Monday, February 21, 2011
My life has been a constant ebb and flow of drama...intrigue...humor and of course sadness. Sparky's passing was peaceful and sad yet knowing that she is having the best time on the other side of the rainbow bridge makes it a happy time too. I facilitated a two day grief workshop the weekend after Sparky departed. It was for bereaved parents whose children passed on from cancer. It was sobering to me as it always is at these retreats. But it helped me get my perspective grounded. Sparky lived to be 98...some of the children I learned about only made it to four. The newest parents to the sad little club of grievers were really raw but everyone who attended was struggling. It broke my heart to have to tell them that the holes in their hearts will never heal - they will just get used to the pain of their loss. It is a harsh truth one that I have learned first hand. I came out the other end relatively okay so I just hope I inspired them to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. That is what our kids want from us...so, if you know anyone who is grieving please give them a hug...tell them you are thinking of them... praying for them if that is your desire but please do NOT give them unsolicited advice. Be mindful of the words of encouragement you use...I heard so much anger and pain come from parents whose loved ones and friends made their pain worse by careless choices of words. Even if you have grieved the loss of a loved one - you cannot know what your friend or loved one is feeling...thinking...experiencing because each of us is an individual. We all see the world differently uniquely. Be mindful of that...
Monday, February 14, 2011
Helen "Sparky" Thelma Rassmussen Galando was my mom...not my birth mom but my mom just the same. My second mom...My sister Rita shared her with me as I shared my parents with her for most of our lifetimes. Sparky was called that because she was struck by lightning twice in one week! Can you imagine? It is funny because people always have a hard time believing it when told about it. Well, the story is extremely interesting but the part I want to share is the love she bestowed on everyone she met. She never met a stranger. And, she had the most incredibly positive outlook. Her middle years were robbed from her - spent in one mental institution or another and to hear her tell it, she was in coma for 27 years but none of that kept her down. She had the best laugh too. What a riotous sense of humor...she never complained, well, almost never. She proudly shared with everyone she met that she had been born in a tent in 1912. Yep, she lived to be 98 years old. She was coherent almost right up until the end too. She was surrounded by her loved ones and her passing was peaceful. But she won't be forgotten. I was so touched to hear her granddaughters and great grandchildren tell her how much they learned from her about not giving up and taking on challenges head-on and not taking life for granted. Those lessons will serve us all well...thankfully, my children included. They really did learn valuable lessons that most people don't get because they didn't have a Sparky in their lives. I am blessed that she was my mom and may she rest in eternal peace...her body anyway. As for her spirit, I have no doubt that she is dancing on the stars with the love of her life (Dad, Nick) and making up for lost time.