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One Of The Most Important Gifts You Can Give To A Loved One During Grief

When you go through a major grief experience, it changes you to your very core.

And it takes time to sort your life out.

Anyone who has been through grief is reading this and wholeheartedly agreeing. They understand exactly what I mean when I say a person needs time to sort their life out.

Someone who has never experienced a heart wrenching loss just seems not to get it. They can feel sympathetic towards a loved one…but they don’t understand the major disruption grief can truly be.

Every few weeks, a person who has a loved one who is experiencing deep grief will contact me and ask me to meet them for coffee.

When I first started receiving these requests, I assumed that their grieving loved one knew I’d be showing up. Instead, I found that these “coffee meetings” were an intervention of sorts. They thought I’d talk to their grieving loved one, sort them out, share some sort of miraculous words that would instantly change their grief-stricken loved one…so everyone could return to their happy, normal, pre-grief lives.

If only it were that easy…sigh…and apparently they don’t know me very well.

Each person who attempts this, quickly finds out a few things about me:

  1. If someone didn’t know I was coming, I’d apologize and give the griever the option of talking with me or not. I don’t believe in forced conversations or tricking people – even if the original intention was good or thoughtful.
  2. They found out I’m a huge grief advocate…I don’t believe in telling anyone to “suck it up,” “get back to being your ‘old self,'” or “act normal.” The only exception is if a person has children still in the home, a person will have to balance out grief with providing a stable environment for their kiddos…but that never entails hiding emotions, being their old self, or being fake. It just means a person will need to gain more outside help from family and friends so they can gain wisdom and counsel, so they don’t end up experiencing greater loss down the road.
  3. They found out new ways of being there for their grieving loved one…and that their grieving loved one is just as frustrated as they are. Nobody likes going through grief and experiencing deep heartache and the sudden changes it brings.

What do you do when family or friends don’t “get” or understand your grief? 

How do you handle family and friends who say unthoughtful things such as, “you need to get over it, “you need to move on,” or “I just want you to be your ‘old self'”?

When I went through my sister’s and other loved ones’ deaths, I majorly reacted in my heart to people who said comparable things to me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized when people say these things, it is really annoying, but they usually really do mean well. They’re frustrated with the situation, and hurting from the loss of their normal relationship they’ve previously enjoyed pre-grief. Granted, there are some who are selfish and find the grief of a loved one intrusive, but most genuinely do care…some just haven’t learned how to help their grieving loved one or learned how to communicate what they’re saying or feeling in a beneficial or non-insulting way.

I have found one of the greatest things needed during times of grief…for both the griever and the family and friends of the griever…is grace.

Grace is compassion on steroids.

Grace doesn’t take away the grief, but it sure does help tremendously when people offer each other this one special gift. 

What about when a grief event totally changes a relationship? A grief event took place and your family and friends treat you differently than they did before?

I’ve had multiple grievers share with me that they’d had a best friend for decades…but then after a grief event, the friend was nowhere to be found. Couples who had hung out for years – even vacationed each year together – suddenly disappear without warning. Family relationships who were previously very close, end up blowing up, disintegrating, or become almost unrepairable.

Grace is so very important during times of grief!

When people are going through grief, they may say or do things that are very uncharacteristic of them. Sometimes people are in so much pain that they may say some really ugly things … things they truly don’t mean.

Again, grace is very much needed during times of grief.

Who can you offer grace to today? Do you know someone who you greatly hurt or offended during their time of grief who you need to apologize to? Is there someone who hurt or offended you that you need to call to work through a resolution?

Grief changes everything. And it genuinely changes everyone who walks through and experiences it.

Be kind to the grievers you know. Seek to be the grace-filled sun and rainbow through all of your loved ones storms in life. And give grace to those who may have offended you during your time of grief.

There will come a day when we all will need grace. Start being a gracious and grace-filled person today.

May each of you always give and find grace, compassion, encouragement, and love in your relationships with family and friends.❤️

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

©2017 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

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It’s always better to: Creating A Great Life

It’s always better to:

•be too emotional than inauthentic 

•be too deep than shallow

•be too forgiving than bitter

•be too loving than rejecting 

•be too compassionate than hard-hearted 

•be too giving than stingy

•be too mercy-filled than unfeeling

•be too kind than excluding

•be too grateful than unappreciative 

•be too responsible than negligent 

•be too concerned than aloof

•be too thoughtful than selfish

•be too humble than arrogant

•be too honest than deceitful 

•be too mindful than careless

•be too invested than regretful 

•be too dependable than flakey

•have too much character than to look back on life with heartache and regrets

•to seek excellence in all you do than to succumb to mediocrity

Excellence is attainable because excellence is achieved by developing your character.

…And character either makes or breaks a person. 

I’ve seen people mightily succeed – or horrifically fail – in their marriages, parenting, relationships with God and family, and also in their business and personal lives…just based on character alone.

When people actively choose to cultivate and improve their character, they’re choosing to positively cultivate and grow success: in their relationships, in their goals, as well as every part of their life.

Look at both the positive and negative character traits above and ask yourself – and allow yourself to truly see – where you need to improve.

It’s always better to actively improve your character, heart, life, and the lives of others than to watch your life pass you by…or worse, to watch your life miserably fail or your loved ones lives deeply hurt due to your poor choices. No one sets out to hurt their loved ones hearts or lives, but it happens all of the time.

God gives each of the choice to either create a great life or to choose a bad life. Whichever is chosen will reap either the blessings or consequences that will follow.

When you look back on your life, you’ll be glad you made good character a high priority.

Proverbs 22:1, Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.”

Matthew‬ ‭12:35, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”

‭‭Proverbs 28:6, “Better a poor man who lives with integrity than a rich man who distorts right and wrong.”

So how do you develop character and create a great life? 

  • Read the Bible, especially Proverbs, and ask God to give you wisdom and understanding
  • Choose to make one good decision at a time
  • Always choose to do the next “right thing”
  • Realize life is about so much more than you…always put others first – especially God & family (family is the greatest training ground for character – they’re the only people on earth that God Himself placed you with…loving & serving them is the true litmus test of character – and sometimes, they can be the most difficult to get along with. You’ll be amazed how God will oftentimes promote you to the next level – especially in ministry – only after you learn how to genuinely love your spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, etc.)
  • Love God and others with all of your heart
  • Choose to never intentionally hurt or harm others – and go the extra mile to prevent it
  • If you’ve messed up, clear your conscience by apologizing & asking for forgiveness from God and others…and by actively making it up to them and making restitution where necessary. Always ask yourself, “if someone hurt me the same way I hurt them, how would I want them to apologize and make it up to me?”
  • Research character traits and purposely develop one character trait each week or month (click here for a list: https://griefbites.com/2014/07/01/conflict-resolution-pt-3-75-character-qualities-that-can-change-your-life/ )
  • Expect a lot out of yourself in the areas of character, integrity, and how you treat others
  • Do unto others how you want done unto you
  • Develop empathy
  • Do your self-work and sort through your past and current baggage so you’re a joy to others

Developing character and integrity is a lifelong journey. Enjoy every moment of it. It will be one of the most challenging endeavors of your life, but it will also be one of the most rewarding.

Think of the difference you’ll make in not only your own life, but more importantly, in every life around you.

You’ll look back on life, and be so very grateful for the great life you created in loving God and serving others.

©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.


❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

⭐Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

🎄Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

🎁FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays 🎄⭐❤


The Dark Candle ~ Resolving Guilt After The Death Of A Loved One

When someone you greatly love and cherish dies, life can be a challenge.

A challenge to find joy again.

A challenge not to cry every day.

A challenge to enjoy others.

A challenge to relax by doing your previous favorite activities.

A challenge to figure out how to live life at all.

After my sister passed away, life became a true challenge. I felt absolutely horrible guilt that I couldn’t help her…that I didn’t notice how sick she truly was…that we had a bad argument a few months before she passed away…that I was so busy preparing for thanksgiving that I didn’t visit her the few days she was in the hospital.

My sister and I were extremely close; in fact, she was my best friend. The heartache and intense guilt I felt after she died plagued my heart for years. As I cried out to God to help me through my grief…and to release me from the unrelenting guilt and pain…God was so good to answer my prayers.

My life and the way I process grief has never been the same since.

As I was seeking God for His help, a thought came into my heart, “Your sister doesn’t hold anything against you. What may have bothered her on earth, does not even remotely bother her in Heaven. She knows how much you love her, and she knows if you would have known how ill she was, you would’ve come to the hospital. She loves you and she forgives you. Your sister loved life! She’d want you to enjoy and love life, too, so do so in her honor.”

After sensing this in my heart, my eyes flooded with tears. Ever since that day, I have truly tried my best to celebrate life, love my family, and honor my sister and other loved ones to my greatest ability.

When grief enters your life, you are left to work through all of the tough emotions. You grieve not just the person, instead you grieve every facet of that person and all they meant to you. And it takes time.

I’d like to share a story with you. As you read the following story, keep in mind that during grief, there will be tears – absolutely! – they are a very normal and healthy part of grief. And you don’t always have control of when grief will hit you since grief is much like the ocean’s water…sometimes the water is calm and beautiful, but other times, the water is extremely rocky and torrential.

As you read this story, listen to your heart and truly know that your loved one loves you so very much! They love you for all the ways you loved and cared for them while they were here on earth…and they treasure and love you for all of the ways you honor and remember them daily. They hold nothing against you…they wish you love, peace, comfort, and joy.

I hope this story brings your heart the comfort and peace you so desperately deserve. May God bring your heart healing, love, and all of the good things that life has to offer! You’re going to make it through this!

❤️Gratitude & blessings,
    Kim

The Dark Candle

A man had a little daughter – an only and much beloved child. He lived for her ~ she was his life. So when she became ill and her illness resisted the efforts of the best obtainable physicians, he became like a man possessed, moving heaven and earth to bring about her restoration to health. 

His best efforts proved unavailing and the child died. The father was totally irreconcilable. He became a bitter recluse, shutting himself away from his many friends and refusing every activity that might restore his poise and bring him back to his normal self. But one night he had a dream. He was in Heaven, and was witnessing a grand pageant of all the little child angels. They were marching in an apparently endless line past the Great White Throne. Every white-robed angelic tot carried a candle. He noticed that one child’s candle was not lighted. Then he saw that the child with the dark candle was his own little girl. Rushing to her, while the pageant faltered, he seized her in his arms, caressed her tenderly, and then asked: “How is it, darling that your candle alone is unlighted? His sweet daughter lovingly replied, “Father, they often relight it, but your tears always put it out.” 

Just then he awoke from his dream. The lesson was crystal clear, and its effects were immediate. From that hour on he was not a recluse, but mingled freely and cheerfully with his former friends and associates. No longer would his little darling’s candle be extinguished by his useless tears.

Written by Strickland Gillian

I pray this story brought comfort and great encouragement to your heart. May God bless you today and always!

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

Grief & Travel

Travel is easily one of my favorite topics. 

Growing up, my parents made travel and traveling experiences a priority for our family. We took many weekend trips and weeklong vacations to several destinations. My husband’s parents also did the same as he grew up.

My husband and I appreciated the travel opportunities and experiences our parents blessed us with, so we also have made travel a priority for our family.

Some of our favorite places to travel for the weekend or for a week long trip have been Disney World (Florida), Disneyland (California), Ireland, Tennessee (Smokey Mountains/Gatlinburg), Texas, Destin, New York City, Costa Rica, and other places.

Each place we have been holds many great memories, but Disney World has always held great value in our hearts since it is the last place we vacationed with my sister right before she died. Two months before my sister passed away, my parents, my sister and her family, my other sister, and my family and I all went to Disney World in Florida. 

After my sister’s death, we have taken my sister’s children to Disney World in honor and memory of their mother since she loved and adored Disney World and all things Disney.

I actually vacationed at Disney with my parents, sister, and my niece (my sister’s oldest daughter) and my niece’s sweet family just this year. My own family elected to stay home due to work and school commitments, but it was nice to have time with my niece and her family, and my parents and sister. 

I’m a big advocate of travel, whether it’s learning opportunities while traveling or relaxing or fun vacations. There’s just something special about getting away with loved ones as you leave the world and your cares behind while creating special life-long memories.

Vacations can be:

  • Weekend trips
  • Extended weekend trips
  • Road trips
  • Week long getaways 
  • Cruises 
  • Camping
  • Staycations at home
  • Any amount of time, at any destination 

The primary objective is to clear your schedule so you can focus on God, family, friends, relaxation, learning and fun!

I’m also a big advocate for taking vacations to honor and remember a lost loved one. We have had many special times and made great memories in doing so. 

One special lady in my grief group recently lost her much treasured adult child. She and her husband have decided to travel to places they know their child would have enjoyed traveling to in their child’s memory and honor. At each location, they are sprinkling some of their precious child’s ashes. How amazing and beautiful is that? 

What places do you enjoy traveling to? Which destinations have you always wanted to travel to? Do you have a Bucket List of places you’d like to travel? What cultures would you most like to experience?

If you would like to travel to places in memory or honor of a treasured loved one, what places were dear to your loved one’s heart? Where would they have most liked to traveled?

The first year after my sister’s death when we traveled back to Disney, it was emotionally tough. I’m really glad our family chose to continue to go to Disney World though. What started out as a vacation to remember and honor my sister, ended up transitioning into new experiences and great opportunities for our family to grow closer and create NEW memories.

Travel is amazing and something my family and I love to enjoy and do! 

I will be sharing about creating a travel budget in a new blog post soon. I’ve never paid full price for any vacation I have been on except for one. If you love travel, or are interested in travel, you’ll definitely want to check back soon!

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim 

❤️If you were encouraged by this post or found it helpful, please feel free to share it to encourage and help others!

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

😊

Overcoming Annual Grief Cycles

When a tragic or heartbreaking grief event happens in life, it can velcro itself to your heart and memory storage. Some are obvious; others are not.

When you go through a major grief event such as a death, you’re much more familiar with the anticipation of sad feelings that will surface because the event has an exact date. Example: death of a loved one, divorce, etc. You know the date is coming up so you can easily label your feelings, grief, and heartache.

Other times, people can feel “blue” around a certain time each year and not be able to pinpoint where the feeling came from or understand why such intense emotions surfaced. A non-death grief event most likely happened, but the date wasn’t exactly remembered or written down. Example: a sexual assault while growing up (rape, molestation), a bad breakup, a natural disaster or house fire, discovering you have a major illness, military event, major relationship issues, a traumatizing event, etc.

These events can leave a huge imprint on your spirit, heart, mind, emotions, and even your body’s cells.

I’m a big advocate of creating a timeline of grief events that have happened in life and writing them down on paper…or better yet, on a calendar.

While growing up, there were times during the year where I’d feel unexplainably down and discouraged.

I later figured out that during these times, a grief event had happened close to or on the date years before.

At that discovery, I made it a point to be mindful of potential annual grief cycles which greatly helped to overcome them.

So how do you overcome annual grief cycles?

  • Make a list of every significant grief event you’ve been through throughout your life
  • Keep a calendar of grief events so you are aware and prepared for them
  • Take the time to thoroughly grieve each event so there is minimal unfinished business as much is up to you
  • Seek out extra support and encouragement during potential or established grief dates
  • It can be helpful to talk to a trusted pastor, counselor, family member, or close friend on the date of an annual grief event
  • Pray God grants you the courage, encouragement, healing, and peace you need to get through the tough feelings of your grief event 
  • After thoroughly taking the time to grieve, make it a priority to have a day of relaxation, rejuvenation, and enjoyment on days of an annual grief cycle (this can take time and hard work to accomplish but is totally worth it)
  • Be compassionate to yourself and realize grief recovery takes time
  • Allow yourself the gift of grieving in healthy ways in your own time while growing through your grief

Once I understood and was able to anticipate annual grief cycles — and took the time to override annual grief dates with relaxing and enjoyable activities — my anxiety and sadness around those dates was dramatically resolved. It didn’t happen overnight, but with every year I chose to override these tough dates of sadness with new memories…good memories…I was freed up from stagnant discouragement and anxiety.

This week, make a list of any significant grief events you’ve been through, and think of creative ways to override annual grief cycles so you can begin to enjoy life once again.

One of my favorite grief quotes is,Even though I am grieving, the clock is still ticking, and that’s why I keep living…purposefully.” ~Kelli Horn 

Wishing all of you healing, peace, and great brand new memories as you work through your grief!

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

What Do The Olympics And Grief Have In Common?

Who doesn’t love the Olympics? The competition…the excitement…the pride for your country…the breathtaking joy you feel when you see someone accomplish their Olympic best, as well as the profound sadness you feel when you see a competitor lose their dream of winning.

I’ve watched quite a bit of the Olympics at home since it began. And lucky for me, it’s also been on at restaurants I’ve dined at, as well as other places I go.

As I was watching this week, I’ve seen many similar comparisons of competing in the Olympics and the event of grief.

Each Olympian chooses to force their self to get out of bed, especially on days when they’d much rather stay at home…grievers also force themselves to get out of bed, especially on mornings they’d rather block out the world.

Olympians go through blood, sweat, tears, prayers, and great sacrifice to get to the next level…grievers go through a very similar process. For Olympians, much of it is mental and physical…for grievers, it’s emotional and spiritual.

What an Olympian chooses to do in the dark (in the harshest and earliest of mornings, as well as the grueling out-of-view workouts) will eventually allow them to extraordinarily grow, better themselves, and fully shine in the light…Likewise, how a griever chooses to handle how they respond in the dark — all they are going through behind the scenes and learning in the darkest days of their life — eventually will predict if they come out better and shining through their grief experience and circumstances.

All Olympians and grievers need to surround themselves with great coaches, advisors, encouragement, and support. Neither can reach their fullest potential or ultimate life purpose without a strong community and the help of others.

With both the Olympian and griever, the excruciating struggles are real. Both are confronted with grueling hardships and tough choices, and both have the ability to fight through the dark to make it into a well-deserved glorious light.

I love this video of Michael Phelps ( https://youtu.be/Xh9jAD1ofm4 ). If you’ve followed his career, all you can say is WOW! Out of the entire time, he only took off one year, yet decided to come back and compete.

In grief, you may need to take some time off, but choose to never, ever quit! When you feel like quitting or staying stagnant, think of all Michael Phelps would be missing out on if he had never came back!

Both the Olympian and griever gain some of the hardest earned rewards for their sacrifices as they push through, press forward, and finally realize their potential of healing and perseverance, as well as their goals and dreams later on.

When you feel defeated in your grief, remember there is Gold at the end of your race. Choose to do the grueling hard work so you can make it through the most difficult, toughest days of your life!

When it comes to an Olympian swimmer like Michael Phelps and a griever, both are in situations where they can drown if not careful. Both also have to find the ability to fight for their breath during the most vital times so they can finally rise to the surface in victory.

Both have failures and successes, disappointments and triumphs. All go through a grand series of emotions and also learn new breathing and life techniques so they do not feel as though they are continually gasping for air.

With hard work, the Olympian triumphs over competitors…the griever triumphs over grief.

You are worth it! And your life will be richer and much more fulfilling when you realize you truly triumphed to new heights over and through your grief experience!

And when the day of realization, healing, and triumph comes, what a great feeling that will be!!

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” ~Philippians‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭

“…I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” ~Philippians‬ ‭3:13-14‬ ‭

Don’t you realize that everyone who runs in a race runs to win, but only one runner gets the prize? Run like them, so that you can win.” ~1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:24‬ ‭

Gratitude and many blessings (and Happy Olympic watching),
Kim

©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

❤️All of Kim’s blog posts: http://www.griefbites.com

The Thief & Grief of Cancer

Cancer…so many strong emotions can be felt when you hear this one little word.

Cancer is a complete thief that steals so much from those who taste the grief of it.

Before 2015, I had experienced several family members go through the agony of cancer — and majority eventually dying from it.

When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer…a myriad of thoughts and emotions flood and overwhelm you. It literally feels like someone sucks the living breath out of you.

In 2015, as I prepared to travel to Costa Rica, I went to my parents house to say goodbye before my flight was to leave. As I hugged my dad, I couldn’t wait to get in my car so I could privately cry. As I hugged him, it literally felt as though I was hugging a skeleton.

My dad had been severely ill for about 7 months and had lost almost 80 lbs. None of his doctors would take his symptoms seriously. As I left for my trip, I was genuinely concerned my dad would eventually starve to death since he couldn’t hold any food down at all. He now weighed less than he did in high school. I told him he needed to do whatever it took to get his doctors to listen…he needed to be pushy.

After I got settled in Costa Rica, I called to check in with my mom and asked how my dad was doing. His doctor finally agreed to put a body camera inside my dad that morning…by swallowing this special camera, he’d have hundreds of pictures taken from the inside…but the doctor assured my dad it would be extremely rare if he had cancer.

The following morning, I received a phone call…a FaceTime call, actually…from my mom’s cell phone. I figured she FaceTimed me so she could see the jungle we were staying in since I had texted her about some howler monkeys and coati that were right outside our door.

When I answered the call, all I could see was my sister. Now my sister isn’t a crying type — not.at.all. — but there she was on FaceTime with puffy eyes, tears running down her face, barely able to speak. I could see and hear my mom beside her and she could barely talk, too. By the look on their faces, I thought someone had died.
Instead, I was about to be told the reason for my dad being so sick.

Kim…dad has cancer…a very rare aggressive cancer…they’re doing emergency surgery on him in two days…”

My heart hit the floor. Fear engulfed me. I felt like I was going to throw up. Realizing how long he’d been sick without a diagnosis worried me immensely!

I had already lost my biological dad when I was younger…I couldn’t imagine now losing my second dad. I especially couldn’t imagine watching my mom go through the intense heartache of losing another husband. She and my dad were best friends.

I immediately started the process of finding a flight home. I was on a plane by 4:00am to make it home for my dad’s surgery, and I was beyond grateful that a very special man in Costa Rica was so compassionate that he paid the $3700 airline fee to get my husband and me home in time. (My husband’s grandfather had died as well, so he was able to go to his Poppy’s funeral as I made my way to my dad’s surgery.)

Before I left to fly home, I FaceTimed my mom. She was crying and pacing back and forth so badly that all I could see was her ceiling. My heart hurt so bad that I couldn’t hug and hold her through the phone.

There are so many people who have gone through the same situation — the fear…the helpless feeling of not being able to help or do anything for a loved one…sitting at long chemo appointments watching a loved one go through incredible nausea and discomfort, as well as every emotion known to mankind.

Not knowing if the previous holidays were the very “last” ones. Not knowing if you’ll ever get to go on a vacation with them or celebrate a birthday with them — theirs or yours — ever again. Having a sickening feeling of deep loss that doesn’t go away until you wait…and wait…and wait…for the next precious doctor visits or surgeries. Wondering if any of the chemo or surgeries would “take.”

To everyone who has experienced a loved one having cancer…or losing a most loved and treasured loved one to cancer…my heart hurts for you and I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences. Both situations leave upmost scars on a heart.

I pray for everyone who has been catapulted into walking that terrible road…I also pray for intense healing for your hurting and broken heart.

I leave you with a beautiful quote I saw at one of my dad’s chemo sessions:

Cancer can take away a person’s physical abilities. It cannot touch their mind. It cannot touch their heart. And it cannot touch their soul.” ~Jim Valvano

As we encourage our loved ones who are fighting cancer, remember our loved ones who lost their battle with cancer, and honor our loved ones who are beating it, let’s never forget the very things that cancer can never touch: our incredible memories with our loved ones (our minds)…our special relationship with those we will always love and cherish (our hearts)…and all of the beautiful reminders, experiences, and things God and our loved ones want for us, wanted for us, and would want for us now and in the future (our souls).

May we live every day to the fullest in honor of those who have been affected by the thief of cancer…and may we commit to never allowing cancer to steal another memory, emotion, or moment of our lives.

Gratitude and blessings,
Kim

©2016 by Kim Niles of Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:<<<<
ief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships<<&lt;
ief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed<<&lt;
ief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites<<&lt;
ief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Kim's blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️Connect on Facebook by "liking" page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim's book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617