it – but I don’t have the words God – I don’t even understand what the language is – this all feels very unfamiliar – foreign and SAD.

    “I don’t even know what to ask You for.

    “Are mourning and sorrow actual languages? Languages that don’t have words, but wordless words that change the very soul of a woman or a man? We are so dependent on words, and this seems to be something – something so deep and primal that words are simply inadequate – not on the radar – not appropriate – not complete- not enough – not even in the realm of this depth of feeling.

    “This is so new to me God – words have always seemed so beautiful and complete, and now I have come up against an experience for which words will not suffice – and all I can do is cry and feel the groaning that comes from the pit of my soul. You reminded me of Romans 8:26

    ” ‘The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. When we cannot choose the words in order to pray properly, the Spirit itself expresses that plea in a way that could never be put into words.’ (The Message)

    ” This brings me peace because I understand this now – that words are very inadequate – ancient perhaps – that there is a means of communicating that comes not from the mind or even from the will – but expressions of soul and heart and flesh and spirit and universal feeling that lives in all of us, but of which we only become aware of when it is all so deep – it is all so new – it is all so ancient and naked that we drop to our knees (in soul and in spirit) – and wait – because there is nothing else to do – but wait – in silence with the speaking that lives outside of words.

    ” . . . and this place comes with many tears – shed and unshed – it comes with a willingness to mourn and feel the sorrow and grief that come with these times in life – it can’t be felt in running – it is not familiar – and even I (who think I am so committed to experiencing living out ALL the verities of life) want to run. God, I don’t want to be proud in this expression. I don’t want to run away – I sense an invitation from You to something new – not a high new, but depths of humility new – and I don’t know how to get there. I don’t have a map, and no one has explained this to me before . . . . ”

    I hope this isn’t too long, or deep, or inappropriate. It’s my ongoing experience. It’s still hard. Now, do I have the nerve to post it?

    Mary Elizabeth Shaver

  3. I really enjoyed this podcast. Thanks Dan, Jana, Cindy, Lisa and Connie!

    There are so many similarities between what was discussed here and what I am dealing with. I’m not grieving a loss due to death, but I am certainly grieving as I work through the stages of healing from childhood abuse.

    I wish I had a black ribbon or arm band. (Yes, I looked up the article on the Huffington Post and quite enjoyed it!) What a wonderful idea. Then people around me would understand if I am less friendly than usual, or even irritable–its not you.

    And the mourning bench! I love that idea. I would definitely sit there to let my church friends know, “Yes, you can talk to me about this. I need you to talk to me. I don’t want to be abandoned in my time of grief.” I think that would make a great blog post (for my own blog).

    Finally, I appreciated the ideas about somethings we may experience and not recognize as part of the grief process. There were two or three of those that I identified with and thought, “Oh! That’s why I feel this way. So perhaps I won’t feel this way forever.” What a relief!

    About burial or cremation, I know this is silly but a casket makes me feel claustrophobic, and I’m afraid of fire so–I favor a mourning shroud. Just wrap me up in a shroud and bury me (no embalming). I don’t know if my family would go for it, but that would be my preference.

    Thanks so much for this, it was really timely and helpful to me!

  4. Thank you all for sharing your grief with us (complete strangers) and
    allowing us to be part of that process. It’s so deeply personal and it was a privilege to be listening in on something so intimate.

    The section on how other cultures process death and their practices of mourning was fascinating–especially how the Mormon Polynesians go through their songs of lament. I loved that. I tried to envision my family doing that and felt a pang of cultural envy or something!

    I also appreciated the story of losing your cat and the howls of grief that escaped you. The subsequent discussion about grief over pets and animals got me thinking about the all the different things that we grieve that are sometimes not considered. In death it’s clear that one would grieve. But what about when a child leaves home, you lose a job, experience faith transition/crisis or even retire? All of that and a million other things or life transitions can lead us into grief but it isn’t recognized as grief necessarily–especially when the event from the outside looks like something that might be considered positive (like retiring). Yet, the grief is very real and often ignored because it doesn’t seem like one *should* be grieving that experience. Just so many different places and ways in which grief can hit us unexpectedly. Receiving outside acknowledgement and support can be even trickier because they aren’t the ‘typical’ reasons for being in grief or mourning. I guess just being really aware and allow ourselves the privilege of grieving and mourning according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow others the same privilege; let them grieve how, where, or what they may. 🙂

    Thanks again for a wonderful panel and discussion.

  5. Pingback: 057: Suffering; D&C and Church History 28 | Mormon Stories Sunday School

  6. I am listening to the podcast and are very grateful for the candid remarks by a few of the participants in terms of how our society grieves and how we are often pressured to put on a happy face and move on quickly. However, I would have liked to have heard someone on the panel who has lost a child share their experience. As heartbreaking as losing a pet, a spouse, or a parent is, there is nothing more devastating, or unnatural than losing a child. I buried my teenager a few months ago and although I have a strong testimony of this restored gospel, it takes all I have to wake up each day. I would love more discussion on this – but particularly, advice and counsel on grieving the loss of a child.

  7. Pingback: 152: Death of Jesus (New Testament Lesson 26) -

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