Page 11 - 2017 Spring-Summer Issue
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sentence. We think becoming GRGs (grandparents raising          The minute I saw them, I started to cry and noticed many
grandchildren) is the greatest blessing of our lives. Over time, wedding guests were crying too.
the four of us evolved into a “grand family” and our lives
meshed. Each of us recovered from grief in our own way.         Grief anniversaries are times of remembering. Toronto
                                                                poet Maureen Scott Harris writes about her memories in
Sonya Lott, PhD, writes about grief reconciliation/recovery “The Tenth Anniversary of Your Death.” Thoughts of the
in her article, “Finding New Meaning in Your Living After a past prove “it is not fading,” she writes. Helen and the twins
Loved One Dies,” posted on the Good Therapy website. The have not faded from our lives and we are still connected
path to integrated grief involves three convergent processes, to them. Our granddaughter works at The Salvation Army
notes Lott; accepting reality, finding new meaning in life,     headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota and is an independent
and staying bonded to the                                                                         photographer. Our
deceased. John and I went                                                                         grandson is a student at
through all three processes                                                                       The Mayo Clinic School
and life settled down for a  Similar to a highway mile marker, the                                of Medicine and will be

while. anniversary of Helen’s death was a life the third physician in our
                                                                                                  immediate family.
But crisis struck in 2013;   marker, and proved my resilience.                                    All of these experiences—
John’s aorta suddenly
dissected. He was bleeding                                                                        John’s health crisis, raising
to death and surgeons                                                                             grandchildren, multiple
operated on him three times in an attempt to stop the           losses, and Helen’s death—were part of the 10th anniversary.
bleeding. During the last operation, John suffered a spinal Similar to a highway mile marker, the anniversary of Helen’s
cord injury that paralyzed his legs. He was hospitalized for death was a life marker, and proved my resilience. I had
eight months; during this time I moved us out of the house made it this far, created a new life, and learned many things.
we had lived in for 20+ years, put the house on the market, I know I’m a strong person. I know writing is a source of
visited him three times a day, and maintained a writing         comfort and knowledge. I know giving to others helped me
career.                                                         survive tragedy. I know goal-setting is an ongoing task. I
                                                                know each moment of life is a miracle.
Our love is stronger than ever, yet I grieve for John’s
disability and its impact on our lives.                         Most important, I know I made good things from grief.

John knew he might not survive the last surgery, but was        Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 37 years, is the author of
willing to “roll the dice,” as he put it, because he wanted to  thousands of print/Internet articles, and 35 books, including seven grief
see the twins graduate from college. Although he wasn’t         resources. Now in her 19th year of caregiving, Hodgson has written a series
able to be there, he cried when he learned both twins           of four books for family caregivers. To learn more about her work please
graduated with high honors and Phi Beta Kappa. Because          visit,, or
he “rolled the dice” he was able to be in our granddaughter’s
wedding and escorted her down the aisle in his wheelchair.

         How I Found Hope ...                                                                                                         © ValentinValkov/

              I found Compassionate Friends On-Line-Chat at the worst time of my
              life, my daughter had just died suddenly. I felt the love and support in
              the chats, with others that understood, it gave me reason to Hope! I
              now am a moderator in the chat rooms and hope I can help others like
              they helped me.

                                                     Karen Gieselman, Melissa’s Mom, Holyrood, KS

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