Grief Bites

Saturday, October 20, 18IMG_8859

I am going to Cuernavaca, Mexico with folks from the Big Sky Annual Conference of the UMC.  Our purpose is to learn Spanish by Immersion in Home and Culture for 10 days.  There will be a group daily Blog!  MSC Spanish Language/Liberation Theology Immersion 2018.  Here is the link!


For two weeks, every time I try to learn a bit of Spanish on line I up in near tears and find activities to keep me from returning to the task.

This morning, I noticed. I noticed that Roger* died on April 28, 2018.  I noticed.  I will be in Mexico exactly 6 months after the last week of Roger’s life.

Grief Bites!  It has been 6 months.

Grief coach that I am, I teach grievers that six months after a death / loss is often a time for exactly what I have been living with:

 Inability to concentrate/ follow through                                                                              Frustration over simple tasks                                                                                                 Depression / discouragement                                                                                                       Extreme lack of self-confidence     Lack of physical energy

Recognizing that GRIEF is chewing on me, inviting my attention, asking for me to honor that grief rather than ignore it, is, for me, helpful.

Grief leaves one’s self-confidence shattered.  That fear of not getting Spanish seems to be the center of the jumble.  My dear Niece who is a wise momma said to me, “You are learning more than you realize!”  I know she is right.

I don’t believe disease / disaster happens to teach us lessons.  However, there are lessons available for those who are life-long learners.  We Wills kids learned to recognize our patterns of parallel lives and we set up some new intentional lines of communication.  We each learned to lean into our own particular support circle.  We learned to be a team and produced a reunion of Roger’s five children in the fall of 2017, which he deeply appreciated. We learned to say I love you, thank you, please forgive me and I forgive you a little more often.  We learned new ways to be family.

Grief demanded my attention today.  Helpless frustration at cell phone failures reflected the helpless feelings I ignored as we lived with ALS – too busy doing laundry or helping with Bingo!  I wrote in my journal.  I talked to my brother and had lunch with my sister. Honoring grief may mean being patient with myself as learner.  Learning to fail. Learning from failure. Learning in spite of myself.

I do believe that learning Spanish and finding an avenue to continue this language use is how I am invited to put Love into Action.  I do believe that I am safe, and that all will be well. Is already well.

In Cuernavaca, we will celebrate the Day of the Dead and I have a picture of Roger, and of our mom and dad, to take with me for that Celebration.  I am humbled to be learning not just Spanish but learning from grief in these coming fall days.

Please follow along on the community BLOG link note below.  I will NOT be blogging except on that community posting.  Here is the link!


*My Brother, Roger Lee Wills died at age 56 on April 28, 2018 of complications from ALS, about 15 months after he was diagnosed.  I had moved from Oregon to Indiana to be his advocate in mid-2017, living in an apartment a half-mile from his facility.

5 thoughts on “Grief Bites

  1. Brenda,
    Gale and I were just talking about you and wondering ‘where’ you were. We know you were in Pendleton while we were in Gatlinburg. Be safe on your journey. Best of luck while immersed in your language learning. Know that we are thinking of you and sending healing thoughts. Love you!

  2. Blessings on you, Bren—for sharing your story and the truth of the grief journey—even for those who teach it. Knowing the map doesn’t prevent us from experiencing the journey—although I was unprepared for the degree to which I “lost my mind” and could not focus or concentrate or read or write. Somehow I had missed the warning about the effects of grief on mental capacity. 🙂

    I’m sure you are learning more Spanish than you are aware, and that the immersion program will be intense and helpful. You may not be able to absorb as much as you would at another time—and that’s OK—your mind and heart are recovering and that’s what’s happening at the moment.

    Sending love and blessings and support and encouragement for your amazing adventure!


    “Love is what you were created for; love is who you are.” Richard Rohr

    1. Thanks Jeanne – an enneagram daily for me reminded me “the message you never got as a child, you are safe” and I truly know that is true.

      Sent from my iPad


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