The Little Prayer Book That Could and Did

Subtitled: Are You Grieving and Hurting Right Now and Think You Might Be Crazy?

Introduction: "Pfwheww"! ~ This is a hard one.

I have this story I want to share.  I have been in writer's avoidance of doing so because to put it to words means I have to re-visit some deeply personal and painful places in my psyche and mind and share them. Even though I feel healed and wholeness now, it is very difficult to 'look back on the sad days' so to say.

 My main social media is twitter and several people have recently come under my observation at having lost to death very meaningful people in their lives this past three months. Some are folks who don't follow me and I don't follow them, I just heard about what happened through the 'twittervine'.

So here I am attempting to reach beyond myself with the hope, this little blog post will reach out, touch and positively impact one person who may be feeling empty, completely alone, perhaps in question of their own sanity and is deeply grieving.
* * *
I've been widowed twice. I've been widowed more years than I've been married. My first and early life widowhood meant that I still had a child to raise.  That story is best left to another day, except to say I felt the need to focus on raising the child and trying to re-establish 'normalcy'. I stuffed my grief way down inside. I did not fully process it. Doing this came back to bite me and bite me hard.

I was blessed with a late in life marriage. We were married exactly to the day two months short of our sixth wedding anniversary when cancer took his physical presence from me. He died fast, exactly two months after receiving his terminal diagnosis.

I told another blogger we were really quite ordinary together, but this man did remarkable work at breaking down my brick walls of not truly being able to accept love.  Up unto I married this man, I could receive love, but never fully accept love as in trust it. I trusted him, he trusted me and not to overly romanticize it all, we had a beautiful marriage as marriages go. Life was not perfect, neither were we, but we certainly belonged together. The fact we were together made living more vibrant, fun and so much easier through the tougher times. This man loved me fiercely and I loved him fiercely and was it overly egotistical of me to be raging angry I could not save him from cancer or dying?

After the services are over, everyone goes back to their lives and living as they should.  I didn't know what my life was anymore. He and I had been each other's lives. I shut down. I had thoughts, I could still think. I just couldn't talk except to my beloved dog. My beloved dog was grieving every bit as much as I was. My husband's love for that dog had 'stolen my dog'.  Inside I was overwhelmed by fears,  fears about nothing, fears about something, fears about everything.  The emotional pain I was feeling overwhelmed me, it consumed me.

My daughter was busy, yet she would check in on me. I can recall many times she said "Mama, I'm worried about you."  I would nod my head,  I simply couldn't find the words to respond. She would talk on from that point and I would listen and continue to nod my head. The worst of the worst of it all was I couldn't even pray. I've have always been a person with great faith in God and I couldn't even pray. I would open my Bible to read it and the print was so busy to my eyes and my energy and life force so lacking I could make no sense of anything on the pages.

I would misplace my car keys, I would leave the house to run an errand and forget where I was at or where I was going. I would lose my way, get back on track, get to the store and forget what I came to the store for having misplaced or left at home the scribbled list I had made for myself.  Fortunately the one stop sign and the one traffic signal I ran did not result in accidents or citations. I would jump in startle when the telephone rang. I would think who in the world would be calling me and unless the caller ID showed me it was my daughter or grandson, I wouldn't answer that phone.

I don't recall how many days or weeks passed.  I kept trying to keep house, to fix a bite to eat for myself.  I kept trying to stay busy (keep moving) but that pain would ambush me and wash over me in waves. It was big, bad and bold pain that felt like it had come right off the ocean and was pulling me off the shore and into the deep. I could not process the pain, neither could I process the fear, the 'aloneness', the horrible missing of him, even though I knew I loved God and God loved me.

It came time to clean out the drawers and there it was with his socks, underwear and long johns ~  "Morning and Evening Prayer" book.  He had purchased that book for me on one of our 'find a treasure, thrift store shopping adventures'.  That particular drawer was one he could easily access up unto the day he died. Inside the book was a bookmark I recognised  as coming from my mother in another book she sent to me before she had died. I knew right then and there, he had been reading it.

I had a 'hide-out' spot in the basement during my husband's illness. A place I could go to quietly cry and not be heard when it all became too much for me.  A place I could go to berate and chastise myself for my lack of character, lack of strength, lack of courage, my weakness and my inability to save him from this fate. It was my 'hide-out' feel sorry for myself place and after all my negative dialogue with me I would then tell myself to 'buck up' and get back upstairs to that one person who loves me and needs me present so very much right now.

After his death, I still had the habit of going to my 'hide-out' spot in the basement. I would hug myself and rub my arms and mentally cry out "What am I going to do, what am I going to do?"  Now I had this prayer book. I had no idea I was armed, loaded and protected by what it was going to offer to me.

I began to read the prayer book aloud, morning, noon, night as often as I needed to during the day or night. When any waving ambush of grief rolled over me, I'd grab that prayer book and go back after it until I fought that wave down.  I grew stronger. I began to actually be able to pray once again and not just through the prayer book.  It was a pivotal turning point for me.

So many details I haven't written in, I'm not a novelist, but there is enough detail, you get the picture. So many details I haven't written in because while the memory of that pain is still somewhat strong, some specific details are a bit fuzzy or foggy. This is the nature of grief. 

Shortly after this turning point an after-care visit from the funeral home to my home happened. They were able to refer me to a grief support group that was invaluable into further helping me through my own grief process and sharing my grief with others as they shared their own grief with me.  This particular grief course and support group I went to is called Grief Share. It is 'faith' based. It is interdenominational. I believe it to be widely available in the United States.  It mightily helped me.  Hopefully this link will take you to their website Grief Share.

I found out I wasn't crazy at all.  Yes, my mind and my being were in an altered state, the state of grief.

Losing people you love that are near and dear to your heart is not something you get over, it is something you get through, then you get stronger.

In my heart of hearts, I don't believe any of this could have happened for my benefit without the little prayer book that could and did.

Other grief blogs I have written:

 The Challenge of Grief At Holiday Time ~ Part I

The Challenge of Grief At Holiday Time ~ Part II

I'm @grammakaye on twitter. Should you leave a comment and you twitter, please leave your twitter handle (ID) so that I may befriend you. All comments are welcome.


  1. Hey Grammakaye, Very touching, I am having a hard time writing this. Lots of tears, you are such a nice person. One can easily see from your Tweets and your writing, how special a person you are. Thanks for sharing, Have a great Day! Mark

    1. Thank you for your support Mark. It means a LOT to me.

  2. I'm sitting here typing with tears running down my face. This is a beautiful, heartfelt post and I'm sure many people will find it very helpful. I work with homicide survivors in my job and as you mentioned the #1 thing I try to stress to everyone I work with is that they ARE NOT GOING CRAZY!!! Everything they feel is normal and part of the grief process that cannot be rushed.

    Now working with grieving people and dealing with it yourself are two different things. I learned this 1-1/2 years ago when my mom, who I was very close to died. I knew everything I was experiencing, feeling or in my case NOT feeling was normal but that didn't help. After the first year however I realized that I was a survivor. Your are so right when you said "Losing people you love that are near and dear to your heart is not something you get over, it is something you get through, then you get stronger." This is so very true!

    1. Oh Marti, oh Marti ~ how blessed am I by your comments because if even one thing shared between folks can make anything better, clearer, helpful, compassionate, caring and real ~ then we are serving, fulfilling, building in and with the best of our humanity.
      * * *
      Thank you for what you do in your career. Thank you for beginning your own blog which I am looking very forward to. Thank you for being YOU. I hold strongly to those people who have passed that we loved, while no longer physically present left with us all the love they invested in us. That love didn't leave with them. It forever remains as part of us. Much love and thanks to you Marti!


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