Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Thoughts on my brother and grief

Just last night my step-mother said through the phone, “I hope you never have to go through this.” She had just witnessed her second born pass into eternity after a long fight with cancer.

The priest came to his bedside to confirm my step-brother into the Catholic faith and it was indeed all about faith. The question was asked Greg,

“Do you believe that Jesus Christ died to forgive your sins?” Greg nodded. 

That is all he could do at this point. 

But, he nodded. 

What a wonderful thing that must have been for his mother, and his wife and his brother to see. 

I am so grateful to know that. 

It’s been a struggle this week for me here in Iowa, knowing that my brother was dying in Washington. My body has been acting up. 

In a way, I've needed to make peace with God, too. And, I've needed to make peace with me.

Oh what a twisted irony! Death pulls into focus what really matters. It makes all old outdated thoughts and emotions fade away into the distance, if we let it.

It makes us focus on what is real. 
What is right in front of us. 

The sorrow, the grief bring us together in our common humanity no matter how many miles and how much life has come between us. 

No matter how.

I had prayed and hoped that Greg would be healed in this life. 

But, God, as Sovereign as He is, has chosen to heal my brother's body and soul by taking Him straight through the pearly gates to Jesus’ face.

What a glorious sight he is having right now! The throne room! 

Too many people in my family have already gone to heaven, but really, should I mourn for them?

They are the ones that are experiencing the eternal life that this body longs for. That all earthly bodies long for. They are the ones seeing Jesus’ face and glorying in the communion of saints.

They are the ones with no pain and no tears and no sorrow.

They are really the blessed ones. The ones who have gone before us.

They have paved the way into eternity for us, the ones who are left behind to miss them.

We grieve, but we are not without hope. 

We grieve, 

but we know the Way. 

We also know the Way Maker 

and He has made the way for all of us to

 enter heaven with Him for all eternity.

(I Thessalonians 4:13, John 3:16)

Praise God for Jesus who took Greg’s (and our) place and paved the way to heaven for him!

Just yesterday morning I was remembering Greg as a six-year-old, hanging on to the saddle for dear life, as his Shetland pony, Christie, ran swiftly to the end of the field! 
And. He. Did. Not. Fall. Off!

Greg and Christie

And, then Greg's horse Apache. 
I can still hear Greg saying "Apache" in his little boy voice. 
Why do I remember such things as this? 

In the end, it is only the relationships that we have with people that really matter. 

This is the time for love. 

This is the time for grace.

This is the time for peace and remembering and good memories. 

This is the time for healing. 

God’s light is in each of us who will miss the son, the brother, the daddy. 

Who is to say that the Light does not shine brighter through sorrow and death.

I believe it can. I believe it does.

I do not grieve for my brother who has gone to heaven. 

But, I grieve for his mother, his sister, his wife, his children. 

May their sorrow not be without hope. 

May their sorrow not be without peace and joy.

May the memories we have of the son, the husband, the brother, and the daddy be so joyous and precious that it will take away a little bit of the pain of losing him. 

Teen age Greg and me being Wild and Crazy Guys!

May God’s grace be so thick upon all of us that we can feel the Presence. 

The Holy Presence of God Himself. 

Greg, thanks for the happy memories, dear brother.

You will be dearly missed.

I love you.


Linking up today with Coffee for Your Heart and Three Word Wednesday


  1. my heart is drawn to you this morning as i read about losing your brother. I lost my last surviving brother 8 1/2 years ago. I am praying for you this morning. My blog came about as a result of the journaling I did as I traveled through grief. I couldn't help but notice you mention everyone's grief except your own. and I can't help but encourage you to let yourself grieve. Your grief is your own grief and cannot be compared to others who are grieving. oh how we grieve for everyone involved, but we take our own grief journey. Even I, having lost a brother do not really know what it's like, as your brother was unique to you. may you feel God's presence as you move through the days and weeks ahead.

    1. Thanks so much, Carol, for your kind thoughts and words! I know I did not mention it directly, but I do acknowledge my own grief. Yes, I do. I know it will does and will look different for each person. I appreciate your prayers! I think writing that post was cathartic for me, as I started by free writing last night right after I found out he died. Writing is so healing for me. Blessings to you! And thanks again!

  2. YOu sound like you are wise and ahead of where i was at the beginning of my journey. I am glad. yes, writing was how i journeyed through my grief and loss ..blessings

    1. I often often say to myself, "writing has saved my life." In so many ways.

  3. What a beautiful, and truly blessed perspective you have, Anne. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  4. Anne, I'm so sorry for your loss. You say you write to show, "The hard places are places where God's grace shines the brightest." His grace is shining through this piece.
    May you feel the Father's comfort in a unique way as you grieve.

    1. Thank you, Elaine! Your comment brought tears to my eyes! So kind!


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