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The Peace and Hope That Nature Provides When I experience the pure awesomeness of nature, I feel a deep sense of peace. My heart may still feel heavy for the losses I’ve had, but the sheer beauty that surrounds me is amazing and tends to lighten the burden I carry, even if only for a few moments. I hope to be able to bring some of that feeling of peace to others who may have lost hope - the ones who may not think they can find it on their own. I look forward to helping others understand that this peace really is out there for us to find, if our mind and eyes are open. I know from experience, that at the very moment you find yourself in the midst of sorrow, it feels as though your heart will explode and that nothing else in life will ever matter again. Believe me, this too will pass and life will start to matter again.

The sheer beauty that surrounds me tends to lighten the burden that I carry, even if only for a few moments. 34


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Embrace the past


Basically I was numb. I would come and go in a daze trying to keep functioning. My body kept going but my mind – it was fuzzy. That day, the day my husband died, my world, my life, stopped - while everyone else’s just kept going.

The spotlight was on us... The spotlight seemed to be on us. Everyone was watching to see how we’d handle our new situation. Many times I stayed away from home taking care of business just so I didn’t have to face people that had stopped by to visit. I had a difficult time making eye contact with everyone. I’ve always said that anyone who wouldn’t make eye contact with you had something to hide. I did. I didn’t want anyone to see the pain that I carried. I didn’t want them to have to share it with me. I felt like it was my burden to carry on my own. Friends would ask “How are you doing? How are the kids doing?” I didn’t know how to answer that question. Did they really want to know the truth? At first I said “Fine,” but I wasn’t fine, I hurt like hell! The way I saw it, the average person didn’t really want to know how bad I felt – they couldn’t deal with it – they just wanted me to know that they cared about me and that they were thinking about us. 58


I think that one reason grief comes to us is to produce change... Why did this happen to me? Why does grief happen to anyone? I don’t know specific reasons. I may never know, but my grandma always taught me that everything happens for a reason. Scott and I had always grown up believing that. I think that one reason grief comes to us is to produce change. I have definitely experienced my share of change throughout the time since the accident. I’ve become a different person than I was before, and am continuing to change into my new self. I have different aspirations, try new experiences and enjoy other things. I’m a much stronger and more resilient person. I’ve learned that I can still be happy without him by my side – just in a different way. It doesn’t mean that I don’t miss my husband or that I’ve lost respect for him. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I have a special place in my heart for his memory. He’s had a great impact on who I am and I hold the utmost respect for him. He taught me a multitude of things while he was here, most of which I am putting to use every day. I urge YOU to accept the changes that come with YOUR grief, while still embracing the past; by doing so your heart will experience ultimate peace.

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I was so proud and happy that evening to be able to present my boy with his much earned diploma, although it was one of the toughest, loneliest times in my life doing it without his dad.


Be proud of who you are And Proud of where you came from

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assuming that I was drunk. He told me he’d call me the next day when I was sober. Before I hung up the phone, the guilt had already started to settle in. I knew that I’d let him down! Here was one of my best friends trying to help me while I was out there self destructing! Within a short time I said my goodbyes to my friend and left the lake, still VERY stoned. As I drove away, my thoughts started zoning out. They drifted back to the conversation he and I’d had about the trip I was about to go on to Kanab. As we had talked in between rides, he had voiced concerns of worry for me going back alone. My focus immediately returned as I realized that I wasn’t even driving on the road! I jerked the car back onto the dirt lane and made my way home VERY carefully! Ed’s call that day had set the guilt in motion and my driving off the road without realizing it had scared the crap out of me! My kids had already lost one parent; I wouldn’t let them lose another! At least not from that! I decided then and there that I wouldn’t drive that way again!

I decided then and there that I wouldn’t drive that way again! About a week later I headed to Kanab. My kids weren’t ready to go back and neither was Ed. No one wanted to ride anymore because of the accident. I kept trying to tell them that Scott would’ve wanted us to keep riding. I was ok with going alone though. I knew that I had a ton of soul searching to do while I was there. I had to figure out what I was doing and pull my life back together. I also had to figure out how to go on without all the self destructive behavior that I’d been engaging in over the last year! The six hour drive there gave me lots of time to think. Mostly I thought about my kids and how I hadn’t been a very good parent over the last year. It’d been so hard. During the hardest time in my kids’ lives, I wasn’t able to be there for them. I was so busy trying to dull my own pain that I couldn’t really help them with theirs. I didn’t feel like I had anything to give them until I figured things out for my own self. How could I explain things to them that I didn’t even understand? 119


Surround yourself With positive energy

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I’ve had a lot of friends confide to me that I’ve had an effect on them; I’ve been an inspiration to them. They now look at the situations they’re in and the problems they have and decide that they’re not that bad. They’ve watched me go through a devastating experience and stay positive throughout it. Now my kids probably wouldn’t say that, because they live with me and have actually seen the bumps I’ve hit along the way. They’ve seen the times I’ve fallen to my knees and had to pull myself back to my feet. They have literally seen me lie in the bed and not feel that I had a reason to get up. Now those times are few and far between but they have happened. My kids have seen me get angry and bitter and have seen the sadness that Scott’s death has brought me. Jacob has acquired a sense that seems to let him know when I am down. I don’t have to say a word but find him behind me rubbing my shoulders

They live with me and have actually seen the bumps I’ve hit along the way.

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Moments of darkness Can bring clarity To the purpose of life

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Finding Peace in the Midst of Sorrow  

Finding Peace in the Midst of Sorrow by Gayle Dunlap-Kowalski This book was produced in the United States of America using traditional, high...

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