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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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  1. I, too, am praying for you and your family. Very beautiful message and it is heard loud and clear.

  2. i am so sorry for your loss. Your words and message about forgiveness are priceless. Know that you are a great person and that your message will encourage others to do the same as you. You gave and now you will get.

  3. I am so very sorry for your los. You and your family will be in my prayers.

  4. Oh Kristen… you are a woman of true grace. When my stepdad lost his fight, we were there to walk him there as well. It a

  5. Sending you and your family lots of love and prayers, Kristen. God is welcoming your brother home with open arms <3

  6. (Hit “send” to soon prior) Was such an honor… thank you for sharing your family with us.

  7. So beautiful Kristen, and I know how much coming to those terms can be a struggle some times, but can make such a difference in our lives.

    Saying good-bye is sooo hard, but isn’t it amazing the lesson it brought?

    You’re in my heart and prayers…….love you~!!!

  8. Kristen, I am so sorry.

  9. Kristen, thank you for sharing this with us. Family can be wonderful but often times trying, I take your sentiments to heart. I am very sorry for your loss and will keep your family in my prayers.

  10. Kristen….

    As always your words are so eloquent and spot on!! You have such a way with words! As like you after the death of my mother you are so willing to give grace, not sweat the small stuff and cherish each moment!!

    Again, you are in my thoughts and prayers!! And special prayers for your mother who has lost a child!!

    Hugs, D.

  11. God bless you and your family at this sad time.

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss, Kristen.

  13. Sorry to hear about your loss Kristen. In the last 1 week I have been reminded again that life is short and we should appreciate and love people around us.
    I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  14. So sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful post. Sending good thoughts to you and your family.

  15. Kristen, thank you for sharing your experience, and your loss, with us. I know that I struggle to find the capacity to extend that idea of grace to people in my life. Sending love to you and your family.

  16. Oh Kristen…being with someone that way…watching them take their very last breath…it is almost too much for me to truly grasp.

    I am so very sorry you had to lose him, but so glad that you were able to be with him at the end.

    Praying for you all.

  17. Dear Kristen, I am so very sorry that you and your family are having to experience losing a loved one. Thank you so much though for reminding us all to search for grace and to embrace our family no matter what. All my love is with you.

  18. I often wonder where the “good” comes out of senseless death. Then, posts like yours come out. And, pages of peanut butter pie are dished up on Tastespotting. Then I have a glimpse of the way this world is working. Out of pain and hurt come healing and forgiveness. The world actually improves through the pain that is inflicted. It’s hard for me to fully understand this senseless loss. I’m sorry for your loss and I wish you well as you cope with it.

  19. Elle Hyson says:

    Kristen, my deepest condolences to you and to your entire family. It is never easy to lose a loved one. May peace be with all of you.

  20. What a beautiful tribute. So well-written and thought-provoking. I’m praying for peace and comfort and strength for your and your family. Much love and blessings to you during this time. ~Cassie


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