Sherpa, my brother and sister-in-law’s golden retriever, brought sunshine to the room (plus a lot of woofs!) She loved to greet anyone who came into the door with great barks and happy commotion—her joy of seeing you made you feel even more welcome.
I only knew my husband’s Uncle Chris for 2 ½ years, but I remember his leathery cheeks pulled up into a smile that burst with kindness. I first met him at Christmastime when Stephen took me to California to meet his family in 2014. Uncle Chris was Stephen’s Dad’s older brother who lived nearby and loved helping out and driving with us to the airport when we had to fly home.
A year after I met Uncle Chris, Stephen and I were engaged and the family put together a surprise bridal shower for us on New Years Day in 2016. That day we received the only card from him while I knew him, but I am so glad we kept it. He gave us an Amazon gift card (that we used to buy a Tiffany lamp), and he wrote us this message:
Pets bring so much joy that when one passes away, you have to go through the grieving process, just like any other loss. Cards help during those times. Here is one of my pet loss sympathy cards: See more details at: Trees of Transition Cards on Etsy. Helping family and friends through this kind of loss can mean so much.
P.S. A book that has helped me process grief is:
On Saturday I cried and thought about the Paris tragedy, and these poemy-thoughts emerged: Continue reading
This week a person I worked with on her writing reminded me of my friend Jess. Jess passed away in November of 2013, and the piece I wrote about her has been read by people all over the world (find it here: https://treesoftransition.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/saying-good-bye-to-jess-gelso-andres-processing-the-death-of-a-friend/). Writing that piece about her helped me process the suddenness of her passing. I now need to process a bit more of missing Jess.
During this transition time, these activities have helped me greatly:
The morning after I got fired, I wrote my former bosses a resignation letter because the word “fired” just seemed too painful; I wanted to control the situation and just resign. My sister-in-law, Erin, was the one who gently reminded me: “They fired you yesterday, so sending them this letter would just confuse them.” Right, that made sense.
Just writing the letter was enough (I didn’t need to send it); it helped me grapple with what I was feeling. Writing has helped me bring resolution to this situation; even just typing out a password for a job search website has helped my brain through the forgiving process.
At first I believed I could have done better and kept my job; however, looking back I see that I did the best I could. I fully jumped in and engaged the students, yes, I wasn’t perfect, but I connected and helped those high school Seniors become better writers for a month.
Over the last couple months, I have felt multiple emotions other than peace. First, when I was told I had two weeks to do even more with the students, teach better, I felt tension, but also a challenge. After working 12 hour days and doing the best I could, I felt confusion, when after those two weeks I was fired because I had not met their expectations. Crying and anger mixed with relief followed. Elation and tons of job ideas trailed by sadness and just needing to lay there and watch movies for hours have been part of my healing journey. Talking with people and finding out how many people have been fired at different parts of their lives has helped me connect deeper with humanity in general.
Each workday I would log into a job searching website and type in my password: 77forgive, and then continue on with my search. Each time I entered those job hunting passwords the forgiveness would grow toward the bosses that fired me and the pain would lessen. I just realized I also was forgiving myself for what had happened. Just seeing the word “forgive” and having to think it several times a day has really paid off by having that job episode fade peacefully into the past.
I’ve had to go through the cycle of grief in regards to losing this job. Numbness, followed by sadness and anger, mixed with a desire for revenge. As I received love and support from family and friends, I could let down and just be sad about it all and then acceptance. As this happened, I had the strength and courage to get back out there, apply for jobs, interview and land another job.
I chose to forgive from the start because I knew it was what I was supposed to do, but as I’ve daily typed in “77forgive,” my heart healed enough to forgive my old bosses and to forgive myself. I drove by my old school yesterday and felt peaceful; I give the credit for healing my heart to God (and the passwords you type every day influence you more than you think!)
By M. H. Campbell