Moving from Grief’s Tears to Love’s Smiles

It’s been three and half months since Linda’s death. The grieving continues!

C. S. Lewis in his classic A Grief Observed writes that grief is like a bomber flying overhead. At times you are only faintly aware that it is there. Then, without warning it drops a bomb, shattering your world once more. The sobbing and disorientation return.

Those waves of grief come unexpectedly, like a sudden bolt of thunder on a clear day! They are triggered by a site, or fragrance, or a rediscovered memento, a reminder of an experience from the past.

Painful images of Linda’s diseased-induced distress, anguish, confusion, disorientation, and fear open the floodgates of grief’s tears. They trouble me, sometimes torment me!

Experts remind us that the memories with the most painful emotion attached to them are the hardest to heal.

Those negative images accompanying our journey with dementia are difficult to dislodge from my memory.

But healing is happening!

Our daughter created a collage of photographs of happy times over our sixty years together.










The collection of joyful images sits in my sunroom where I spend much of the day. Other photos are attached to the refrigerator.  Two months ago, those photos brought tears, too. They reminded me of what had been but can be no more.

Yet, something important has been happening.

The painful images from the last few years are slowly being balanced by memories from six decades of love and laughter.

Our new community chaplain, Kathleen Miko, stopped by this week for a visit. Since she had not known Linda, I pointed to the collection of photographs and explained why they were there.

Kathleen observed, “I notice that you smile every time you look at those photos.”

I hadn’t realized that gradually grief’s tears are being replaced with smiles of gratitude for love shared.

I know that more bombs of sadness will fall, waves of grief will come crashing over me.

Yet, grief’s tears are slowly giving way to love’s smiles.


10 thoughts on “Moving from Grief’s Tears to Love’s Smiles

      • Thank you again for such helpful words. It has been 9 months since I lost Ray & I am still having those moments though further apart. I think it hurts the most when we are so close to the person we lost. Ray & I had a little over 50 wonderful years together. I was very blessed.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you, yet again, Bishop Carder for sharing your journey of love and loss with us in public.
    Those who have lost a loved one to dementia are uplifted with your posts of hope.

    In addition to the “bombs” that come unexpectedly, for me, have come dreams. In my case my mother is so vividly in my dream I wake up breathless. At first I was overcome with grief and the sense of loss. However, with time, I now am able to bring a smile to my face too, as I am able to say, “Thanks for the spiritual visit”!

    I know that more unexpected moments will come but through God’s grace and the knowledge that my Mom is whole, healthy and happy in Heaven, I become even more grateful that God gave her to me, to be MY Mom. How wonderful is that! 😉

    Blessings to you and yours.
    Pastor Vickie Simons

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ken,
    C.S. Lewis’ writing about grief being like a bomber has stayed with me all these years. I believe you suggested that I read “A Grief Observed”. Thank you for that, and for being such an amazing influence. Now I think of you and the bomber, and I know the bombs will become fewer and further apart. But as we both know, the bomber will return.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely reminder, Ken, that the good memories are more powerful than the bad. The grief journey is difficult and I love seeing the light of joy again both in you, myself and others.

    Liked by 2 people

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