She's 91 years old. Her mind left some time ago but now her frail body lays almost motionless
and I watch her slowly leaving us. It will be a miracle if she lives to see her 92nd birthday in
October. In fact, it will be a miracle if she lives much longer, period.

Those whose loved ones have dementia or Alzheimers must begin the grief process long
before the loved one dies, for they are gone from us mentally and emotionally long before the
body gives out.

Grief comes in many forms.

As I watch my grandmother now deteriorating physically, I realize the depths of my grief. But my
grief is not for her, it is for me. Grief is selfish. It's about MY loss. Once the death of her
physical body is finished, I know in my heart she faces nothing ahead but pure Joy.

HE promises. She will be welcomed with open arms into His Kingdom where other loved ones,
her husband, some of her own children and grandchildren, will welcome her with great joy,
huge smiles and strong hugs. This is what I believe. As much sorrow as I feel seeing her go,
their joy is in seeing her finally arrive!  She will truly be "home" at last.

Grief is about LOSS. It's knowing that when the funeral is over, I will never see her again in
THIS life. Grief is about FINALITY. She will be gone from us completely. Even though she's
been gone a long time mentally, she will now be gone completely. No more trips to the nursing
home; no more holding her hand and telling her how much we love her; no more bringing her
home on the weekends to see the great-great grandchildren at play; no more Sunday dinners
with Grandma.

I'm thankful that God allowed her to remain with us all these years. Grief is much harder when
a loved one is taken too soon, when a baby dies, when there is a violent accident involved, or
from murder or suicide. Grief is mathematical, for it's multiplied by the magnitude of the
circumstance or the youth of the deceased. But it's still about our "loss".

Whether there was an accident, a homicide, or if a tiny baby has gone home, we still must
remember that their JOY is now complete, for they are home at last!  There are no tears in
Heaven, only Joy.  Jesus promised this. The tears are here on earth, for our own loss. The
more we loved them while they were here, the greater our grief. Another mathematical equation.

The questions: How do we get beyond the grief? How do we live with our loss? Is there truly
life after loss?

The answers: We live, and we get beyond this,
because we loved them. AND because we
have the faith that THIS is not the ending of the story. There WILL be a reunion one day. Joy
WILL come into our life again. There IS life after our loss, but it is now our life without that
loved one actively participating in it. It's a different life, but still a life worth living.  Our reunion
will come...in time...and then OUR joy will be made complete.

You never get over your loss, for as long as you love them, you will always feel a loss of their
presence. Thus, grief. But you do get through it, and as you go through it, remember that you
never have to go through it one moment by yourself. God longs to bring you comfort and to
hold you close during your grief. He will walk through it with you and give you the strength and
the peace you so desperately need. You only have to ask Him.

How can I be so confident of this? Because I asked Him, and He has never let me down. His
promises are eternal and He never changes. His peace is beyond human understanding. His
strength has been all that has seen me through in my times of loss. And I know His love for you
is just as great.

His Promise:
For a little while you will no longer see me; but then a time will come when you WILL see me
again. Yes, it's true, you will weep and mourn for awhile. You will grieve ... but your grief will
one day turn to JOY. For I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and then, no one can
take your joy away from you!
                                                
~ John 16: 16-22 paraphrased

May God bless you and bring you Peace.


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