He looked to be about 50 years of age. A farmer. As I sat down next to him, he immediately told me that this was his very first time on an airplane. I must confess I looked to see if there was a puke bag in the seat pocket in front of him….just in case. “So how are you feeling?” I asked him. “Good,” he answered. “Excited!” he continued. I smiled. I hoped it would turn out well for him – and for me – and for the young girl in the window seat next to him whom he had also informed about his first flight adventure. Continue reading →
I like bunnies and chocolate eggs. It’s fun to watch the grandkids go on their Easter egg hunts. It’s wonderful to spend time with family during the holiday season.
We are doing this once again on Easter weekend. Continue reading →
A young father came by the gym at which I was working out. It was Halloween. “So, is your baby daughter going out trick or treating tonight?” I asked. “Yes, she is getting all dressed up. I’m not sure how long she will last, but it’s fun for us,” he replied. Continue reading →
Dying is not a passive event – at least not until you are no longer able to mentally engage with with those around you.
Your life is like a storybook. It’s important to look back on your life and consider what’s been significant. What have been the highlights? The struggles? The surprises? It’s also important to look ahead and consider how your last chapter on earth might unfold in a direction that you prefer. As such, you need to take the author’s pen. Continue reading →
Sugar adds sweetness. Salt adds flavour.
While most people have come to understand that dying is about subtraction – something being taken away – I have come to believe that it has everything to do with addition. Even though we are preparing for our final chapter on earth, we should consider what we would like to leave to our family and friends once we’re gone – something that will continue to “taste good” even after we have died and made our way into our next story.
I watched a humming bird the other morning. It came and took sweet nectar from a flower. And then it flew away. That evening I tasted the wonderful flavours of a restaurant dish I was eating in Montreal. And then we left.
We have much to give to others in our dying. We are not certain how long we will stay. Your “sugar and salt” should be offered freely as gifts to be opened and shared with those who are most important to you.
A spoonful of sugar. A teaspoon of salt.
What might those ingredients look like for you?
Rick Bergh is a best-selling author. His latest book, Looking Ahead: How Your Dying Impacts Those Around You will be released in November. In it, Rick Shares his 30 years of experience and his personal journey with his first wife Pam and their last three months together prior to her death at 47 years of age.
Connect with him at www.rickbergh.com or www.intentionalgrief.com
All of life is a series of memories that are either positive or negative – very few are neutral. We remember most all of them, but usually choose to give special meaning to those memories that are positive and uplifting.
My friend, Gary, had a special animal companion that died last week. Continue reading →
I did not think I would cry, but I did. I gave away my dad’s old truck to the Kidney Foundation today. My father gave me that truck many years ago and I used it during the construction of our family cabin.
It has a history packed with powerful memories. Continue reading →
I don’t like saying goodbye to my grandchildren when I leave after a visit with them. Even though I might be exhausted by the end of a weekend, as soon as I drive away from their home, I’m already missing them and thinking of the next time that I will see them.
Why? The reason is love. I am emotionally attached to them because of my love for them. And they love me too. The more time we spend together, the more we become attached. Continue reading →
There are some days that grief in our lives feels like a big tangled knot. We feel as though we are getting through and moving ahead and then, BOOM! – emotions blindside us suddenly and an array of emotions grip us once again. We begin again – undoing the knots that bind us tightly. Grief feels like a tightening grip sometimes.
We want to be free, but there is a process: one knot at a time. Because you only have so much energy every day, you need to untangle in methodical priority. Slowly, the tears subside and joy returns. You sleep through the night. You go back to work. You are OK. And then… something pulls you back and you have to begin the untangling again.
There seems to be more backward movement than forward motion in grief at first. And that’s really okay.
I came home for lunch one day, opened up the front door, and said, “I’m home, Pam!” I froze as I quickly realized that Pam was no longer. She had died two months earlier. I sat down and cried. I had to start untangling that difficult knot again.
It was not easy, but it was real.
You will likely have these experiences as well. And it’s really okay. It just means that you miss and love that person. Would you want it any other way?
How many of you remember cassette tapes where you could fast-forward through a song that you didn’t like and find the one you preferred to listen to over and over again? It was never easy to guess when to stop the fast-forward button, and so you would have to stop and start a few times. Sometimes you would fast-forward for too long and miss the song that you really wanted to hear.
For many people, Christmas grief is much like that. They want to fast-forward to the other side of Christmas to a place where they don’t have to experience the season and the ‘song’ that goes with it.
Does that sound familiar?
Are you missing someone very special this Christmas? Is the thought of them not being there too difficult to imagine? You don’t want the strong emotions that come from their absence to overtake you. You would like to put your life and Christmas on fast-forward.
Let’s go back to the cassette tape for a moment. While I did prefer certain songs in the long playlist, I did take time to listen to a few others and began to enjoy different songs as well. Sometimes I’d land on one of the less familiar songs by accident, but decided to listen anyway. Soon, I began to appreciate those ones on the playlist as well.
Your Christmas will never be the same without that special person who is no longer present for your festivities. But do you really want to fast-forward through this Christmas?
Even in the midst of your missing, you must open up your heart to the new songs being played around you. You are not disallowing the old song to play in your heart, you are just opening yourself up to a world, to a life, to people that love you. Why not play a few notes for your hurting heart?