Can anything good come from death? Good and death don’t typically come together in the same sentence. Losing someone close, for most women, is the most devastating and tragic adversity. I never want to diminish the pain, nor belittle the loss, but I can say that through time, Lemon Crushers can be overcomers, even in the face of death.
I dreamt of my mother last night.
Mom passed away nearly 5 years ago, but in my dream, she was very much alive.
I was at her home and we were working on a project. For me some dreams are fuzzy and vague while others are clear and vivid. This one was vivid. It felt very real and very in the moment.
What I remember most was how we laughed and how she smiled.
I woke up joyful and happy. Even though it was a dream, I truly felt that I was back in mom’s presence, and for that, I was grateful.
Death. Especially the death of a close friend or family member is one of the greatest adversity’s anyone can face. I know. In addition to losing my mom, I have lost other precious friends and family members, many far too soon, and the foundation of my world has been rocked because of it.
Can anything good come from death?
Today’s Lemon Crushing story is about Jenna. Jenna lost her mom at age 23 and her world came shattering down around her.
Jenna’s story: Death as a defining point in life
“The defining point in my life was when I lost my mom. I was 23.
Mom was smart, energetic, and creative. She was a strong woman and the rock of my life. Complications after surgery took her unexpectedly and far too young. Her passing sent my world into a tailspin.
Most of my 20s were a blur from that time forward. It probably took at least five years before I could meet someone and not feel the urge to share my story about losing my mother. She had been such an anchor in my life, and the intense grief and pain I experienced were difficult to bear.
Losing mom in my 20s also meant losing the events we were going to experience together. Daydreams of a wedding, and my future children, all included mom in the scene. We were going to experience these things together. It’s like my future hopes and dreams were buried along with her.”
Everything in life prepares you for the next thing
“Fast forward seven years. By age 30, I was a teacher and headed to grad school. It was at grad school where my life changed a second time. My plan was to return to the school system and use my degree in music therapy to work with students with disabilities.
While in grad school I had practicum options to pick from to further my studies and almost on a whim, I chose hospice care. My perspective was that I should stretch my experiences to cover as wide a spectrum of experiences as possible and hospice would offer that for me.
Well, from the moment I started the hospice care practicum it’s like the sky opened up and the angels sang ‘This is what you are supposed to be doing.’
It was then that it became very clear to me that everything in my life was preparing me for my next thing, even though I did not know it at the time.It was then that it became clear to me that everything in my life was preparing me for my next thing…-Jenna Click To Tweet
Working in hospice and coming alongside people during their end of life care needs was going to be my future.
My personal grief experience now became the tool that would link me in with others who were about to experience what I had. “
My loss experience now became my gift to others.
“I started out as a bereavement counselor and then became a field music therapist and today I am the director of the hospice.
I can’t imagine doing anything else with my career than end of life care and to be honest, that is shocking.
Had you asked me at age 24 if I would be spending my career dealing with death, dying, grief, and bereavement, I would I have said “Absolutely not.” I did not have the energy at that time to barely cope with myself, but, when the timing was right, this opportunity was opened for me, and I am grateful it did.
My mother was 52 when she passed. I just had my 50th birthday I am cognizant that my life today mirrored her world when she passed. I can imagine the hopes, dreams, and expectations she had as she entered her 50s. In a way, it makes me feel closer to her. I am who I am today because of who she was.”
Finding gratitude from death
Reflection: “Do you wish your adversity had never happened; or are you grateful it did?”
“I would have never asked for this life, but I am so grateful that I can serve people deeply with my skills and compassion and come alongside them as they are facing their darkest valley. Without experiencing such loss, myself, I would not be able to relate as I do. I know my experiences were (meant) to bring me to this place.”
Good can come from challenging circumstances, even death. Jenna’s story is a testament to that.
3 Ways to Cope with the Death of a Loved One
1. Be Thankful for the Gift of Love
“Grief is the price we pay for Love’Author Unknown
This is a powerful quote that reflects the pain we feel as a result of the wonderful love we shared with the person we lost. Love can be fleeting in this world and if you had the privilege of loving and being loved by another, be grateful.
You enjoyed a wonderful gift. It may not have been for a long as you desired, but for the time you had it, be thankful.
2. Live Each Day with Intention
Knowing life is fleeting, strive to live each day intentionally spreading love to those around you. Just as you experienced love from the person you lost, so you can share love with others.
Be frequent with hugs, words of encouragement, appreciation, kindness and love. No one knows tomorrow. Each one of us could be gone at anytime and with that in mind don’t live with regrets. Make the most of each day. Shower others with kindness and treat others as you want to be treated.
3. Find Purpose in Their Passing
It took Jenna 7 years to find purpose after the passing of her mother. The deep pain she experienced losing mom so young was the glue that she now uses to minister to others who are going through the grief process themselves.
Many causes and charities have been fueled through grief. I just had lunch with a young mom who lost her son at only 7 months. She has transferred her grief energy into starting a foundation to love on other young families.
Finding an activity or cause to channel your grief is a way to keep the memory of your loved one alive and purposeful. It may not diminish the loss you feel but it can add a joy in your heart as you witness others being blessed.
You can overcome anything, even the greatest loss
Again, I never want to diminish the pain of loss, but I can say that through time, Lemon Crushers can be overcomers, even in the face of death. If you have traveled the path of loss, remember that sometimes the most precious assistance you can be for others is to simply offer your shoulder for them to lean on. We are all stronger when we share the burdens of our sisters.
For more on making Lemonade Out of Lemons you would love Pearl’s book Lemon Crushers; A Working Woman’s Guide to Overcoming Adversity! There are stories about the qualities for success and overcoming your challenges. You’ll be ready to start crushing lemons after chapter one.
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