Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stages of Grief...

As life slowly returns to "normal" and the shock of Sara's death subsides, I can look back and see the different stages of grief that I have been experiencing. Initially, there was SHOCK. Then came the DISBELIEF and now I am going through the FRUSTRATION of living life without my wife.

As I was talking to one of our good friends about the frustration, she said, "I expected that...you were a very "well taken care of" husband." Sara was an AMAZING housewife. She loved being a housewife. She loved to make my coffee. She loved to cook for me. She DID NOT love to clean for me, but did it anyways, because she loved me. I would always ask her if she was having fun while cleaning...she always told me NO! As I find myself doing ALL the jobs around the house (that Sara used to do) I get frustrated. This phase will pass in due time.

Chloe and I enjoyed our time in Houston. As I was driving to Houston, all of a sudden, I thought about going to the cemetery. I called the cemetery and they said that Sara's headstone had recently arrived and had been erected. A wave of emotion hit me as I thought about seeing her grave.

On Thanksgiving morning, Chloe and I headed to Houston National Cemetery. As I was pulling on to the property, another wave of emotion hit...I could not believe that I was about to see Sara's grave. As I was driving through the cemetery, I saw a man kneeling down at a grave. "How sad!" I said to myself. Then it hit me - I was going to be that man in a few minutes...and I had our baby daughter with me.



After we had been there for about 10 minutes a group of 3 ladies walked up and were visiting the grave of their family member (who is buried right in front of Sara). I said hello to them, and then heard them whispering and crying. I turned around and they were reading Sara's headstone. They asked if she was my wife and I gave them a 2 minute rundown of the past 11 months. Tears flowed...

Then, they took this photo for me.


In a previous posting, I said that "firsts" have proven difficult. I now know how it feels to visit the grave of my wife and expect the next time to be easier.

Here are a few pictures from our time in Houston...

Jon (my younger brother)

Jay (my older brother)

Larry (my dad)



Naptime

Sara's Fam

Being with family over the holidays was great, but there was something missing. I recently explained my feelings by saying, "I am content with where I am, but I do not feel complete."

As the stages of grief progress, I have read that there will be a time when 24 hours pass without me thinking about Sara. That is difficult to comprehend because currently, I think about her at least 24 times with each hour that passes.


Grief is a process, not a state. --Anne Grant

Grief is itself a medicine. --William Cowper

He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it. --Turkish Proverb

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. --Matthew 5:4

79 comments:

Kate said...

I'm continuing to pray for you and Chloe. Thanks for keeping us all updated on your lives.

FSD said...

Speechless but praying. I'm so sorry you're going through this, Brady. My heart aches for Chloe and you.

triplem1168 said...

God Bless you.
Love, from WIsconsin

Brad Lane said...

Psalm 34:18

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

D M Dunn said...

Thank you, Brady, for continuing to allow us walk this path with you.

Carrie said...

I love that close-up of Chloe looking at the camera. She is beautiful.

I was reading your story (again) earlier today and in one of your posts you said something about (after the chemo for Sara) getting used to a "new normal". Once again you are experiencing a new normal and I am praying for you and Chloe during this time.

TAVA... said...

Whatta man... God has some amazing things lined up for you and Chloe... He must. I think of the two of you often and cry reading every one of your blog entries.... Side note, you are a great blogger/writer... I miss her too.

mattrodgers said...

I'm amazed at your strength and courage! You're in my prayers! Keep the faith!

God Bless,
Matt

Psalm112 said...

I am constantly amazed by your strength and grateful that it appears you have many Aggies by your side as you walk through this (WHOOP!!)!

My husband is a cancer survivor, diagnosed at age 26. So, there are many emotions I can understand, but many that I can not. Know that we pray for you and Chloe and are inspired by the path the Lord has for you!

Kate said...

I am praying for you and Chloe- you are very brave.

The Duráns said...

Praying for you both as you adjust and continue going through the stages of grief.

Carly Peters said...

Thank you for sharing. Every time I come across your blog I read it and usually cry every time. Chloe is beautiful and it seems you are doing a wonderful job. I've not been through what you have but I can't imagine it. It is good to see the Lord taking care of you every step of the way, He is growing you right now. I can see it through your posts. If you ever get transfered to Travis AFB in Vacaville, Ca. look up Crossroads Christian Church. We are praying for your family!

Jusika The Blogger said...

God will get you through this time Brady. My prayers are with you. You are doing a GREAT job with where you are at.

Wolfgirl60203 said...

We love you guys so much. I'm sure I'm not the only person who cried reading this post; I just can't imagine how unreal this holiday season feels for you. I was just thinking about how we spent Christmas Eve last year at you and Sara's house! That White Elephant gift exchange was hilarious!! :) Well anyway, we miss you and are thinking of you. Chloe is prettier every day. God Bless both of you...
Love, The Wolfards

Sara Graham said...

You do not know me, but I have been following your blog after being told your story by a friend of a friend.

You and Chloe are in my continual prayers. I cannot imagine the grief you have felt and will continue to feel, but I know the peace of God which surpasses ALL understanding, is guarding your heart and mind. I hope knowing that people all over the world are praying for you brings you some relief that you are not alone in your crying out to God.

May God bless you and your sweet baby girl. We will continue to pray for His will, comfort, and joy in your lives.

Sara Graham
wife of MAJ Jasen Graham, USA
Charleston, SC

Kristin said...

May God Bless you and Chloe always.

Victoria said...

Brady, you are a very strong man. You have shown us all real courage and trust in God. Thank you. God Bless.

Amanda said...

Your still in my thoughts and prayers! The Lord is with you during this difficult time! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

bass family said...

I would like to say a deep and heartfelt "thank you" for sharing your journey. It takes an incredible amount of strength to be so vulnerable... as ironic as that sounds. I did not know my husband when his first wife passed away and he was left alone with a young daughter. In so many ways, I feel like I am watching his grief process as well, the one that I was not able to witness myself. My heart hurts for you and Chloe, and it hurts anew for my husband and my sweet Maggie... who I love as my very own, even though I neither carried her in my womb or gave birth to her. I so wish you could meet my husband. I have no idea what to say... but he would... because he's been exactly where you have been. For now, I'm just continuing to pray. For you, for Chloe, for your family, for Sara's family. The road you walk is a long and difficult one. Keep your eyes on the Light.

Stephanie said...

Praying for you and the new life that you are living. May God bring yuo comfort and peace, and allow you to be the best father to sweet Chloe, as you already are.

The Lugo's said...

You have such amazing strength Brady. Praying for you and sweet Chloe!

Krystina

Kate said...

thank you for posting this update. while I cried the entire time, i am amazed by your strength, love and faith. i can only hope to find someone with the same characteristics in my own life.
praying for you, your families and chloe- who by the way- ABSOLUTE DOLL!!!

Tiffany said...

always in my thoughts & prayers!

Christy said...

A mantra many bereaved cancer mom's (which I'm part of) say is the only "normal" is a setting on the dryer. In the first days, weeks,and months sometimes all you can do is one minute at a time, then one day at a time, then one week at a time, one month at a time. It's been 9 1/2 years since my little girl went to Jesus, I don't think there's a day I don't think of her, it's just the the pain of thinking of her isn't always there. Grief is a long process and there's no time limit on it (although others want there to be). On the days where all you can do is breath in and out, know that GOD's the one helping your chest move and your lungs do their job, he's holding you tightly.

Clementsville: Population of 4! said...

praying very hard for your family! Comfort is in Him!

Blessings!

Katie

www.clementsville.blogspot.com

ourcircle said...

Oh, man. That picture of Chloe and Sara's grave just ripped me apart. I don't even know you, yet I sit here crying my eyes out. It breaks my heart that Chloe will have to wait until Heaven to know her mom. She couldn't have hoped for a better dad, though. Wow.

The Lammys said...

Thank you for graciously sharing your lives with us. We continue to pray for you and Chloe, especially during the Holidays. We're praying that God will turn your mourning into dancing.

Here at home said...

Brady, you are in the prayers of many thousands. There is so much power in prayer. I hope you feel every one of those prayers. We are all mourning along with you and are grateful for your faith in the Savior. He truly does have a plan for you and Chloe.
Here last week, we had a young man, 26, who got caught in a cave and after 28 hours of trying to get him out, he succumed to the pressure of being stuck for so long. He was a Med. student in Va. and was home visiting his family for Thanksgiving. He leaves behind a pregnant wife and baby daughter. Please include them in your prayers.

Lil' K said...

You are in my prayers. You are an amazing father, and Chloe is lucky to have you as a dad.

Kyle and Paige Patterson said...

thank you. you are a blessing to our family. soli deo gloria.

paige and kyle

stmurattler said...

We will be thinking of you and praying for you this Friday! And also rejoicing in the many lives You, Sara, and Chloe Grace have touched! You are loved, and will never be forgotten!

We will feel all of you here in spirit!

Love,
Lauren

da momma said...

You dont know me - I forget how I found your blog, but that doesnt even matter...you are a strong man and God knows you are a good daddy! Im sure you were a wonderful husband - you can tell by the way you speak of your wife. Im praying for you and know that God will shine through your grief! He knows your pain and holds you in His lap!

Kel said...

We continue to pray for you and Chloe and Sara's family as well. This is the first holiday season without her so sure it will be a hard one. But God will walk with you through it ..as I see Him doing in your writings and pictures. I am sure she is so proud of you becoming mr mom as well as F/T dad and Pilot. Thank you btw for your service to our country in spite of your grief. My daughter spent her first holiday in Germany away from home. It is your story that helped her enjoy it instead of be sad she wasn't home. Take care and can't wait to see the next batch of photos. She is growing so fast! Hugs from Houston

Jenilee said...

I do not comment often but I read each time you write and I'm praying for you and your daughter. We recently lost my 25 year old brother in law and I can relate to many of your feelings. The stages of grief are very real. Praying for you as you go through the coming weeks.

Isaiah 43:1-3

Anne said...

Thank you so much for continuing to update and post pictures of Chloe. She's just beautiful and has so many who love her.

Linsey said...

Man. I don't know if you read all these comments, but I felt inclined to leave one.

Sometimes like just sucks. Like, really sucks. Growing up in church helps us see the "big picture", but that doesn't always make the sucky parts that much easier.

Trust me when I say that one day all of this will feel more like a dream, not even a nightmare, but a dream. It will take time, and it will aways suck, but it will pass. No the memories, but the hurt/frusterations...the grief.

Hang in there and allow your body to feel the emotions it needs to feel in order to heal. And love on that sweet baby girl...even in the middle of the night when you have gotten up for the umpteenth time and all you want to do is SLEEP!!! It all will pass, don't miss it.

Toni :O) said...

Wow...such a hard post I'm sure you had writing. So sad and I'm so, so sorry for your grief. Here's hoping and praying each day gets a bit easier for you. Chloe is a very lucky and special little lady to have you for a Daddy.

jamiebeth04 said...

Your story is heartbreaking yet your message is beautiful. The calm of the storm will one day be here. Your faith is amazing and Chloe is a lucky girl to have you as her father. Praying for your strength and encouragement as you face each day.

Justine said...

Your posts are always so beautifully written! Thank you for sharing. God Bless, and hang in there. You are SO strong!

Donna said...

I attended a funeral of a friend today. It was said that when you give to yourself, you take that to the grave. When you give to others, you become immortal. Sara has now become immortal. God bless you and Chloe. She is quite the beauty!

Lisa Brown said...

I have followed for the last few months and you, Chloe, and both families are being held up in prayer. Much love from Arkansas.

Colleen said...

I check in on you and the Friedmans every night via your blogs, and every night I cry for all of you...especially so tonight. I can tell both you and Rabbi are sorrowfully missing your wives, and my heart aches for both of you.
--Colleen Kolsti

Kelli said...

Thinking of you and Chloe and whispering a prayer!! Chloe is just beautiful!!!

Lindsay said...

Chloe is so beautiful. I pray for you and your family each night. For the comfort and peace that you need each day.

Gretchen said...

My heart is broken for you. Many prayers for you & Chloe.

Bess said...

My heart aches for you, and I'm sorry that you have to go through all this. But I'm sure that God is always with you, giving you the strength and peace that you need. Hold on to Him, He will never fail you. I'll continue to pray for you.

Courtney said...

My heart hurts so badly for you..Thinking of and praying for you tonight.

Lysandra said...

My heart breaks for you.

Steve and Dee said...

Brady-
Here's the blog page to the utah man who died while stuck in a cave over thanksgiving. Maybe you might have some insight that can be helpful to wife who now will raise their daughter and soon to be another child on her own.
http://emsandjohn.blogspot.com/

Mrs. Lady Sofia said...

This is my first time to your blog. I found it via a link to a blog that I visit on occassion.

My heart is aching for you, and I am in near tears. I can't know the pain you feel. I am hoping and praying that God will heal your wounds, for only He can do this.

You and your daughter, Chloe will be in my thoughts and prayers . . . I am very sad that this has happened.

The Vestel's said...

My husband is a fellow F-16 guy and we knew the Friedmans in Italy. I hope you don't mind that I religiously follow your blog, and so touched by your story. God bless.

Beth said...

Thank you for putting into words what you are feeling, it helps to read other people's stages of grief, realizing that I'm not alone. This post made me cry, I so ache for you and your daughter. One verse that has been constantly on my mind this last week or so is Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy!

luke, i am your mother said...

We are still praying for you and Chloe both. Your strength is amazing, and it's beyond inspiring. Thank you for continuing to allow all of us to keep up with your family. Lots of love sent your way.

The Howell Family - Atlanta, GA

Josh, Erica, Garrett, and Haylee said...

I go to church with a family that lost their 51 year old mom, grandmother, wife, etc....to breast cancer last year (Jan 10 will be a year). They have said that they are so anxious for the year of FIRST to be over. I thought of you when I was talking with them. I am praying for you and your year of FIRST!!
PS....Chloe looks like her Momma!!!

Mommy said...

We think and pray for you even if we don't know you. You are doing a GREAT job in all you do. I'm so impressed with your courage.

P.S. I put a little gift in the mail for Chloe. I hope you receive it soon :)

Merry Christmas!

Alex and Jill said...

My heart aches for you and Chloe...the picture of you both by Sara's grave brought me to tears.

Praying for you...

The Giordano's said...

There is nothing better than support from a wonderful family. God Bless you and Chloe in your new journeys and stages. May your life on day feel complete again.

Ashley Andreano Photography said...

Thank you for sharing... God Bless You!

mikeandmelissafisher said...

Still praying for you and Chloe. Thanks for writing, you are impacting lives worldwide.

Glad to here the Ruffins are headed your way soon...can never have too many friends nearby, right?

Stephanie said...

I was a student of your mother's and have been following your blog. Your continued strength and reliance on God to help you through your darkest days is so encouraging. A passage came to mind when I was reading your latest entry and I wanted to share:

1 Samuel 20:18 : Then Jonathan said, "Tomorrow we celebrate the new moon festival. You will be missed when your place at the table is empty."

Ashley Shepherd said...

You have many comments and I am not sure you will get this one. You are an amazing Godly man and HE has given you a gift of conveying your emotions and HIS LOVE through this unspeakable hardship. I wanted to let you know that there is way to Make Your Blog a Book. I just thought that there are so many lives and hearts touched by Sarah's Story and your sweet family that this would be a good way to have a keepsake of your journey. Chloe is truly blessed!

Pita said...

I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago, and have been continually following up on it. Since first reading it, I've continued to pray for both you and Chloe, but I've also been inspired by your faith during such a horrible time. Just three short weeks ago, my brother was taken from us so suddenly,and it's what I've read and learned from your blog that has helped see me through this horrible time. Thank you for that.

laura said...

May God continue to bless you and your beautiful daughter, Chloe. Prayers for you all from NJ.

Andrea said...

Grief is so hard and I am mutteling through it myself. If only there were a script for the process, but there is not, so we walk day by day and let "him" direct our steps. And those days we find it hard to carry on, we ask for guidance and pray for the strength to put one foot in front of another.

Today, I remind myself of this pep talk that I'm passing along to you, as I'm working to find my way through grief of losing a child. Know that you are making Sara proud, and honoring her in such a beautiful way. Chloe will always be a great testament of the love you share and through her you will always have Sara near by.

May God bless you as you find your way...

lindsaymeyer said...

I still derive so much strength from reading your blog as a complete stranger. I can't imagine how difficult the last few weeks have become. Sarah is smiling down on you always. You're doing an amazing job as a new - single - parent.

He Gives Us Manna said...

Sara and I the same age and we had our babies just 13 days apart. So I think of her and Chloe often (sometimes cry)...and pray for you and Chloe. Your a great dad! Thank you for sharing about your grief, It was, as always :) hard for me to read, esecially when I'm holding Moses in my arms...but always so good and I learn so much.
Blessings,
The Adams in Bremerton WA

Danielle.Ervin said...

It takes more courage than I can even imagine to be so honest about your grief. You are an amazing person and I pray for you and your GORGEOUS little girl. Happy Holidays

LoganTodd said...

Our little family is praying for you! You are amazing!

Randi said...

Just wanted to thank you so much for continuing to post and let us know how you and your Chloe angel are doing. Thank you. Love, Randi

Sara Mac said...

Oh, wow...she's getting big! Can't wait to see that little personality blossom. Thanks for keeping up with the posts and pictures.

動力 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
christina said...

"The experience of loss does not have to be the defining moment of our lives. Instead, the defining moment can be our response to the loss. It is not what happens to us that matters so much as what happens in us. It's about the grace that can transform us in the midst of sorrow. and joy not after the darkness, but even in the midst of it."

i am witnessing the grace that is transforming you. I know it doesn't always FEEL that way..and most times, feels like an unfair trade, but you are showing us all how to walk this journey with joy in the darkness. praying for you, walking with you.

Tiffany said...

I have an award for you on my blog.

Dream's Do Come True

Molly said...

Brady, I'm a stranger, but a sister. So many times, the Lord brings you to mind and I am burdened to pray. My husband and I think of you often. Your love for your daughter is such a vivid picture of God's love for us. Rarely do you see a father being the sole care-giver of an infant and in the midst of such heavy sorrow. No greater love has a man, than that he lay down his life for a friend (or daughter). WE will continue to pray for you.
I am also a portrait artist and have thought that I would offer to do a piece of artwork including you, Sarah and Chloe. If you would like one. God bless you brother...may the grace and peace of God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ continue to hold you both.

Peppermint Patty said...

Just keep in mind that you may go back and forth through the various stages of grief, but God IS good and faithful and He is there with you and Chloe. EVERY DAY through EVERY stage!

Terren said...

Keep strong. The stages of grief are ever changing. I lost my wife 1.5 years ago and have been living one day at a time ever since. My little girls have helped me through it and hope yours does as well. Their little faces will still look up at you for comfort and guidance and give you purpose.

Miss Amy said...

I have been reading your story for a while now. At first it seemed weird to me to read such a personal story about a complete stranger. A very dear friend of mine told me about your blog, I think in part to help me. I lost my husband three years ago. He and I were so close he felt like half of me. He went to work one morning and was shot and killed that afternoon. I really don’t know why I am telling you all of this, I guess I just wanted you to know that hearing your story and reading about your incredible faith has been a great help to me. It has made me feel less alone. I know it seems so very weird to hear something like this from a stranger…it seems weird for me to be typing all this. I just wanted to Thank You for sharing your story with us and I also want you to know that it does get better. You will never get over it, but as time passes it truly does hurt less and less. Once again Thank you and may God keep you and your family safe. Merry Christmas.

Ashley said...

This post made me think of my Grandpa. He and my Grandma were married for almost 50 years when she passed away. One of the things he said was that once his underwear/clothes ran out he had no idea how to wash them. Once he figured out the washer and figured out how to fold he said he always put his underwear on backwards because she folded them different. He was in his early 70's when she passed away and I always hurt for him wondering how he would do it all alone- my Grandma was such a homemaker!

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families constantly. Your amazing!

Rachel said...

Brady,
Oh my word, the tears flowed seeing you and sweet Chloe at Sara's grave. I have not cried like that in months and a wave of my own grief journey after losing two husbands came like a raging flood over me. Wow, thank you for your honesty, for the rawness, for the sincerity and for your love of our sweet Jesus. Please know we are and continue to pray for you. I know the frustration you feel first hand but I also know that joy, unspeakable, and glory, unaccomplished, by any other mean except through death. DAvis and Campbell have two fathers in heaven and Chloe has the ultimate in an earthly father, legacy of an unmatched mother, and HER PERFECT DADDY, Jesus Christ, that she will know in a way that most children never will. Praying for strength for you through the holdiays. Thank you for grieving so publicly with pain-tempered joy so people can see that WE ARE commanded to not grieve like those who do not KNOW HIM! Praise be to GOd!!!
In Him,
Rachel Faulkner
friend of Kyle and Carrie