grief and loss

Nana with Sunflowers

Posing with my Nana in her backyard in the mid-90’s. 

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Some days it’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since I held my Nana’s hand for the last time.

Other days it feels like a lifetime and I think,

Has it really only been a year since I last heard her joyful belly laugh?

In the past year, I have had moments of beautiful, lucid connection with her, where I feel as though we are conversing in a sweet new love language.

(I’ve written about this previously: seeing songbirds // is it a sign?)

Nana and Linda

Nana snuggling with my Auntie Linda in 2015.

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Other times, the pain of grief literally takes my breath away.

Like the time last fall when I was leaving a meeting in my grandparents’ town.

It was a bright sunny day, my windows were open and my radio was on. I was stopped at a red light about to cross the street to get on the highway towards home when my brain innocently said:

Wait! It’s only 2 o’clock. You don’t have to pick up the kids today. This is a perfect time to visit Nana.

I reached down and clicked on my left blinker with the most peaceful feeling in my heart.

And then, as I sat there with a smile on my face, waiting for the light to change, reality punched me in the gut.

Oh my God. How could you forget? She’s not there, Erin. She’s gone.

And tears that required me to pull over, knowing it wasn’t safe to drive, poured out.

Nana - bw

My Nana in 1944.

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There was another time, not too long ago, when a customer named Thelma marched into the cafe where I work and I could barely keep myself composed.

Thelma was full of joy and life and chatted enthusiastically with everyone in line and then with me when she arrived at my register.

As I took her order and listened to her stories, my eyes welled up with tears.

Oh my goodness, what a spitfire, I thought.

Which immediately took me back to the long days and nights in multiple hospitals and nursing homes as my vibrant, spunky, beloved Nana — who fell and hit her head while getting her newspaper one morning — went from living independently, driving, and doing her own grocery shopping to being on Hospice Care in a matter of months.

Even towards the end when my Nana’s body had started to shut down, the doctors and nurses were amazed by her positive attitude, quick wit and ability to deliver a perfectly timed joke.

Rev. Erin Goodman - Rhode Island - Nana

Reading prayers and singing church hymns to my Nana, April, 2016.

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My grandmother wore many hats in her lifetime. She was a slight woman, barely 100 pounds soaking wet, we often said, but always — right up until the end — she was a spitfire.

And she is deeply missed by all on this earth who were blessed to be loved by her.

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moments and milestones

by eringoodman on February 9, 2017

in grief and loss, recovery, self-care

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Today was a challenging day, in a challenging week, in a challenging month, in what has been a very challenging stretch of years in my personal life.

And, without going into details, I want to pause to witness and honor myself for showing up every single day as the very best version of myself that I can be, for keeping my chin up and my heart open, for doing the work, for loving fiercely and tenderly, for cussing and crying (and working out hard) when I need to, for taking my meds each morning religiously, and for actively, consciously, mindfully, whole-heartedly choosing to stay on the path of Recovery.

Three years, 5 months and counting…

Amen. Blessed Be. And so it is.

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seeing songbirds // is it a sign?

by eringoodman on December 10, 2016

in grief and loss, mindful moments, nature

Birds nest

 

Yesterday on the way to school, my children and I had a soft, meandering conversation about Angels and the concept of “seeing signs.”

We talked about how some people believe that the Spirit world communicates with us through little synchronicities that feel too magical to be random. And some people do not believe this.

Neither perception is right or wrong. They are just different.

In my 42 years on this beautiful Earth, I have had seasons of holding each belief, and seasons where everything felt so confusing that I really didn’t know what I believed.

A few weeks ago someone special, whose guidance I trust and actively seek, told me she felt my Nana, who passed this spring, was sending her love and blessings to me through songbirds.

Whether or not this is “true” almost doesn’t matter to me.

Since that day I have been having a joy-filled game of hide-and-seek with my Nana.

And I love that, in the middle of running everyday errands, a simple sight like this stops me in my tracks, opens my heart, and helps me feel connected to her.

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Are you grieving this holiday season as my family and I are? Last month I recorded an interview with my friend and ministry mentor, Rev. Sue Koehler-Arsenault on Grief, Loss and Getting Through the Holidays. You can watch it HERE. Much love to you. ~Rev. Erin

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