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“Open your arms to life! Let it strut into your heart in all its messy glory!”
 
–Deborah Wiles

Ways Our Loved Ones Influence Us from The Grave

Heartlinks Grief Center presented the launch of We Lost Her  on November 16th, National Grieving Children’s Day.  It was held at the 4204 Main St. Brewery in Belleville, Illinois.  Heartlinks hosted our “Book and a Brew” and so many people came.  We sold out of books! 

The influence to have the first book signing, the launch, at a brewery is undoubtedly from my Dad, not my Mom.  As he did, I do so enjoy a good beer, and 4204’s beer is delicious.  The atmosphere was one of fun and comradery as people greeted each other and enjoyed a beer while I signed their books. 

Many had already read the book, purchasing it on Amazon, and they shared their feelings about the book.  This was such a humbling blessing for me.  One friend told me how she’d lost two brothers and her father when she was a child.  And how the book brought that grief back and helped her work through it.  A cousin related how she pushed down her grief when her mother died, trying to act as if she was fine instead of allowing herself to grieve.  And that the book made her realize everyone grieves differently and it helped her to understand she is not alone. 

Tears were shed as some recalled something that touched them in the book or brought back their own feelings of loss. 

Others that remembered her offered memories of our Mom, Delores Mueller.  Little tidbits so precious to me that I didn’t know, connections to our family that had not been understood. 

Four of my siblings were there, Gary, Betty, Bill, and Dan.  I was so grateful they shared this night with me.  Anne and Tom weren’t able to come, but they were there in spirit.  Many of my nieces and nephews were there, too. 

The biggest influence of the night for me was that wonderful, peace-filled feeling of Mom’s presence.  As people talked about her and related their experiences to me, I felt she was there, smiling, blessing us all.

Her influence has had a profound impact on my life, even more so from the grave, perhaps.  In Chapter 17 of We Lost Her I discuss “Learnings” with you, dear reader.  These are the five insights from the seven of us on grief.  The first is on influence from the grave:

“First, a person’s life can be influenced by someone who dies maybe even more than by someone still living.  Several of us measured many of our daily actions, big and little decisions over all these years, by what Mom would think of that – would it please her as she looked down on us?  The What Would Jesus Do (“WWJD?”) question became for some of us (“WWMT?”) What Would Mom Think?  If she had been here, she would have provided us with her guidance sometimes, but since she wasn’t, we got to do the interpreting.  We tried to honor what she’d wanted for us.”

Your deceased loved one’s influence can come in many ways.  From working hard to honor what they wanted for your life to working hard to emulate a trait you admired in that person, like kindness or honesty.  Even if they are not with you in the flesh, we can honor their spirit by our actions.

The very best influence from the book launch was what Diana Cuddeback, Director of Heartlinks Grief Center, shared with me.  That morning, she had a referral call from a person who had seen the article on We Lost Her in the Okawville Times, (a local newspaper), ordered and read the book and called Heartlinks to refer a young family that had recently lost their mother and they are scheduled to come for an appointment with Heartlinks.  That is the best outcome of all from the book, that it may help others in their grief journey.  WWMT (What Would Mom Think?) – I think she would be proud.

We grow stronger together.

Be blessed,

Ellen