You’re probably familiar with the five stages of loss and grief. You might be less familiar with the five stages of tasks and grief.
- Plan the funeral/memorial service
- Attend/host/participate in said service
- Write thank you’s
- Make 57,000 calls and hunt through paperwork related to legal and billing matters
- Sort, purge, give, save paperwork and material possessions.
We have completed tasks one, two and three, made a significant dent in task four, and will spend the rest of our lives on task five. Just kidding. Sort of. Love you Dad, you paper lover you!
Last week I intentionally thought about trust in regards to this post. Trust, trust, trust. Hmmmm. What have you been teaching me? Nothing was coming to the surface.
Trust, trust, where are you trust?
And then like a whack-a-mole at the carnival, up she popped. Trust me (see how she can sneak into conversations!), when I say it never occurred to me during the fall and into January when trust was stalking me, to think of trust in the legal sense. As in, “a trust.”
Per stage four of the tasks of grief, the language of family trust, individual trust, and trustee have entered our vocabulary. Isn’t it interesting how the brain works? Though we’ve been using these words, because it was in a legal context, I never thought of them in terms of, you know, real trust.
I truly don’t understand much about trusts, but looking at the basics, a trust protects the assets of a person and guarantees the assets will go to the person(s) designated in the trust.
So, in summary:
- There are relationships
- There are valuables, and
- There is a legacy
In our case, there is the relationship between a man and his family (dare I say “beloved” family without sounding too cheesy?). The valuables are not the focus so much as the legacy. The valuables allow for my father to continue to provide for his wife of nearly 50 years, even though he has died.
Really, isn’t that what trust is about? Trust doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Sunday morning I woke up with the strongest need for a liturgical service. So instead of turning left, my car went right and I attended a local church I’d visited once before, sitting in the back row on the left side. At one point we introduced ourselves so I knew I was sitting next to Art and behind Marilyn and her husband whose name has left me. They had a time a prayer where people wrote prayers, added to a prayer mural, and or participated in other forms of individual prayer. Near the end of the prayer time we were asked to hold hands for corporate prayer.
I held hands with Art and the man I can’t remember his name. As I stood there, a part of the body of Christ, praying, I started to tear up thinking of the last older man’s hand I’d held.
In the hospital and hospice as he prepared to die. Art’s hand was warm, the other gentleman’s cooler, both lovely living hands. I miss my dad’s hand. I cannot put into words why or how holding those hands ministered to me in a deep way. That is part of the mystery and the majesty of the gospel.
We sang Precious Lord, Take My Hand just before we were dismissed. I know, right?!
After we were dismissed I turned to Art and said, “I might cry” –warning him –“but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed holding your hand. My dad recently died and as I held your hand I was reminded of holding his hand.” Art went from looking a bit suspicious to smiling that smile you get when you’ve been used by God, but you didn’t know it.
He hugged me. And his hearing aid squeaked just like my dad’s used to when I hugged him.
The journey with trust continues. A trust is needed because death is still part of our story. But someday, someday, we will not need trusts. No, on that day, trust will be enough.
January whispered trust uses both hands. She holds the present in one hand and the long view in the other.
February joined in with trust can build a bridge others walk on. Our parents built a bridge out of their lives for our family and others to walk on; so though this is an unpleasant path, we are together in the decision and traveling in a pack, albeit a weepy one!
March offered a legal life lesson. Trust doesn’t happen in a vacuum; ultimately trust is about relationships, valuables, and legacy.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t think God would bring trust to life in such variety and I get a bit nervous the lessons will wane. But that seems the opposite of trust, doesn’t it! Apparently I’ve still got a ways to go.
Here’s the deal for the link-up:
- Every third Tuesday I’ll host a link up. Trust + Tuesday + Third = three T’s and I don’t have to mark my calendar with different dates! Just remember TTT. The next one will be on April 15th (Tax day in the US!) and you can get more details here. The link up will be open for one week, after one week, you’ll need to wait until the next month.
- Please link back the link-up, either by using the Trusting Tuesday picture or simply a text link.
- I’ve also started a Pinterest Oneword365 board and want it to be a community board (meaning let’s have our Oneword365 posts all in one place!). Check it out!
- If you miss a month, don’t beat yourself up. This will go on for the next twelve months and isn’t meant to overload you or make you feel guilty. We’re going to be a group of cheerleaders.
[inlinkz_linkup id=383694 mode=1]
Trust & rest…”Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…take me deeper than my feet could ever wander…for I am Yours…”
Trust without borders.
Now that is one to meditate on.
Thank you Susan :)
This is so beautiful and gave me a lot to think about. Peace to you guys as you continue to adjust to life without your dad.
Thanks Brenda :) … thankfully, God has been merciful to us. BUT it still is a lot to take in, that’s for SURE.
Beth Coulton says
Hi Amy! I just found the link up – will hope to be contributing shortly.
Great Beth … it will be open until next Tuesday :)
Sarah Skinner says
Good points…there are relationships…there are valuables…there is a legacy.
Still sorting through my Grandma’s things from Dec. 2012.
My one word this year is present. This month I am learning the irony of being fully present right where I am…means I am completely absent from everywhere else. No blog…just that little gem.
Sarah from OR…transplanted to VA.
Present is powerful! Gems are welcome :)
Amy L. says
Holding back tears reading this!
I know you know, friend!
Hi, Amy! Late, but here. And so thankful to read your words. I love that comment about the smile of being used by God when you didn’t even know. That’s the best, isn’t it? Praying that your heart is holding lots of lovely memories, and yet still growing a little less weary from grief.