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Staying Connected through the Loss

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Staying Connected through the Loss p

When I was in elementary school, we lived in a small Texas town without a Presbyterian church so we attended the Methodist. If I was exposed to any theology, I don’t remember it—except for recalling one Sunday School teacher who alluded to the dangers of backsliding. I must have expressed a lack of interest in the concept because my usually gentle teacher said with an edge to her voice, “Maybe you should think more about being saved, Donna Sue.”

“No,” I answered. “I don’t need to. Mother will die before I do and she will be in heaven. If they won’t let me in, she’ll talk to God about it. I’ll be okay.”

That early certainty of Mom’s ultimate destination, and my conviction that her love for me would keep me safe, did not diminish much for me over the years. I told her a few months before she died about this Sunday School exchange, only half-laughing at my younger self. She listened and smiled. She did not contradict me.

E

The family Christmas celebration in 1997 was at my house, and we have a videotape of Mother recounting early family history, recalling

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photo gallery

Donna S. Davenport University of North Texas Press PDF
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Suggested Further Reading

Donna S. Davenport University of North Texas Press PDF

Suggested Further Reading

Grief—Overview

Coping with Loss—Nolen-Hoeksema, S. & Davis, C.G. (1999) Mahwah,

NJ: Erlbaum.

How To Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies—Therese Rando(1991)

NY: Doubleday.

I Can’t Stop Crying—John Martin & Frank Ferris (1992) CT: Firefly

Books.

Making Loss Matter—Rabbi David Wolpe (2000) NJ: Penguin Putnam.

Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss—Robert Neimeyer, ed. (2001) Washington D.C.: APA Press

Mending the Torn Fabric—Brabant, Sarah (1996) Amityville, NY:

Baywood.

No Time for Good-byes—Janice Lord (2000) CA: Pathfinder.

Parting Company—Cynthia Pearson and Margaret Stubbs (1999) WA:

Seal Press.

A Path Through Loss—Nancy Reeves(2001) Canada: Northstone.

Roses in December—Marilyn Heavlin (1998) OR: Harvest House.

Understanding Grief—Alan Wolfelt (1992) NY: Taylor & Francis.

Self-Help—Midilife Loss of Parent

African-American Daughters and Elderly Mothers—Sharon Smith(1998)

CT: Garland.

Coping When a Parent Dies—Janet Grosshandler-Smith (1995) NY:

Rosen.

Fading Away—Betty Davies, Joanne Reimer, Pamela Brown, & Nola

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Family Tree

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Post-Bereavement Grief

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Post-Bereavement Grief p

And so, wherever I go and wherever you go, the ground between us will always be holy ground. quoted by Henri Nouwen

So what, after all, does death take away, and what do you get to keep? Clearly, when a loved one dies, we have to give up the physical presence, and all that entails, of the deceased. We have known this all along, of course, but the totality of the experience is still a shock when it happens—and it is not comprehended all at once, but is usually realized progressively over time. He or she will not be there for birthdays anymore, or to exchange thoughts and feelings and hugs with, or to check out memories with. We will not see their faces again, or hear their laughter, or prepare a holiday meal with them. The physical reality of the person, which up until now we had always associated with who they were, will be gone. Giving up this earthly connection is usually very painful for us; acclimating to the world without the physical presence of the loved one is both the cause and the function of grief.

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