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Painting: Self Portrait

Jeanne Harris Weaver(4/4/2017)©

In times of traumatic grief, it is hoped that a person has stored up enough grace to see themselves through this most difficult time with compassion and love. Often and sadly, survival instincts come to the forefront and it is very easy to become the person who is thinking only about what they are experiencing. Perhaps they say to themselves. No one else can feel what I am feeling. Why aren’t they considering my feelings? I am grieving too. 


Each of us goes through trauma in our own personal way. There is no right way, there is no wrong way—as long as a person attempts to stay open to other’s feelings. And, just as important, others give them the same consideration. Yes, perhaps an impossible task; but also one of those lessons in life, which brings wisdom once experienced.  


During the past six years since I experienced such traumatic grief in the loss of my son, Todd, I have done a great deal of soul searching. At first, I was not even aware that while I painted the series, Losing Todd A Mother’s Journey and later, while I wrote the book, that I was also searching my heart, searching for truths and  learning in the process. 


Could I have been more compassionate and loving to others? Did my words or actions hurt others while I was in such a fragile state? I hope not. I know I tried to consider others and to be inclusive, as did my family. 


For those who did not consider the depth of the journey I was taking, I do not feel bitterness. As I say in my book, Losing Todd, A Mother’s Journey—


I am also grateful to those, after the first few weeks, whose discomfort did not allow them to share my grief: the promises for lunches that were never followed through…those who thought I should be able to accept my son’s death because I had other children….

They were part of the whole in God’s plan to bring me to where I am today. Solitude (while I painted) allowed me the introspection to observe, listen to God’s whispers, to feel His presence in my being and to build strength and knowledge….Solitude allowed me time to realize and ask forgiveness for my shortcomings and to forgive others for theirs.


If ever I should be tasked to again go through such a journey, I hope the lessons I have learned will aid me in grace. For to take such a journey there needs to be compassion; there needs to be love; there needs to be  forgiveness.  Without forgiveness, a person is left with bitterness, resentment and anger. Those emotions destroy lives and leave lasting raw wounds.  But, with forgiveness there is hope, gratitude, and love. And where you find those graces you will find peace in your heart. 


Mark 11:25 “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

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