Because my grandfather’s funeral was two days before school started, my parents arranged for us to stay with friends while they traveled half way across the country for the gathering. Because my other grandparents lived into their 90’s, I grew up never having attended a funeral. I did not have to deal with death, funerals and grief until after I in my 20’s and married.
Because of that lack of dealing with bereavement, I was unsure of what to do when someone had a loss of a loved one. I felt awkward and ill at ease even approaching someone experiencing grief. Even when my parents died, I had mixed emotions. Dad had suffered with cancer and his death brought an end to his suffering. Mom had dementia and in those end stages, she was not the mom that I knew and she was totally dependent on others for her care and essentially, her life. But when our daughter died, it was total devastation for me.
Because we had friends who came and modeled the way to walk along side of someone who is in the throes of grief, I learned ways in which a person can be helped and supported. I learned that talking with the grieving person about their loved one is one of the most valuable ways to show compassion.
Because of my past reticence to deal with death, I was still unsure how I would approach a grieving person. Would I call on the phone and ask to come over? Would I invite them to my house or out for coffee? Would I drop in on them? Somehow, none of those options felt right. At the viewing, Tracie said that she had a gift bag to bring over, and we were welcome to have her bring it in or she could leave it on our doorstep and we wouldn’t have to interact if we weren’t ready.
Because I saw that the gift bag was the reason, the purpose for making the house call, I became inspired to help others companion a grieving person. I also wanted to do something to commemorate our Lisa. Lisa was a very loving and caring person, often writing notes, letters and emails of support to family and friends on good occasions and difficult circumstances. It was not hard to connect the implementation of a grief gift bag and a way to commemorate Lisa.
Because I have such good friends and family, they gathered around and we formed a group that would help to make the grief bags a reality. They each had different skills to offer—a lawyer, a financial advisor, an artist, business owners and a webmaster to name a few. We brainstormed what the bag should look like, designed a logo and decided on items to go in the bag. Thus, Lisa’s Legacy was launched.
Because I like to reflect back on my life and contemplate all of the aforementioned events, it makes me wonder about things. I wonder if those life events were a part of a big plan for my life or if it was all just happenstance. Were people put in my life to walk along side of me with all of this? How do I continue to move forward with the Lisa's Legacy efforts? My answer for right now is that I will trust God to lead and guide me and hope that I am continuing down a positive path.