The Bliss Blog

Grief and Gracebookcover

From the moment we take our initial breath outside the womb, life proceeds along the inevitable journey to return us to the Source. Religious scholars and philosophers muse about what that looks like. For some, it is a Paradise beyond imagination, a place where love abides. For others, it is a void; darkness and nothing other. My inclination is to the first. Having been at the bedside of numerous people when they passed, including my husband and father, as well as residents in nursing homes and most recently, a dear sister-friend, I have witnessed it as a release from pain and moving on to a peaceful state.

Ordained minister and former hospice chaplain, Cynthia Greb has written a magnificent tribute to the process of dying (I call it “life in the midst of death in the midst of life.”) as she describes the transition of her parents, niece, uncles and those for whom she has provided care over the years. She also makes mention of former boyfriends who have taken their leave recently.

Grief and Grace is a doorway into the world of love and loss that gently beckons. Not just the harsh reality of death, but the heartfelt and sweet moments along the way. Greb companions the reader as surely as she did her loved ones.

Greb expresses her exquisitely human reactions to wanting her parents to get the best care possible in the nursing home where each of them inevitably went to stay at the end of their lives. Knowing the family and the bond they shared, makes it all the more poignant to read about the experiences.

The intricate details of the leave-taking from her family home after her parents passed were as tear-inducing for this reader as the descriptions of the deaths themselves. The end of an era. I could hear the sounds of lilting laughter and the love that coated the walls as much as the paint.

The book also speaks of afterlife communication which may come in the form of dreams or waking conversations. The overarching theme is that all is well, love lingers and healing takes place beyond this incarnation.

Suggestions for moving through this pivotal time include:

  • Love to the best of your ability.
  • Feed your soul. Nourish your spirit.
  • Let go. You can’t control this process.
  • Pray for those who care for your loved ones.
  • Breathe.

Greb is truly a midwife at the end of life and this book, one of the tools that can assist you, should you choose to take on that role.