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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. Kristen, such a beautiful post. My thoughts have been with you today especially. I hope that you are filled with peace from Him who gives it. I know His peace really helped me through the death and mourning of my younger brother. It also helped to know that he wasn’t suffering anymore, he fought his fight and is with those who love him that have passed on before. That knowledge helped a lot, even though it doesn’t ease the pain of parting. Embrace the memories, don’t dwell on the regrets.

    Crystal

  2. So terribly sorry for your loss.

  3. This was an amazingly beautiful post, Kristen. You always offer such hope and inspiration. In a time when others would see total darkness, you saw goodness, peace, and light, and that is a huge part of what makes you such a wonderful person. You are loved so much, my sweet friend.

  4. In a time of deep sorrow you are able to articulate beautifully how hurt your heart is at this moment and you are able to reach out and connect with so many others. I am reminded by your post to hug those I love and to tell them how important they are.
    I am so sorry for your loss and will pray for you and your family.
    blessings
    ~a

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing the last moments you spent with him. What a wonderful way to pass from one world to another. Peace to you and your family.

  6. Thank you so much for your powerful message. I will take it to heart. God bless you and your family.

  7. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  8. My thoughts go out to you… and the events of this past week, what you and Jennie have gone through, has forced me to reflect more on my life.

  9. Thank you so much for these beautiful words, Kristen. I’ve been thinking about you all day hoping that you will feel peace. You’re in our prayers. Love you! xoxo

  10. Oh, Kristen… I’m so sorry! Will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for this beautiful and honest post.

  11. What a beautiful post – hope you and your family are doing well. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss, Kristen. I’m totally sobbing just thinking about his 3 kids and wife. And your entire family. I am so very sorry.

  13. I offer my thoughts, prayers and hopes that you will all relish in his memories, the moments that you all did have together … and that it will carry you through.

    My heart caught in my throat when I read the first sentence of this post. Thankful for you that you were there. I know it meant so much to his wife.

  14. thank you for sharing the wisdom, truth and perspective that can only come in those raw, bittersweet moments of life and death. prayers of comfort, peace and hope for each of you now and in the coming months…

  15. Such a beautiful post, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your words truly touched me, thanks for sharing them with us. Xoxo

  16. God bless you and your family!

  17. I’m so sorry for you and your family’s loss. Thank you for sharing these inspirational words.

  18. I am so sorry for your loss Kristen. Your message on is a powerful lesson we can all glean from.

    Love,
    Alice

  19. That is an absolutely beautiful message. The world would be different if everyone could take that to heart. Just love everyone. I have learned myself to give the benefit of the doubt to others. We are all imperfect people doing the best we can.

  20. I’m so sorry for your loss. Such a touching, well written post. You may have to come back to it and remember this feeling. I lost my mom last year and I still cry almost every day. I never knew it would hurt so much for so long.

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