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“grief is like labor” revisited one year later March 14, 2007

Posted by guinever in christianity, grief, healing, loss.

As the two year anniversary of my daughter’s death quickly approaches, friends and family have been asking me how I’m doing. Some wonder how I will spend March 22–do I want the women to surround me again in prayer at the cemetery followed by brunch at my house like we did last year?

Others ask if the second year is easier than the first one. A year ago, I compared my grief to labor and I said that grief can be overwhelming just like transition during labor can be overwhelming and I said that this transition will end.

So has my transition in grief ended? I would have to say that this approaching Spring is much easier than last year’s February and March. A year ago, it seemed like I had to force myself to put one foot in front of the other. I was walking around numb, dreading Abby’s upcoming birthday, upcoming heaven day, upcoming Easter. I felt nauseous all the time. Parts are difficult, of course, but this year, I have none of the dread.

I am reflecting on my 2 years with her and my two years without her. Yesterday, I read the journal I kept after her death. I don’t think I opened it since the day I stopped writing in it about 8 months after she died. The last couple entries are cynical; I had forgotten I felt that way. I’m paging through her photo album more often. I’m reading letters and cards that people sent me the first year.

Instead of my grief being tied to a certain day or the approach of certain days, it is just there. The reality of her absence is just here all the time. I look at my four children and think that there are five, there should be five, there are five. But one is missing. Always missing. There will always be that gaping hole between my second and fourth child because the third has slipped from this life into eternity.

As I reflect on where I was a year ago and where I am now, I am pleased at the healing I see. I am in a new transition.



1. dsimple - March 14, 2007

My mother passed away several years ago (actually it’s closer to ten years … where did the time go?). Anyway, I could relate to so much of what you shared in this post and your earlier one about grief being like labor. Such a true analogy. Thank you for sharing your heart and your grief in these webpages. I’m sure your openness will bless and minister to many others.

I’m currently dealing with an odd sort of grief. My husband of nearly 30 years was diagnosed with a fatal, untreatable degenerative brain disorder. Due to impulse control problems and symptoms that make him dangerous, he’s no longer able to live with me and our three children. Almost overnight I became a single mom of three teenagers with a dying husband. It’s been quite a journey through all the changes and losses and on-going griefs.

I hear frequently from readers of my blog that it helps them to read my story … it gives them encouragement to keep on plugging away at their lives, even when things are rough and the path ahead of them is dark. I’m certain that your blog is encouraging others in the same sorts of ways.

Blessings to you …



2. Missy - July 27, 2007

Today is the 1 year anniversary of losing my Mom. I woke up, felt like a robot; took a shower, got my daughter breakfast, put on my makeup…I was just waiting for some huge ‘thing’ to happen, like a tidal wave of pain. But none of that happened, I think because all of my days since her passing, a little of that pain was with me every day, and it’s just there, following me like a shadow. I put on all of her favorite songs today, looked at her online memeorial I made, received calls from family….the usual question, “how are you doing today?”. Same as yesterday,and the day before, just a little more sad to come to the realization, that I wont be saying she just passed away, or a few months ago, now I’m in the group that has to say, “a year ago”, and that means a year since I spoke to her, a year since I hugged her, smelled her hair, heard her laugh, and so on. To me, it means that I’ll have to hold on tighter to my memories of her, because time is moving forward, and my Mom’s not here for the trip. She’ll have hitch a ride in my heart.


shannon - July 20, 2009

Wow, that is so true, my mom has one hat left from my stepfather who passed away a year ago next week that she says has his smell!


3. liz saunders - September 17, 2008

my husband phil died this morning one year ago on holiday in a beautiful place in greece,we were so very happy and then nothing i have been numb for a year and today has brought it all back,i miss the man i was married to for forty years,we were celebrating all our 60 birthdays,our ruby anniversary and then the lights went out for him,i will love him for ever and writing this down helps me how do you get over it, by remembering the wonderful years we had,shared three children,a dog and a cat all of lifes ups and downs me with breast cancer,two hip replacements,but we stayed together through thick and thin,i love you so much.,i would give anything to have you back………

Dear Liz,
I’m so sorry that your husband is gone. It sounds like you loved him very much, will always love him. You’ll always miss him…~blessings and prayers, Guinever


4. sara b noren - October 13, 2008

sara noren oct 12, 2008
i lost my son 2 years ago today. i thought i was doing so much better with grief, but today has been very, very difficult. i can’t stop crying. my husband is also very emotional, but he is angry, lately with me. my father is very ill with congestive heart failure, and my siblings and I are trying to be there for him. i hope tomorrow will be better. grief makes everything hurt so much more.

I’m so sorry that you lost your son. Anniversary of the death date can be harder than other days. I think that grief lessens with time, doesn’t go away, just lessens.
Peace and hugs, Guinever


5. Bev - January 22, 2009

My beautiful Mum passed away 2 years ago – I am finding it harder to deal with today as I realise how much I miss her and want her back desperately. The days are slow and sometimes I feel really angry and don’t know quite how to deal with it. Doctors are very reticent to discuss her death with me and I have been unable to talk to anyone about how badly I would give anything to have her back with me (she lived with us for 7mths before she died) and I feel angry I didn’t get the 5 years I was told we would have. I still find it hard to talk about and burst into tears often and without warning.


6. Jane - February 18, 2009

I lost my best friend 1yr & 3mths ago. I was 24. It was a few days before my birthday and she had just turned 25. It was sudden. It’s still sudden. It all still suddenly hits me that she’s gone. I feel totally, completely, empty and lost without her. I feel like the majority of my life didn’t happen because there’s nobody around for me to reminisce with. There was only us.
The thing is, I find myself ignoring my pain and avoiding reading the letters and cards. I’m afraid of the realisation hitting me again and I’m afraid of remember the things I did after she died that I feel embaressed about now, such as the uncontrolable sobbing in inappropriate places.
Over a year on…I don’t know how this healing works. I don’t know where I’m going to go from her. I know I need a friend to lean on. The one I need to lean on is gone. I hope guidance can come at me from somewhere. Anywhere. This is really hard.


Sharon - May 28, 2009

Hi Jane,
I just read your post and wonder how you are doing lately?? It’s a tough period of time- I lost my dad a year ago- and I understand so much of what your feeling. I have found that the uncontrollable sobbing does get less, thank goodness. It is embarrassing but you just can’t stop it!!! I have a couple of good friends who have been through this and found it really easy to talk to them about it. They keep telling me all the emotions that I feel are normal and part of the grieving process. Counselling is also good. I hope you are keeping well, and have found some peace in all of your struggles.
Take good care


AnnE - August 19, 2009

Hi Jane,

Your posting speaks to me. I am 26 and I lost my 25 year old best friend one year ago today to a reckless boyfriend and a car crash. I brought a picture of us and a bandanna that still smells like her to work with me today. I cried in front of an unsuspecting coworker, I hope he understood. Tomorrow I am going on a hike with my dog to the place she loved most. I am still completely devastated but amazed that I keep putting one foot in front of another. If you want to drop me a line, feel free to do so. Hang in there.


dina - September 20, 2009

my best friend was murdered 8 years ago.i had so many nights just sobbing my heart out.when my husband would go to bed-i would use that time for my greif sessions.8 years later,it still hurts like crazy but the gigantic hole is getting smaller.i still have ‘bad nights’ but i welcome them because it’s like a cleansing fot my whole body,heart and soul.i know i will never forget her and am just happy to have known and loved her.one day at a time.embrace her memory-she will always be a part of you.and it will get easier.


7. rose - May 7, 2009

I also lost my soul mate, 2 years and 4 months. It was sudden. It is mothers day soon and I have this empty feeling. I’m off to see my mother with my sister. I love all my family and we are very close. I feel like my sister is making me feel guilty because I want to visit my best friends grieving mother and my best friends grieving 3 and half year old daughter whos middle name is named after me. I feel so stuck between a rock and a hard place. I could not live if I lost anyone else. It took me ten years to get though the loss of my only grandparent, mum’s mum. And my dad has loss too. My friends mother calls it the grief club. your in it by your self but it has millions of members.


8. Sharon - May 21, 2009

It is getting close to the one year anniversary of my dad’s passing. I have found in the past week- that sometimes I am angry, sad,and very lonely for him. I guess it really triggers all the memories of his illness, and all the good memories we shared together. I really wish he was still here- as I feel a huge void in our family still. We try to go on everyday as we promised him we would- but man it is tough. I am relying on my faith immensely and hope to get through the next 2 weeks ok. Thanks for all of the sharing it has sure helped. Just knowing that what I am feeling is somewhat normal- makes me feel stronger somehow. Peace be with you all!!


9. Stacy - March 27, 2010

My brother was suddenly killed almost two years ago. The past two years have almost seemed like a blur. I feel like the past two years have been spent going through the motions. I am still so desperate to see his face, and hear his amazing laugh. I still find myself crying alot…uncontroling and exhausting crying sessions are frequent. Night time is the hardest, as I am alone and it is so quiet. It doesn’t feel like two years have passed. I have great friends and family who have been supportive but, naturally they are moving on with life while I still feel stuck. It makes me so angry sometimes, I know it’s not right, but it just is. Then again, I’m just angry in general. When I see others moving ahead it hurts. My little brother, my friend, my other half, gone in seconds. Two years hasn’t been enough time, not for me. I am still so sad.


10. Shannon - April 12, 2010

I lost the father of my child almost a year ago. It will be a year in June. Today I sit here and read these post, and I am amazed at how powerful the sting and hurt is still. I wake up every morning and still the first thought I have is how he is gone. My son was only 15 months old when his father died suddenly. We just celebrated my son’s second birthday, which was difficult for me. The day so busy that it kinda just rolled by, but a few days later it just hit me like a ton of bricks and I fell apart. I have a couple months left until the one year anniversery, since he had gotten cremated, I want to do something special like plant a special tree somewhere nice to take my son back every year and spend sometime talking with dad.


11. ashley - September 9, 2010

this kinda gives me hope in knowing next year may not be as hard today is the year mark of my only daughter’s death i can’t sleep and it just hurts so much


12. Beverley - October 17, 2010

October 15th

I am new to this site but I really do with some support. I married the love of my life tony in august 28, 6 weeks later he died from liver cancer,
A year after that mum died after a long illness. i have 3 adorable kids 25,23,18 but they are getting cross with me, it takes all my effort to get up and go to work. Evenings and weekends I am shattered and some weekends i dont even get out of bed, I just miss him so much I am 48 and I feel my life, life without tony is too much to beare


guinever - October 17, 2010

I am so sorry that both your mom and your husband are gone…that must be so hard for you. Perhaps you can find a grief support group in your church or community so you can connect with other people going through the same thing.
~peace, Guinever


13. Jenni - October 18, 2010

I lost my dad 2 years ago on the 16th November. I was 23 and 6 months pregnant with my second child. My dad was only 50, he had just had a heart bypass to better his life, then he was diagnosed with cancer and died 5 weeks later. I became the rock of the family and stepped up to ‘sort’ everything out. In a way mine and my mum’s roles were reversed and I became her parent. My mum is finally starting to come out of her shell again but, unexpectedly, I have started getting upset at every little thing, crying every night. I miss my dad so much, we were very close. The longer the time passes, the more I miss him. I hate the thought of life moving on without him. Everyday I see my kids grow up and I just think about what their grandad is missing out on. It’s breaking my heart. I thought it would get easier with time. I don’t want to talk to my family about it because they seem to be doing really well and finally moving on. Also I’ve found that 2 years down the line, ‘society’ seems to have this pre-conceived idea that you should be over it by now.


guinever - October 18, 2010

I’m so sorry that your dad is gone. It sounds like you were taking care of everyone else for awhile and didn’t take the time to grieve, so now you are going back and are experiencing early grief since you didn’t do that the first year.

That’s OK. Don’t let anyone else put you on a timetable. Hold your memories close. It is quite possible that your other family members haven’t “moved on” as much as you think they have. I think everyone tries to put on a good front at times….hope it gets better for you.

(((hugs))) Guinever


14. Tyra - January 18, 2011

Hello… I feel so much better that I have found a place where I can tell someone about my heartache. My moms anniversary (the day I lost her) will be coming up really soon. The past few days I was feeling ok but the quicker I see the day coming upon me the more upset I am getting, then last night I had a dream with her and my dad in it. My dad has also past away… In my dream when I would look at her it just felt like to me she had come back to me – was alive again, I was afraid of something and it made me keep a distance from my beloved mom. Then my dad whispered to me that it was hurting my moms feelings. At that point I made myself wake up. Now the dream is haunting me, making me hurt, making me cry. I’m not sure what I should do with these feelings. I can only do what I have been doing all year and that is give my future life to Jesus and God’s hands. And stay on the path of living my life one day at a time. And try to look forward to the future…


15. caligirl - February 11, 2011

thanks for sharing, everybody. it’s coming up on the 1st year ‘anniversary’ of my father’s death (he died in the hospital of complications from lung cancer on 2/20/10). we were in the room when he took his last breath, and i’ll never forget the sadness of that day. the pain has been intense, even excruciating at times throughout this past year. i miss him, and gradually learning to live and love without him.


16. sarah williams - March 17, 2012

I too am coming up on a two year “home going” of my 27 year old son, then my sister 4 days later and my brother 23 days later..I have had some real emotional days the last few days…it is like the relization is really hitting me…my son had a baby boy born after he passed and also left behind a 7 year old daughter…I grieve for my grandchildren whom will never have their father… know my son is in Heaven and would never want to come back, but the grieving is still there…the first year it was as if I handled things for my other two grown sons and now I have to grieve…I thank God that he is there for me to call on when I need him


17. Heartbroken - December 18, 2012

I stumbled onto your page when i was searching for answers to see if what i’m feeling is the new normal. Our 1 year anniversary of loosing our babies (Leah and Jesse) is only 3 days away now. I feel myself reliving everything over again. The feelings of sadness, anger, and joy are all coming full force as the 21st gets closer. I thought that I was doing better, being able to be around children again and other women that are expecting without crying even though it still rips a piece of my heart out. But this week I can’t hold back the uncontrolable tears, all of my friends have babies not even a year old yet. We were all due somewhere around the same time. Watching them grow has been wonderful but sad all at the same time. I watch my children grow through them, knowing that mine would be walking now too or saying mama and dada. To others its been a year so i should be moving on, but to me it feels like it was just yesterday that i held my son and daughter in my arms and said goodbye all at the same time. The past year has been a rollercoaster just waitng for emotions to slow down, then you climb and you know that once you get to the top, here we go again all the way down. I miss and love my babies so much. I would give anything just to be able to hold them again. But until then I breath and put one foot in front of the other. Knowing that they are happy and in Jesus’s arms and that one day I will be with them and never have to say goodbye again is what gets me through. HE is my strength!!


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