Friday, April 2, 2010


Many folks believe that grief must be processed to enable healing after a loss. I don't know if it is necessary, but I do believe it is inevitable. Ted has grieved the loss of Juanita, and it is likely that he will continue to hurt intensely for some time to come.

Juanita was Ted's first love, his only girlfriend, and his wife for 67 years. Together they endured economic upheaval and war. Together they raised four children and influenced many others through their work as teachers and his work as a high school principal. They traveled the world and enjoyed their times at home.

Ted's memory is impaired by Alzheimer's, but his memories of Juanita remain. He may be confused about exactly when she died, but the grief is still fresh each time he considers his loss. I cannot carry Ted's grief for him. What I hope to do is support him as he carries that load. The best support I can offer is listening carefully to what Ted has to say. I may offer encouragement, but it must not be advice or pious platitudes masquerading as encouragement. Listening well means that to I will experience a small part of his pain. I am greatly tempted to shield myself by spewing my thoughts and my nostrums. Resisting that temptation is a requirement if I am to serve Ted well.

May God grant me the strength.

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