Archive of ‘Practical Help’ category

Crystal Sound Healing For Grief

By Jill Hochman

Crystal Sound Healing

By Jill Hochman

Board Member, Hope for Widows Foundation


Have you ever heard about crystal singing bowls or crystal sound healing?  If you ever have the chance to listen to crystal bowls, you may find it so relaxing that you will never want it to stop,  I found it really helpful in dealing with my grief.


This is because our bodies are affected by vibrations.  Think about hearing a loud train whistle or the scream of a child.  Or, maybe the calming sound of the ocean or the purring of a cat.  We react to sounds because the human body is a network of vibrational fields and energy currents.  Like we learned in science classes, the vibrations can change the way something moves.  Vibrations can therefore change how we feel.


According to Elevia Melody in her blog about why crystal sound healing works, “Each individual resonates at his or her own vibration. Sound is an acoustical wave while color is an electromagnetic wave. The colors of the rainbow correspond to a specific musical note in the same way that each chakra (or energy center) of the body correlates with a specific tone and color. Although there is a tone and color that corresponds to each of the chakra centers, each part affects the totality. This is important to know since each crystal bowl will affect the whole body. You may feel the effects in one section of your body more deeply, but the vibrational sound will also travel throughout your entire energy field. The human body and the entire earth are made up of energy, vibrating at different frequencies. When out of rhythm, disease and disharmony result. Vibrational sound healing addresses these imbalances or blockages of the energy channels.”



Crystal singing bowls are made from different crystals.  They are different colors as you can see in the picture above.  The bowls are played by rubbing a type of wand around the top edge.  The notes of the crystal bowls are tuned to specific vibrational frequencies (notes) found within the human body.  Kind of like hearing relaxing music.  When the sound moves through the atmosphere and touches us, our cells to move with the sound wave. Depending on the notes, we can be put in harmony with the sound

wave or in disharmony.


The music from the bowls doesn’t really sound like music.  To me, it is more like notes moving with the wind.  When I go to a crystal sound bath, I lay comfortably in a room with other people while the bowls are played.  I also find crystal singing bowl music on YouTube.  Sometimes when it’s hard to sleep, I find a YouTube with the bowls and can fall asleep onto the sounds.  When my tears are falling during a grief wave, the sound from the bowls calms me.  If you want to hear them, try listening to Ashana who is a well known singing bowl musician at


There are also several websites and bodies that discuss the benefits of music and sound.  The key to these benefits is with the vibrations.  An interesting video you can watch is on Facebook at:  It even discusses the growing use of crystal sound baths to help us heal from physical as well as emotional issues.  I love a sound bath and hope you can have an opportunity to try one sometime.




Crystals for Healing, Health and Wellbeing throughout your Grief

By Jill Hochman


Do you like stones? Rocks? crystals? Do certain ones of them have special meanings for you? Well, there could be reasons why. I am writing this to help explain what many people believe are healing powers of crystals.

Like with other spiritual healing methods, crystal healing is NOT medicine.It can be complementary to traditional medicine or it can just be something to help you cope with overwhelming emotions. To be fair, there are many people who claim crystal healing is pseudoscience.

Here is why I think they may be wrong:

  • Crystals are made up of chemicals and each has a unique structure. Their chemical structure reflects a balance of their electromagnetic fields or their energy. It is like with colors. The colors are the way that light bends when it hits a chemical structure. So if you take it as true that everything is made up of energy, then each crystal’s own energy can impact the energy of the things around it.


  • Each of us has energy centers in our bodies. These are called chakras in yoga, Reiki, acupuncture, and other forms of alternative healing. Each chakra has an energy flow to it that needs to be balanced in order for us to feel our best. So, the energy of a crystal can impact our chakras and can have an effect on the way we feel.

For a more scientific explanation, see this from the Book of Stones:

“When we bring the crystal into our electromagnetic field, two things occur.

The electromagnetic frequencies carried by the stone will vibrate with related frequencies in our own energy field through the physical law of resonance, creating a third larger vibration field.

The nervous system is attuned to these shifts in energy and transmits this information to the brain. The frequencies stimulate biochemical shifts that affect the physical body and shift brain function.(Simmons & Ahsian 2005, 28)

Each of our chakras and it’s energy flow is related to a color. These colors follow the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Red is our root chakra located at the base of our spines. Violet is our crown locate at the very top of our head.

The color of each crystal can help balance our energy flows by interacting with the energy of our chakras. If a chakra’s energy is blocked, the energy of certain crystals can help free it or vice versa if the energy of a chakra is overactive. It makes sense that the color of the crystal can be a reflection of the electromagnetic energy flow that it has. Some colors go together well, some conflict. Do goes the crystal energy.

There are lots of books and information on the web about which crystals can help with particular health or emotional issues. I find that a few crystals help me more than others.


  • Rose quartz (a nice pink stone) makes me feel less out of control with sadness when I hold onto one or hold it while trying to meditate.


  • Amethyst helps me realize my grief is real and that I can let it ce without feeling guilty.


  • If a day is especially sad and I feel I need some humor or something to perk me up a bit, I will hold sunstone.


Sometimes I put these stones in my pocket or bra (you know that extra picket we have) while going about whatever needs to be done.

Another helpful experience I have had with crystals is going to a crystal sound bath. Crystals can be shaped into bowls and played with a soft flannel type pointer that gets rotated around the top of the bowl. Each crystal bowl emits a different frequency which can help change the energy flowing through our chakras. The sound baths are extremely relaxing and one of my favorite treats.

Feel free to look up healing properties of crystals to see what may help you. Or, take a trip to a crystal shop near you and hold different stones. If one feels right, chances are it is something that might help you feel a bit better.

Reiki and Coping Mechanisms while dealing with Grief

By Jill Hochman

by Board Member, Jill Hochman

This article is about Reiki and coping with grief. It is part of the Hope for Widow’s Foundation efforts to help our Hope Sisters find ways to learn to cope with and manage their grief.

I find that Reiki can help me cope when I get in one of those waves of grief or am having stress over some everyday type of concern. I will try to explain what Reiki is, what it is not, what a Reiki treatment is like, and talk about how I believe it helps me deal with grief or other stressors. As a certified Reiki Karuna Master,I try to practice Reiki in a responsible way by not making promises or claims about miraculous healing powers. I focus instead on use of Reiki to bring good energy into our world and I use it to help cope with grief and stress.

I intend for this article is to be a very general explanation about Reiki along with some comments about my personal practice and experience. You can find lots of information on the web or perhaps through Reiki healers in your area. Feel free to private message me with any questions you might have and I will try my best to answer or send you in a helpful direction.

First , What is Reiki?

According to the International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP), “Reiki is [a] subtle and effective form of energy healing using spiritually guided life force energy… [p]racticed in every country of the world.” While often considered to be spiritual in nature, Reiki is not “[a]ffiliated with any particular religion or religious practice.”

Reiki is a way to help calm your mind and to deal with stress. Reiki has five basic principles. I use these principles everyday as affirmations. They are:

Just for today, do not be angry
Just for today, do not worry
Just for today, be grateful
Just for today, work hard
Just for today, be kind to others.

The principles are my mantra. Not only do I tell them to myself each morning, I repeat them when I need to ground myself or when I feel the need to help people or animals who are in stress. The words in the principles illustrate how Reiki does not harm and has everything to do with setting positive intentions. Kind of like karma, the principles remind me that it is good to be positive and send out positive thoughts. Please know that it is not easy for me to be positive but practicing Reiki means that I try. So using Reiki becomes one of the ways to help me cope with my grief as well as grief experienced by others.

What Reiki is Not?

Understanding what Reiki is not is important. This is because there are many misconceptions about Reiki and opinions about it based on misconceptions. To know if Reiki can be useful to you, a basic understanding of what Reiki is as well as what it isn’t can help you decide.

Most importantly, Reiki is NOT a religion nor is it a replacement for medical treatment. Nor is Reiki a process to transfer energy from one person to another.

How Does Reiki Work?

Reiki works on the theory that we all have energy centers in our body. These are called chakras and are the same as the chakras that are used in yoga. The 7 major chakras are located along your body from the very top of your head to the base of your spine. The chakras each have a connection to our emotions. The chakras and their emotional relationship are:

The Crown — connection to spirituality
Third Eye — ability to focus, connects to intuition, imagination, wisdom and decisions
Throat — connection to our ability to communicate
Heart — love, inner peace, joy
Solar Plexus — self-confidence, esteem and self-worth
Sacral — sense of pleasure and sexuality
Root — survival issues

When the energy in these centers is aligned, then we feel our best. If one or more of them is blocked or the energy is unbalanced, then we do not feel right. Reiki works to bring the energy flowing through our chakras into alignment. Repeating the 5 principles helps put us in a spiritual place where the energy can more easily flow in balance.

What is a Reiki Treatment Like?

Reiki treatments can be done in person or can be sent to people in need. The later is called distance Reiki.

If you get a Reiki treatment in person, you will lay down or sit comfortably so that you can try to relax. You remain fully clothed and the practitioner should not touch you unless they have your permission. Soft music may be playing similar to what is played when you get a massage. The practitioner will move their hands over you and use symbols which they draw in the air, on their own hands, or maybe even on the roof of their mouth with their tongues. Each symbol has specific uses and are — at least in theory — secret. But, you can go to the internet and find them as well as explanations of their use(s). Treatments times depend on your practitioner as well as what they feel needs to be done. Some practitioners may place crystals on you or near you and some may use drums or crystal bowls during your treatment. Treatments do not hurt and you usually leave feeling relaxed. This is a good thing even if you are not totally healed.

If you get distance Reiki, you are not in the presence of the practitioner. Instead they are sending you Reiki. When you hear a Reiki practitioner say something like “sending you healing or calming light”, they are sending you Reiki. To be fair, a practitioner should ask if sending Reiki is ok with you before sending. This is because a Reiki practitioners respect the fact that there are people who and religions which do not accept the practice. If a Reiki practitioner does not know when Reiki is ok to send, they may say something like “surrounding you with calming thoughts or light.” This similar to sending prayers or positive thoughts to the person and is intended for the highest good.

How does Reiki Help Grief:

You can find lots of information on the web about Reiki and grief. Instead of repeating that here, I will give my thoughts which come from my own experience.

I was a Reiki practitioner before my husband became sick. So, I used Reiki on him. But, I gave Reiki up when he died because I felt as if it did not save my husband. The facts are that nothing except a miracle could have saved him. Reiki is not a replacement for medicine — it is a complement to it. As time went by, I went for a Reiki treatment because of the overwhelming sadness I was feeling. And, you got it: I cried the whole time. The good news was that I was finally able to sleep for 4 hours straight that night and the next. This much needed rest helped me get through making some big financial decisions. So, I took up my practice once again and went for more treatments. I also treated a few people at a local Reiki Share.

I also began once again to use the 5 principles each morning in the shower — please don’t laugh as this beats crying in the shower. Repeating them helps set me up to better face the day. I also use Reiki when I read many of our Hope Sisters’ posts. In my mind, I surround those Hope Sisters with calm and light. Although I don’t know for sure if this helps them, it helps me to know I have done something, albeit small, to help. Sending out positive energy and intentions helps me feel better. When I find myself drowning in grief, I will think of positive light and energy and place my hands over my Heart or my Solar Plexus chakras. I let myself feel the energy and believe it helps get me through the tidal waves that hit. So, Reiki has become one of my coping mechanisms. Maybe it can help you too.

The “Chapter 2” Myth

By Kerry Phillips

I can’t remember when I heard the phrase “Chapter 2” for the first time. I believe it was on a Facebook page dedicated to supporting the widowed community. A widow lamented that she’d never find another man to love her the way she’d been loved by her hubby. Her “Chapter 2” hadn’t yet arrived.

I’ve been guilty myself of referring to new love as “Chapter 2”. But who says “Chapter 2” has to be a mate? What if you’re perfectly content with never dating again? Don’t you get another chapter?

I believe that you are your own “Chapter 2”. Heck, you may even be on “Chapter 4 or 5”. As a wise widow pointed out, she had a life before she met her spouse and therefore her book was well underway by the time they met.

Our life is a series of pages and chapters. The chapters occur whether or not we have a partner. Our “Chapter 2” is what we make of it.

If you’ve been wanting a career change but were too busy caring for your ailing husband to consider going back to school, why not make enrolling in college your “Chapter 2”? You traveled with your spouse but stopped once he passed away…book that flight, pack your bags and fill the pages of your “Chapter 2” with passport stamps.

Too often we believe that we can’t be happy again because we haven’t met our “Chapter 2”. That’s simply not true. Though a new love can help your heart heal, for the most part, you have to put in the work required to get to a place of healing on your own – before dating.

Part of that healing is getting to know yourself, figuring out your interests; learning what brings you joy. Typically, we go from caring for our spouse and kids to just caring for the kids. We neglect ourselves and even more so when we lose a spouse. We throw ourselves into raising our children in an attempt to overcompensate for their having lost a parent.

While our children absolutely need extra-special attention to navigate the difficult road ahead, I dare you to pour some of this attentiveness into self-care. Stop putting yourself last. Discover the person you’ve become post-loss. I guarantee she isn’t the person you were when you met your husband. Get to know her…her likes, her dreams, her desires, her goals and her plans for future.

I’ve found many widows are now no-nonsense, fiercely independent women. A few have even said they don’t think their late spouses would have even dated them as they are now, let alone married them. That’s why it’s so important for you to get to know who you are post-loss.

Happiness comes from within. A new love story isn’t synonymous with happiness. If you haven’t taken the time to write on your own pages then why expect a partner to do it for you? You have to live and embrace life. Do things that bring you happiness. Adopt a child. Quit your job. Buy your dream car.

Whatever it is, make it count! You are your own “Chapter 2”. You don’t have to wait for anyone or anything to begin writing the rest of your story. And, if your current chapter isn’t going the way you’d like, you have the power to change it. You’ve already been through so much. You deserve all the happiness your heart desires. Be your “Chapter 2”!

We’re Partnering With The Mighty!

By khadija ali


We’re thrilled to announce a new partnership that will bring our resources in front of The Mighty wide-reaching readership. We will now have a growing home page on The Mighty and appear on many stories on the site.

The Mighty is a story-based health community focused on improving the livesof people facing disease, disorder, mental illness and disability. More than half of Americans are facing serious health conditions or medical issues. They want more than information. They want to be inspired. The Mighty publishes real stories about real people facing real challenges.

Here’s an example of the kind of stories on The Mighty: What Nobody Tells You About Self-Care:…/self-care-how-to-take-care-of-your…

We’re dedicated to helping people with mental illness and grief in their lives. With this partnership, we’ll be able to help even more people.

We encourage you to submit a story to The Mighty and make your voice heard.

Hope For Widows Directors

We relate. We understand. We care. We listen.



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There is No Timetable for Dealing with a Loss

By Kerry Phillips


As 2016 came to a close, I mentally made a checklist of all the things I had to accomplish before the clock struck midnight. The house was immaculate – except for the camping tent pitched in the corner of my living room, a Christmas present for my kiddo who refused to have it placed in her room. All the laundry was washed – the dryer is still humming in the background as I type but at least there isn’t a dirty article of clothing in the house.

I switched off from my usual crime-TV show to catch the countdown on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. It’s an annual tradition to watch the ball drop in Times Square.

The clock struck midnight and I reflected on 2016 and said a prayer for 2017. It was then that it caught my eye: my wedding ring.

It’s been 4 years and 10 months since the unexpected death of my husband. Five years and 10 months since we stood surrounded by friends and family as he placed the rings on my finger. We never saw death lurking around the corner, barely giving us a year as husband and wife.

For the past few months I’d been telling myself that the year would not end with the rings on my finger. It was time to remove them. I even asked other widows what they did with theirs. I heard everything from storing them in a jewelry box to melting the rings down to create a brand new piece.

As the days flew by, I kept thinking I was ready and it wouldn’t be a major emotional trigger. Heck, I’d started going out with someone while wearing my wedding ring so it wasn’t as if I hadn’t made peace with my hubby’s death. 

Honestly, the ring on my finger served many purposes. I felt connected to my spouse in some way by continuing to wear it. Other days, it warded off the creepy guy who approached me to ask for my number. I flashed it and proudly announced I was happily married. 

Other days, the ring was a burden. I would often see friends and family slowly gaze at my finger, perhaps wondering when I was going to remove it. That was always awkward. Then, there were times when people would look at it and ask how long I’d been married. That was always painful. But then there were times when I found myself locking eyes with a handsome stranger then seeing him look at my ring, smile politely and walk away. That was always disappointing.

I was determined to remove my rings before the clock struck midnight and ushered in 2017. It just seemed like a perfect time to make changes.

I figured I’d wear both our rings around my neck and Cozumel, my port of call on my December vacation, would be the perfect spot to snag a necklace.

I went into store after store and reached the same conclusion: nothing worked. The selections were too long, too short, too thin, too thick, too fancy, too plain…

I should have known then that there was nothing wrong with the necklaces. It was me. I didn’t want to find one that worked. I wasn’t ready. I kept telling myself otherwise though.

At 10:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, I thought that since I didn’t have a necklace, I’d simply move the rings to my right hand. It’s now 1:02 a.m. on Sunday, January 1 and the rings remain just where they were placed by my husband. 

Yes, I failed to meet my deadline but so what? There is no timetable for grief. I will not for a second feel bad about not taking off my rings to meet some arbitrary deadline I gave myself. Part of healing is listening to yourself. You have to know what you’re mentally capable of handling.

Not quite ready to pack away your spouse’s clothing in the closet? That’s fine. Take your time. You’ll know when you’re emotionally okay to do so. Dreading going through his tools in the shed? No biggie. There’s no widowed guideline for this sort of thing. Many times we just have to wing it and do what works for us.

Try to remember not to compare your journey. Simone may have taken off her ring 3 months post-loss and Kathy might have packed away her husband’s clothing within six months of his death but that doesn’t have to be your timeframe. Move at your own pace and don’t allow anyone to rush you into decisions, yourself included.

I may decide to take off my ring when I wake up for church in a few hours or I may take them on the 5th anniversary of his death…I don’t know. I do know that it will happen when I’m 100% at peace with my decision.

What have you been putting off? Let us know by chiming in below.

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Widow-Approved 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

By Michelle Miller


My boyfriend pillows. Jared Leto and Channing Tatum. Thanks for not getting jealous when I come to bed in my husbands jacket, boys.

My boyfriend pillows. Jared Leto and Channing Tatum. Thanks for not getting jealous when I come to bed in my husbands jacket, boys.

We will all make it through another year, I promise! Try some or all of these resolutions to help get you through another 365 days without your husband.

1. Shower at least twice a week.

  1. Shave your legs once every six months
  1. Stop caring about people’s opinions of your hairy-ass legs
  1. Hire a scientist to invent false eye lashes that stay put after thirty-two straight minutes of crying in the bathroom stall at work/Target
  1. Use the F word less
  1. Just kidding, F*** appropriate language
  1. Find the correct ratio of Benadryl to Wine that will help you sleep for more than two consecutive hours a night
  1. Refrain from using your middle finger when someone says, “So you must be feeling better since it’s been a whole two years since your husband died.”
  1. Just kidding, flip them off, even if you’re in a church
  1. Wear a sign that says, “I’m not divorced, I’m widowed” on all your dates, to avoid the awkward “So how long have you been divorced?” question
  1. Develop an unhealthy obsession with a netflix series; pair with ice cream and/or popcorn
  1. Develop a crush on a celebrity; have his/her face printed on a pillow, cuddle and/or talk to it every night (But not Jared Leto or Channing Tatum because they belong to me)
  1. Wear a black veil with a pink sundress to run errands at least once a week. Everyone thinks you’re crazy anyways, you might as well give them reason
  1. Make it your mission to find your tribe of widows. Some widows grieve with inspirational quotes, comfort foods, and quilts made out of their dead husbands underwear. Some widows grieve with cocktails, rap music, and excessive usage of the phrase, “I hate everything.” Both types of widows and all of the types in between are brave, and scared; and strong and weak. All are beautiful in ways that I cannot write. Seek out your tribe, if you haven’t already. You will feed one another the validation required to begin and continue this life you did not ask for.


Love to all who are reading this. May this year bring you hope, and cocktails that don’t create hangovers.

© Copyright 2016 Michelle Miller

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Selling My Husband’s Truck

By Lisa Dempsey Bargewell

Well, I did it! It only took me three and half years to conjure up the strength and willpower to sell my deceased husband’s truck; but, I finally did. This might seem silly and insignificant to some; however for me, this was a huge step. The crazy thing is I only drove it once in nine years. It wasn’t my vehicle. Nevertheless, it was a predominant factor in our married and family life. It encompassed a multitude of treasured memories and cherished moments.

The first harrowing year after my husband’s death, when I was thrown into the dark abyss, I used to just sit in my husband’s truck. My hands glided over the steering wheel in attempts to capture the essence of where his steadfast, champion hands used to be. His aroma still lingered as I would listen to his favorite songs, and recollect all the adventures that transpired from within the truck walls.

The last time I sat in his truck, I noticed down by the corner of the passenger seat a fortune cookie message. My heart skipped a beat, as no one had driven the truck and I had never laid eyes on it before. I unraveled it. The words of faux wisdom profoundly spoke to me, “…it is time to move forward.” I felt David’s presence reassuring me to forge ahead.

Practical reality sunk in. I was paying a lot for insurance. I needed to sell it. On the other hand, emotionally, the thought of selling it paralyzed me in utter anguish. I had to tap into my faith, my key to sanity. I had to recognize my resistance and make a definitive goal. This quote echoed in my mind: “If you can’t go in leaps and bounds, then go in baby steps and nudges, but keep moving forward!” -Doe Zantamata.

Unfortunately, my stress level continued to rise as I worried about losing another part of my husband. Grief for me has been such a turbulent crossroad of absorption, adjustment, remembering, honoring, letting go, letting it be, and attempting to navigate and re-build a new life. I had to reframe this event to see the growth. I had to realize that I was not closing the book, just turning the page. That what my soul has once known, I will never forget. That love lives on forever.

As the selling day unfolded, I was a mess. My husband and I had made all of our decisions in unison. I was literally shaking as my orderly world of predictability, structure, and comfort has been altered. Could I do this?

As I was at the bank making the sale, terror set in. All the horrifying feelings of releasing my husband’s cold and limp hands ran rampant in my mind. It felt as if I was losing him all over again. At the same time, I had a flashback of my husband and I teaching our oldest daughter, when she was three, to cross the monkey bars. She was so afraid, shaking her adorable head, and telling us, “No, I can’t do this, I can’t let go!” My husband was so calm and encouraging to her. Finally, she did it! She beamed and hugged us as she got down and exclaimed, “That was easy!”

As grief is not a task to finish, each day, I am learning to welcome life’s lessons as I reiterate to myself, “Just breathe in and breathe out, repeat, and remember that moving forward means taking one step at a time.”

Have you experienced a similar grief transition? How did you handle it? As always, I am thankful that you took the time to read my blog. Time after time, I am humbled with gratitude by your comments and wisdom. Please feel free to comment and/or share.

Dear Heavenly Father, Please help me to come to the realization that I don’t have to have everything all figured out to move forward. That I can continue to look back and thank you and look forward and trust you. –Amen

With Blessings and Grace to You,
Lisa Dempsey Bargewell
My next blog will be on August 19th.

July 4th: Sorrow and Joy

By Lisa Dempsey Bargewell

Grief for me has not been linear; it has been bombarded with zigs and zags. It has been complicated with plunging, deep, emotional crevices and yet, also, silver-lined with healing moments and the remembrance of cherished memories. Do you feel the same way or differently? In addition, the grief triggers seem to swarm and burst randomly… like the day of July 4th.

My husband was the picture of health. He was never sick a day in his life, until our nightmare began 4 years ago on July 4th. The day our life as a couple and family unit was abruptly altered as cancer infested our cocoon. We had just finished having a campfire and barbeque with family and friends; he came over and put his arm around me. The look in his eyes and the tone of his voice startled me. He expressed that he was having abdominal discomfort. He had knocked down and chain sawed numerous trees on our property that morning and moved some furniture into our youngest daughter’s homeschool classroom, so we thought, maybe, he pulled a muscle? As we started to set off fireworks, his pain level magnified. Despite his arguments and saying, “It will pass, I am fine,” I took him into emergency. The doctors rushed him into surgery; they were shocked, as he was already in kidney failure.

The next nine months that followed, were gut- wrenching as his pain was harrowing and uncontrollable. Follicular Lymphoma had engulfed and was spreading through his entire lower body and then mutated into Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.

As July 4th of this year was approaching, I wanted to hibernate, scream, run and hide as my mind replayed and re-lived, like a broken record, each haunting second that had transpired. July 4th was the beginning of the end. I almost feel crazy as I can recall what happened on each day of those preceding nine months: each doctor’s appointment, each medical test, each surgery, his medication and chemo schedule, even the nurse’s weekly shifts.

My oldest daughter and her husband were having a 4th of July party. I wanted to be with them; however, I still struggle with social outings and gatherings. I knew I had to make a decision. I desire my girls to know the grandness of being alive; that amidst our sorrow, hope can arise and prevail. That our Lord continues to be our sustaining grace, that unexpected delights are always present, and that the anticipation of wonder is still around the corner.

I needed to change my perspective. I had to generate my own stepping stones for growth. In order to do something tangible, I made a list of every July 4th that my husband had graced our lives. I wrote down the joyous recollections of our boating and camping trips, family parties, and the sweet, bonding times that just the four of us shared. Including the time that we lost electricity and we sat by candlelight, listening to the distant fireworks and playing Scrabble. As well as, the romantic 4th that my husband planned with an evening under the fireworks in the bay, complete with his homemade fried chicken, and a note made into a jigsaw puzzle that spelled, “You are the light of my life!”

I reminisced. I shouted praises of gratitude to our Savior. I cried, oh yes, buckets full. I had to lessen the constant weight of sorrow. I want to experience an abundance of smiles before the cascading tears and not the other way around. I had to recall and make stronger the vaulted, treasured memories in order to not allow the horrifying ones to overshadow them.

I ended up going to my daughter and son-in law’s party. I am glad that I pushed myself. It was a holistic, healing evening.

Please feel welcome to share stories about your past July 4th’s. Telling our stories and our history is therapeutic. I am so thankful for each one of you that have been following my blogs. Your warmth, insight and wisdom truly touch my heart. I appreciate how we rally together, uplift, and encourage one another.

Blessings and Peace to You,
Lisa Dempsey Bargewell

My next blog will be on July 22.

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