Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief



You’ve heard me say about a million times that I have an exceptionally supportive family and friend network. Today I want to focus on just one of my sisters. When Summer got very close to my family while Tim was sick, she gave my sister Janet a nickname- Lovely. And it has stuck.

Janet is eight years older than me. When I say I’m the baby in the family, I mean I’m really the baby. Janet is my closet sibling. My brother is ten years older, and my other sister is 18 years older. In many ways, I grew up like an only child because of the age difference.

If you have ever attended one of my lectures, my family almost always comes up. When I speak of Janet, I say she is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Nice may be a generic word, but it is truly fitting for her. She just doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. As we’ve gotten older, she will often tell me she isn’t nice anymore. She has gotten older and less pleasant. But Janet’s less pleasant, is still much nicer than most people are on their best day.

I learned that life wasn’t fair many times in my life. Probably the single most unfair episode our family ever experienced, was when Janet lost her oldest daughter. She was only ten years old and was killed in a car accident. She was the sweetest thing ever. She was feminine and loved wearing curls and frilly dresses. She loved to show affection. I have read many, many times about the loss of a child and the strain it puts on a family, especially a marriage. Statistics are very high for couples divorcing after such a loss. Not my sister. She and her husband are high school sweethearts. She isn’t just nice, she is a very, very strong woman.

When my mom was sick, the hospice staff told us that I was the voice in the family and Janet was the hands. I will never understand how she didn’t pass her nursing boards because Janet is an absolute natural. She would change Mom’s bandages and bathe her with such kindness and gentleness. One time she wasn’t available and I had to get Mom ready for the day. We both laughed hard because I was an utter failure. I had her nightgown twisted around her IV’s so badly we had to ask for help. Mom and I both knew that no one could replace Janet. Not even close.

Janet and her hubby are getting ready to make a huge, massive life-changing move. They are going to Tennessee to be with their beautiful grandson.

Lisa, Carson Patrick

Lisa, Carson Patrick

Can you blame her? I certainly can’t. We all knew someday they would go south to be with their daughter, but someday came sooner than anyone expected, including them. They know better than anyone that life is short and fleeting. Why miss out of that sweet boy’s most precious years?

I know it was a hard decision for her. After all, she is thoughtful. I know she worries about me. And she worries about Dad. She doesn’t have the capacity to be selfish. I’ve done my best to reassure her we will all be fine. What I love is that I know if I asked her to stay, she would. I mean, she actually truly would. That blows my mind. It’s not like she is retiring and moving to Florida. She and her husband will still have to work full-time and they will help care for their grandson too. But she would give up where her heart aches to be if she thought it was what was best for everyone else.

I can’t imagine the void I will feel in less than two weeks. I know that we didn’t see each other as much as we would like over the last decade. The hour and 20 minute drive got the best of both of us much too often. We will do our best to stay close, but we both know things won’t be the same.

So Lovely, my deepest best wishes for the new chapter in your life. You will be missed more than you can possibly know. You have been an outstanding example for me my entire life. Your kindness, thoughtfulness, integrity, gentleness and much, much more are something I will never stop aspiring to achieve. I love you! You truly embody your nickname.


Dimes From Heaven

Happy New Year!

The day after Christmas, Matthew’s wife went into labor. At eleven minutes after midnight, my beautiful granddaughter was born.20141227_003136

I was honored to be there for it. I was reminded again that women’s bodies are AMAZING. A birth truly is nothing short of a miracle.

Matthew and his wife, Sherry have a special bond. He had just starting dating her when he lost his dad. She had already lost her mom a few years earlier. He often talks about how Sherry has helped him navigate through his loss, being the veteran that she is.

I don’t know Sherry or her family very well. But I did catch wind of the fact that the family believes when they find a dime, they know their mom is showing her presence with them. I have no idea how that got started, but I know they believe it with all their hearts.

If you were to look through Matthew and Sherry’s wedding album, you will see a photo of a dime. When Sherry and the girls were at the wedding site getting dressed, a single dime was found on the floor. The photographer was made aware of the significance and took a picture. I thought it was a lovely story, but probably somewhere inside I was skeptical. A dime is kind of common, right? Although it is not so common to find one in a fancy dressing room.

Anyhow, after the delivery of my beautiful granddaughter, Sherry’s sister and I decided it was time to go home. It was about 1:30 AM and we were tuckered out. Granted, Sherry did all the work but somehow we were also tired. We left together so we wouldn’t have to walk in the parking lot alone.

After getting to the lobby floor, we started to walk toward the door. There on the floor, was one solitary dime. Shinier than any I have ever seen.20141227_011512

Now I no longer even have a tiny ounce of skepticism. I had goose bumps from head to toe. We took a picture and texted Matthew. Her sister wanted to take the dime upstairs so we went back up. While she shared the special moment, I stood in the hall and told the nurses the story. I think they had goose bumps as well.

One shiny dime. A gift greater than a million dollars.