The Pathway from Grief to Grace

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of the loss of my son and five other beautiful souls, one of which, besides my son was a part of our family by way of long-term friendship. I always loved her smile though she didn’t talk much, a quiet one which was always a pleasure to have in the house. I love her and her family too still this day. This loss of these five was terribly tragic as I didn’t now the other children or parents I know that they are parents and I saw their babes beautiful smiles as I learned who they were and could see the radiance of the life that was once surging through them. Remembering waking up to this day and this tragic loss every March 6th doesn’t just begin on March 6th as the anxiety and remembrance up to this day is always something I look forward to passing .

There were three survivors from the fire as well that day and I am still concerned about them and their “survivors guilt.” All these “children” were not actually in the age of children they were actually teens and being 10 years now this is more than half of their lives that the souls have been gone and survivors trying to build their lives. I am somewhat hesitant each year to share about my grief in consideration of these beautiful souls and the fact that there is a statement associated with grief about moving on. I do want these survivors to move on and live their best lives, they deserve it. I just hope that for them with all my heart, I don’t know what that looks like for them.

My daughter is a survivor too as she had a car accident and had to be careflighted to the hospital the same morning we lost her brother, and it was her best friend that I speak of when I speak of the beautiful family friend. My daughter had a broken arm and leg but more so had a broken heart. I am so grateful to have her as I could have lost her too, she has her own process. It wasn’t just our family that dealt with this but every March 6th I know that there are also five other families dealing with their grief as well. I am very grateful for the family that I have and the family of the dear friend Vivian, her Mom’s name is Grace, and she is. My Celeste has two Mama’s, myself and Grace.

Getting to the point there is what we know about grief and what we feel about grief. I have shared my story quite a bit and sometimes I cry and sometimes I don’t because sometimes I am sharing from my mind; facts and events. From my heart, I share feelings and hurt, the re-experience. Grief hurts! That is what we know and what we feel. What we do not know is how to process it. There is no exact way or order and I don’t even know if it ends, what I do know and feel is that it transforms. I have gotten to the point that I don’t care if it does end because I know love never dies so I am willing to experience the grief. The grief will not stop with the loss of my son as it didn’t begin with the loss of my son, though I will say that is the hardest loss I have ever had and could not imagine.

All of us experience grief, it starts with our family pets, gosh that is so hard, right? The innocent faithful, playful, loyal pets. They are always at our side going through the different milestones in our lives. Then we think in the grief order and a lot of times we expect that we will then lose a grandparent or an aunt or uncle, we start realizing the love as we see our parents grieve and the actions, thoughts and expressions set us up then for what we know about grief and how we will grieve. Then maybe someone we know or know of tragically dies as we are growing into a young adult and we realize how fragile life is and the surrealness of being here one day and gone the next. Still we may feel somewhat invincible and living life as the children of our parents while we are just beginning to have our own loves and cares separate from them playing grown up though we don’t know this until we are grown and realize how time and things changed, transformed, just as we have through every five to ten years or so.

As we are grown our choices become our own, no one to be responsible for us and protect us anymore, we don’t realize till many years later what a luxury that was if we had it. We don’t realize the love that our parents had for us until we have our own children. Most of us though as we become parents for our own evolution those flaws and even turmoils that we went through in childhood come up to a whole nuther level to be healed as we don’t want our children to suffer the way that we did. The Buddha did say that there will be suffering and we may have thought in childhood not getting to go to the skating rink was what that meant but we know in adulthood we are embarking on a new level of suffering. We want to keep our babies from that so we find ourselves acting and reacting from intergenerational and relational impacts/responses; fight, flight or freeze. We shelter and over-protect or under protect from one extreme to the other. Now we don’t intentionally set out to do this but what we are subconsciously experiencing and acting out on is another part of grief that becomes default based on our fears and acted out on our shortcomings. At this stage in our lives we typically think things are happening to us.

We then start realizing it is the same shit over and over, this is what we call a pattern. We try different people, places, things, situations but we keep feeling the same feelings in different scenarios but underneath it is a sort of “groundhog day,” waking up feeling the same way. We then may seek help when we get sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. We may seek some kind of therapy or recovery, maybe we are addicted to something, codependent, and we all grieve, so where do we go from here?

Nothin changes until something changes. In our adolescence and in our immaturity we may have felt and had expectations that the outside world would change for us just as some of our codependent parents did… or not. At this time of our lives if we choose through our recovery and healing however or whatever place that takes you that we are all connected but each have our own responsibility to heal. Yes, everyone, even people who are seemingly rich, people who are beautiful, people who seem to have it all have something to heal from. We all have our struggles and I do believe the reason love is brought up so many times in the many different faiths is that is what we were all put here to do, I think that the only way to get there is learning to love ourselves and not separate ourselves from the WHOLE.

Many, many people run from their grief through the variety of addictions; substance abuse, overeating, gambling, sex, tv, video games, shopping and etc. I think it is because we are not taught to feel our emotions, as children so many of our emotions are ignored, then to compensate for ignored emotions we try to make up for it with our own children by being codependent then they try to escape this by rebelling only to keep this vicious cycle rampantly growing from generation to generation until someone does the healing work and learns how to communicate their feelings and respect others while not buying into their reality if it doesn’t resonate but loving themselves enough to know that they don’t have to fight. When we love ourselves we can truly love and respect others, we know longer defend or pretend, you know what I mean. We are courageous enough to know when we need to state our thoughts but do so in a loving way, when we do the healing work we know we no longer need to defend our ideas that we don’t need that validation we never received as a child, only healing can bring us that. We can’t just “know” that, it’s not as easy as just being intellectual. Healing is feeling, feeling is letting it go so we can grow and learn that the validation comes form our soul and any interactions our soul makes with another whether we agree or disagree is a holy communion and a genuine, authentic relationship.

My father was an addict, he taught me a lot about addiction, I struggled with addiction. My mother was codependent, I struggled with codependency, she taught me a lot about making excuses for others behavior, being nice. If you think I am trying to be sarcastic or disrespectful think again, these are great gifts and values that have prepared me for this life and purpose. I can tell you that through my struggles, they had them and we all have them that I understand the purpose of these struggles was for the unveiling of my own gifts. Some even say we choose these lives and are the characters of our own stories and when we take ownership of our lives we realize we have the pen or now the keys to transform and write our story because nothin changes till we do. As an adult we know it is our responsibility that change isn’t coming from the outside in when we stop the addiction and sit with ourselves. As I said my addiction is a “WE” thing, I did not stop by myself, I don’t think one can recover by themselves.

So where does all of this tie into grief? Well if you have read this closely you are about to see. Just as this story may seem to have twists and turns so do our lives, our stories. Everything we are experiencing now and how we think and feel is setting us up for our thinking and feeling for tomorrow, when we realize this we are in a growing and evolving state, this creates our “path.”

Melody Beattie and Dr. Drew say that under addiction there is codependency and under that there are 500 different types of grief, just WOW!!! That many! I have worked the steps in recovery and continue to be in recovery, as you see I have a healthy fear of these issues returning if I am not learning and helping others, recovery taught me about service and service taught me that I have a higher purpose in this life. Everyday I am so grateful for my recovery!

Through the help of others sponsoring me and helping me through my addiction, codependency, finance and romance, grief, then just taking a step and a look back I have gotten to see and track my recovery. What I see is that due to my working on my addiction my kids never were neglected or saw me messed up, I was present. Through the work on codependence I was able to allow and understand what was my business, God’s business, and someone else’s business and that not everything was about me. This means when loss and grief come it is not from what I did, I will have feelings and I will feel them and continue healing. From working the steps this many times and having this understanding when I lost my son in the physical because of the spiritual programs not religious I have been able to grow my relationship with my eclectical higher power each and every time I worked the steps, I have evolved through working the steps with these sweet generous souls that taught me to share, that is what I am doing now. When I lost my son and my daughter was struggling, what was a reservation when I first came to recovery became that grace that I speak about, I was not alone, though I felt alone until I didn’t. I believe the grace came from so many sending me energy/prayers and the parent’s that went on before me in this grief process sending me so much love. Through recovery I learned how to receive love once I did the work with a compassionate but firm sponsor/sponsors. We are all allowed our “Breakfast Club” quirkiness, we take off the masks and become who we are destined to be, another human helping another human in the many facets of our lives.

So when that fateful day came 10 years ago while I didn’t know it that day as I posted this quote the other day as my grief is still a process and just as individual as my God, I don’t need validation from the outside on either. Sometimes I feel pain because I loved my son with all my heart and I miss him. I accept that there is a bigger picture as we say the Serenity Prayer in recovery, it’s not just for things like the loss of break-ups, jobs, things that can change, it is also the things we cannot change, sometimes we, as humans forget that don’t we? even when we say it every day. Physical death is something we cannot change, that is why it is the biggest grief of all.

“When I think about that sunrise that I woke up to that morning, I just felt like I got as close to nowhere as I could get, and found out that it was more of a place than anywhere I have been in a long time,” ~ Hank Green

My feelings and thoughts about grief and the transformation to grace.

Through the spiritual program and honestly people who lost their children that I admired before I even had children I knew that I could continue to live but more importantly that when I saw my son struggling with addiction I did not say things that I regret because I understand addiction. I could continue to live when some people thought I may self-sabotage as many stated they didn’t know how I could, that was messed up and a codependent way we have been taught to think either at home or through songs, had I not been introduced to codependence and done the work I too would have caved to those thoughts. I am grateful for my path and the people that have been on it each and every step of the way and in each and every way, all of those who have supported me from family, friends but especially recovery ~ you all still hold a special place in my heart and your genuine energy I still feel today whether you have sponsored me or I have sponsored you. Know that we do recover and keep recovering. It is a gift that has enabled me to live this life and continue to extend and expand because without recovery that is when we tend to constrict and contract. I can give what I have because I was willing to receive.

I learned from my Dad to hold back love, I learned from my Mom to extend love, neither was love but both were because it was what they had and that was good enough. When we do the healing work we learn to discern who to extend that love to and who we are compatible with instead of picking out of subconscious default for our healing. But picking out of subconscious default is what we do until we don’t. Healing allows harmony.

There is always a bigger picture going on and you are the writer of your story. Does your story include heroes, have your heroes experienced loss? Most of the movies where we pick heroes have, so I encourage you to be the hero of your life. Heal and love those along your path, finding a healthy balance between loving yourself and others, that means uncover the you that you are intended to be, alive and free. That is what I wish for my son, Vivian and all the others on the other side. I feel like our healing is healing them too, I do believe there is a connection between our DNA, “sins of the father,” and healing.

My Calvin, I think he was part of my consciousness before he was born and I still believe he was part of my consciousness. I shared a video on the process dealing with grief; from grief to grace, if you would like to watch it on my YouTube channel, Stacey Renee.

I have learned through my words, actions and deeds to just speak from my heart to share respect for other souls, so all of this has just been from what I know and what I feel. I share hoping it will help someone, if it just helps one I am just as happy if it helps many. I don’t know if this made much sense, I am not writing to be popular I am writing for purpose, that is what grace has given me, the ability to help.

If you are new or old to the grieving process I wish you much love and many prayers.

Thank you for reading! I am gradually realizing I can tell my story.

4 thoughts on “The Pathway from Grief to Grace”

  1. Thank you for sharing that. Although I don’t pretend to know your pain, I do know your love – your connection. I truly believe these connections we have with one another never die. Much love ❤

    1. Thanks so much beautiful for being a part of my journey! Thanks for holding space for me then and now.

      I love you!

      ps. I came through and edited this so it makes better sense now, well a little…

      Thanks for reading!

  2. You are an amazing woman! You have this huge capacity to love and nurture. ❤️My life and my family’s lives are forever changed because you are in them. We have learned so much from you. I am so grateful for you💕

    1. Thanks so much darlin! It is truly an honor and a pleasure to be a part of yours and your family’s life. Y’all are amazing!

      I love y’all very much!

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