Nurture the Living!!
by Cathy Powers, Author of SUSTAINING POWERS: Rising Above Grief and Loss
Which is More Important?
What if you had two fruit trees and one of them died? Would you continue to nurture them both? You had personally devoted many years loving, caring for, and shaping these amazing fruit trees! You looked forward to watching both trees produce beautiful fruit for many years. But, one tree has died. Would this change your plans for the future?
When the first tree died unexpectedly, would you find a way to accept your painful loss and then give 100% of your time and resources to the tree left living? Or, would you insist on spending the rest of your days giving half (50%) of your time and resources to each, the living and the dead tree? I think we can all agree it would be foolish to continue taking care of the dead tree. So, let’s take it to a deeper level.
What if one of your two children died? Would you continue to nurture them both? Why is it that when a loved one passes away, it’s so hard for you and I to accept the loss? Why do we struggle to let them go? Once a person dies, is there anything we can do to bring our loved one back? The answer is no. So, if we are capable of realizing that taking care of a dead tree is pointless, why do we not arrive at the same conclusion about a loved member of the family who has died?
Since the beginning of time, we are all appointed a day and hour to pass from this life. Not one of us can escape death. Yet when death comes, and especially when it is unexpected and our loved one seemed to have many years left to live, many of us insist on carrying the dead around with us for the rest of our lives, showing them off to anyone who will let us, and not focusing on the loved ones still living.
Our living loved ones deserve our time and attention.
As a grieving mother, who has lost a precious adult child far too early, I now share that I wish I’d had the capacity to see this truth earlier—that our living loved ones need, deserve, and want our time and attention—as clearly as I see it now. I wish I could go back and give my daughter 100% of my “Momma heart” instead of the 50% I gave her, thinking that the other 50% of my time and attention still belonged to her big brother no longer living.
It’s been quite a challenge for me to learn how to better balance my grief journey, staying present and continuing to walk forward in this life without my son. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and loving daughter, who both deserve to have me whole and as healthy as possible on a daily basis.
Taking time to honor and remember our loved ones is healthy.
Just because my son, who was serving his country, has passed away from this world does not mean that I should move on, forget him, or quit sharing my wonderful memories of his life. My memories of him will always be with me, and I believe it’s healthy to share his life stories, in moderation, with others willing to listen. As long as I live, I will set aside special time to honor and remember him, and I will continue to love him always, knowing I will one day see his beautiful smiling face again. This, more than anything else, brings me great joy and peace.
What is one of the things you are willing to do for the living around you?
Sowing into people’s lives can be as simple as a smile, being a good listener, donating something you no longer use, or want to keep, to a charity. Or, be kind to someone expecting nothing in return. What are you willing to do for the living around you?