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Give Grace

My brother, Larry, lost his valiant 2-month battle with cancer early this morning. I was fortunate enough to be there when he passed. Hearing his wife visually walk him “home” to heaven where other friends and relatives eagerly awaited his arrival and seeing how that led him to his peaceful final breath was something I will never forget. I feel very privileged to have witnessed the moments I have in the past 24 hours.

My brother was a good man. Most importantly, he was the most amazing father and helped to raise 3 incredible kids. My heart aches in ways I didn’t know possible seeing his kids try to grasp the reality of this loss. There will be a void there that can never be replaced. As a mom, we want to shelter our kids from hurt. Knowing that there is nothing any of us can do to take this hurt away is almost unbearable.

Larry was out of the house by the time I was born, so needless to say we had a different relationship. It wasn’t a typical brother / sister relationship I guess, but honestly… I don’t know what is typical anymore. Yes, I reached out more in the past two months to Larry than I ever have before. I imagine he would have done the same thing had the tables been turned. When you are faced with a loved one dying, I can only think that is the natural thing to do.

You might expect my message to everyone out there is to hold on tight, give more and don’t let time get between you and a loved one… and although I think that is extremely important, I have an even bigger message I want to share.

Plain and simple, give grace. Give grace and accept each other for what you are. I know in the end my brother and I were accepting and at peace with our relationship. No, it wasn’t a perfect relationship. We have faults, we’ve both made plenty of mistakes over the years however as my friend Wendy so eloquently put in a recent blog post:

“And I pondered how life isn’t perfect. How I’m not perfect. How those I love aren’t perfect. But how loving them…fully loving them warts and all…is somehow perfect, especially when faced with the possibility of not having them.”

As you are contemplating your own relationships… your own life with your friends and family, please take a moment to forgive and give a stretch of grace to those who haven’t lived up to your expectations. In our heart of hearts I know that we are all simply doing the very best we can.

I have a greater appreciation for my brothers and sisters, my parents and the rest of my family because of going through this. We’ve opened up and had conversations with each other that very well might not have happened otherwise. We’ve loved, laughed, cried and most importantly, we have forgiven. I hope you will reach out to the ones you love and do the same.

I am touched and humbled by the outpouring of love from all of you. It has lifted me up in a time full of sorrow. I can’t begin to express my gratitude in a way that will convey how much it has meant to me. Thank you…I feel so blessed.

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Comments

  1. Praying for you and your family dear Kristen. Such a beautiful tribute.

  2. We love you, Kristen. This is a beautiful tribute. I’m keeping yours and Jennie’s family in my prayers. Take care, friend.

  3. oh friend.
    beautiful words. I’m sorry for your family’s loss.
    prayers, peace and love.

    Thank you for the message and reminder <3

  4. Sorry for your loss. You are so right. No one is perfect and we need to love each other as we are because God does. He is so full of grace and forgiveness and we need to be the same way. Praying God’s peace for you and your family.

  5. Kristen, I am keeping you and your family in my prayers for as long as you need them. I’m so glad to know that Heaven has more great company. R.I.P. Larry… and say hi to my Daddy for me!

  6. That is such a touching tribute Karen! Sending good vibes and positive thoughts your way. No words can help share your grief but will be keeping you and your family in prayers! God Bless!

  7. You have written some powerful words – words that I will take to heart. I am so so sorry for your loss – I have been there all too often in the last year with the death of my husband, brother, brother-in-law, good friend, and just this week, an aunt. I try to find the brightness amid all the darkness and I hope you will too. Your wise reflections make me think you have already begun to do so, are just another blessing to me amid all the sorrows.

  8. Kristen, I’m praying for you daily, and wishing you peace in this time of healing. Please, if you need anything, I’m right down the road. I’d be MORE than happy to come.

  9. Jennifer Mullinax says:

    Oh Kristen..you my dear have a BEAUTIFUL way with words. From the moment I met you one of the things I’ve admired in you is your perspective on the world your ability to brighten a room with just a few words. Your perspective on the loss of Larry is beautiful…your tribute and your advice was perfect. I know I for one will be giving more Grace to those in my life!! Hugs to you my friend!!
    Jen

  10. Kristen, you speak such beautiful truth.
    Grace…yes.

  11. Kristen,
    I am so sorry for your loss. It is hard to offer comfort ‘virtually’.
    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece at a time when sharing is not
    always the easiest thing to do.
    Stay strong. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Móna

  12. This is so beautiful, Kristin, and truly makes me think about a lot of grace and some forgiveness that I need to be ready to give.

    I’m so terribly sorry for your loss, and for your entire family. You are grace personified, my friend. Thank you for being a bright light for us all to follow.

  13. Beautiful words, and so true. So often, there is so much guilt wrapped up in watching a family member die. Thank you for showing us the possibility that guilt is unnecessary; would that we all have the grace to know that as truth.

    Sending you much love and light, Kristen.

  14. Dear Kristen,
    My heart is full of your words and the thought of your own grace is so very uplifting. I send you my wishes for love and light, peace and comfort and the gratitude of one whose heart is touched by what you share here.
    (hugs)
    Gabi

  15. Sending your family much love during your time of need.

  16. I am here for you whenever you need me. I think your sister in law is a very special and strong person to have done what she did. My mom did it for my grandma and brother and I am in awe of that strength. You are *that* strong Kristen. More importantly you have us to give you more love than you think there is in this world.
    Love you babe.

  17. Your words are beautiful Kristen. Your brother will always be watching down on you. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. xo

  18. Kristen, It’s never easy saying good-bye even though it is the one inevitability of life.
    I was able to say good-bye to my mother when ALS took her in 2008. I got her very last hug and in her suffering, comforted me while I cried on her breast one last time.
    Larry is finally free of pain and sickness, the pain is for those who remain for a time.
    I send you blessing and strength, light, hope and comfort. Most of all I send you peace. May it shine a light on you in all things.

    Tara

  19. I’m so sorry for your loss Kristen, but your message is beautiful.

  20. Praying for you and your family.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] so many mixed emotions, from joy, to sympathy, to love and community, to frustration and back to sympathy [...]

  2. [...] is for Jennie, for Mikey, for their daughters, for my friend Kristen at Dine & Dish who lost her brother two nights ago. It is for everyone else who has loved and lost and struggled [...]

  3. [...] was stunned to hear Jennie’s tragic unexpected loss of her husband. And just a few days ago Kristen from Dine and Dish lost her brother. In times like this I really stop and value just how lucky I am, and appreciate the little things [...]

  4. [...] saying that, because I know some of you are dealing with things that are so much harder, things that make my year look like a fairy tale. There are people right now losing their homes and carefully rationing their cash to afford the [...]

  5. [...] Kristen wrote a wonderful post months ago upon her brother’s passing. It was humbling, and encouraging, and tearful all at the same time to read it. My heart goes out to Larry’s family as they spend their first Thanksgiving without him. [...]

  6. [...] would be any different the next time we all got together. Little did I know that in June 2011 he would be diagnosed with cancer and two months later, he would die. I had no idea our next family gathering would be his [...]

  7. [...] this post – “give grace” is amazing. I found it from this post. It is so easy to get caught up in ourselves and how we feel [...]

  8. [...] Kristen on February 20, 2012 Tweet ShareAs many of you know, my brother passed away this past August from a brief battle with cancer. I’ve said a few times on my blog how [...]

  9. [...] year ago this week, I was sitting in a hospital room next to my brother, just shooting the breeze. I had learned of his diagnosis just a few days earlier, and yet, even [...]

  10. […] you lose a friend or family member to cancer, you tend to step back and take inventory of how you live your life. Every product you […]

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