Put your left foot out ... and keep living!
© Betty Sue Eaton
That's right!  Put your left foot out, put your right foot out, and keep on getting through your
days. "Why?" you say.  Because God is still in Heaven and everything that has happened to
you is part of His plan for you. He has given you life, and if you listen to that still small voice
inside you, you can go on.

What am I talking about?  Surviving the death of a loved one whom you miss with all your heart.  
I have walked through that event more times than I care to count, but I have listened to that still
small voice within, and I know that God trusts me to go on and more ~ to share with and
encourage others who are so new to this experience that they can see no way out of this pit of
sorrow. I hope to share some insights on how I, and others, have managed to live with . . . no, in
spite of grief.

First:  Recognize that you are alive.  While there is breath in you, so there is hope.  It is hard to
look up to sunshine when all of your world is dark right now, but know that each moment you
are alive takes you one second, one minute, one day past this dreadfully hard time.

Second:  Try not to be alone now. Seek out a friend, a pastor, or a group with whom you can
open up your grief to daylight and see it for what it is: disappointment, pain, anger, fear, and so
many other emotions that your head is in a whirl at the enormity of it all.  A friend of mine who
had lost her husband, mother, stepfather and many close friends withdrew saying that she could
not face yet another death of a loved one. She had sat with each one as they, in turn, sickened
and died leaving her desolate of hope. I advised her to open the blinds she said she hadn't
opened in two weeks. I helped her see that she was a ray of hope and sunshine as each of her
friends and family members clung to the last bit of life and they counted on her every day for
strength.  Maybe that was God's gift to her:  To be a pillar of hope to the hopeless in their hour
of need.

She lived over a thousand miles from me yet she reached out in her desperation for comfort in
her grief.  So can you. Distance is no barrier to love when it is the only thing that can make you
feel as though there truly is a reason for you to go on.

Third:  Make every effort to keep your schedule of daily activities that you had before the loss of
your loved one.  A change of routine is a terrible burden to adapt to when you're trying so hard
to adapt to one of life's greatest changes:  Life without a partner, a parent, a child, a valued
friend.  Your routine can give you safe haven and another step toward recovery from grief.  It
may be difficult at first to concentrate on what needs to be done at work, at school, at a
volunteer position, but remember, others are still depending on you to be there and carry on.  
Each day will take you one day farther down the road to recovery from the shock of grief.

Fourth:  Live in the moment. When you feel the exquisite ache of heartbreak, allow yourself to
feel it intensely for the moment, then go on. When you are at work, concentrate in the moment.  
If you still want to grieve, know that you can do so after your responsibility is completed there.  
When friends call or come over, let them lead and be in that moment with them. They are trying
to help you survive the only way they know how.  Allow them to do that. There are wonderful,
caring people who love you who will be there with and for you if you let them.

Fifth:  Find something that you can focus on so intently that all that exists for the few minutes or
an hour, or a day is the project at hand.  Dr. Roll May, noted psychologist, wrote in his book,
"The Will To Create", in the '70's, that when one is in a 'creative flow', time ceases to exist and
all that exists is the act of creating something of beauty, be it writing, crafting, cooking, or
worshipping God, as another friend of mine did.

When my son died of cancer in 1995, my act of creating was stained glass work. When I felt
overwhelmingly sad, I would go into my glass workshop and sketch panels that I could make of
beautiful colored glass, then execute them to hang in my windows. Each time I looked at their
beauty and the sun through amazing colors, I thanked God for the talent to create them and that
it allowed me to escape a reality that I could not change, for I was in complete control of the
creations and the outcome of them. The glass panels not only gave me release from grief for a
brief time, they were a source of enjoyment for my family and as gifts to friends, they were
objects of expressed friendship. So in creating, I not only helped myself, I consciously helped
others.

As you visit and read Ferna Lary Mills' beautiful writings at Rainbow Faith, you can understand
creative flow as she found her release from grief through trying to help others. Thousands have
received a special blessing from her heartbroken words. They have touched me so deeply that
at her invitation, I have become an Associate at Rainbow Faith.

Although not everyone has a special writing or glass working talent or even a desire, each
person does have a special interest which could be utilized in times of deep grieving to find
release for a time. There are many other ways I could include in this short column about how to
survive one moment, one hour, one day at a time until one day, you realize that you have
survived this most harsh life-changing event and are actually living again. In the end, you will
realize that you are stronger, more empathetic to those around you, and more appreciative of
those you still have and love even more the one you had to release to God's care.


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