“To live in the hearts, we leave behind is not to die.” Thomas Campbell 

Death hits everyone differently.  The circumstances and cause of death has an impact on the way one grieves.  I’m sure a violent or tragic death is a different type of hurt from someone who has passed away naturally.  Although my brother’s death wasn’t violent, it hit me hard because we hadn’t expected him to pass, but he did. We held his services this past weekend and the words “GOOD GRIEF” permeated my thoughts.  Charlie Brown used the phrase, GOOD GRIEF, when he was bummed out, dismayed, depressed, or some other mostly negative emotion. But that’s not how I felt.  During my brother’s service, I realized what I was experiencing was GOOD GRIEF!!    GRIEF can be a confusing and painful experience, but it can also give us conflicting emotions. GOOD GRIEF is when we feel happy while simultaneously feeling sad. That’s how I felt. I was glad that my brother was no longer in pain but stilled missed his presence. So, for this week’s blog post, let’s talk SHIP about GOOD GRIEF!!!        

On Friday, September 30th, 2022, we laid my only brother Christopher Durand Lathern to rest.  It was a beautiful home going ceremony that was fitting for a prince.  My brother was hit by a car and left for dead 22 years ago, and as a result of the accident, he lost the use of his legs and had lived in a skilled nursing facility ever since.  Throughout the years, besides his family, he had a few random visitors, so I wasn’t sure who would attend his funeral services.  But folks showed up and showed out.   Neighborhood friends came back and served as pallbearers. Although, my brother hadn’t seen most of them in over 20 years, one by one they stood in line to share their fond experiences growing up with my brother. They shared their humorous stories about my brother’s childhood antics, and we laughed.  I’ll admit, I had been in denial about my brother’s passing since the day it happened.  But his beautiful service and intimate repast allowed me to experience some GOOD GRIEF. Throughout the day, I found myself laughing and reminiscing with family and friends about my brother’s life. It was GOOD GRIEF!!!

One certainty in life is that death is inevitable.  We, and everyone we love, will have a check out day and time when we are scheduled to leave this earth.  We may not be ready for it, but it will happen, we will experience GRIEF.  So why not make it GOOD GRIEF?  But, how?  GOOD GRIEF happens we spend time with and love on our loved ones while they are here. GOOD GRIEF happens when we honor others while they are living.  GOOD GRIEF happens when we support and care for each other while they are here.  GOOD GRIEF happens when we are committed to making more memories while they are alive. GOOD GRIEF is possible.  If we do these things now, we will experience GOOD GRIEF later!! Rest in Love Durand!!!

SHIP TALK:  Have you experienced GOOD GRIEF?

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10 Replies to “GOOD GRIEF!!!   ”

  1. Hi Val,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog, Good Grief! I never thought of grief in that context, however that exactly describes how I felt when my Mom passed away. She no longer had to suffer, and for that I was grateful, but losing her was emotionally painful, good grief.
    Initially I thought I never had the pleasure of meeting your brother Durand, until I saw your family pictures of him prior to the accident. His face was so familiar I was taken by surprise. The Avenues we grew up in were a tight group, and many are still today! Thank you for sharing your heartfelt blog.
    Praying for you all.
    Much love,
    Linda ❤🌺

  2. Thanks Kim. During the service, I realized it was GOOD GRIEF. Thanks for supporting my fam and we are still praying for yours.

  3. Val

    I watched your brothers services on the internet and it was a beautiful service. All his childhood friends loved him. They may not have seen him in years, but they surely held those memories they had with him. Losing your loved one is so difficult but if we have the Good Grief mind set it helps. I think that’s how I feel about my dad. I miss him but I’m glad he isn’t suffering in the body that was deceiving him. I feel nothing but Good Grief about my daddy. Thank you for your blogs they are so uplifting.

  4. Aww! Thanks so much for those kind words. He knew he was loved. He was a god dude and I will miss him dearly. Love you

  5. Good Grief is so befitting. I watched Durand’s Services online, and felt as if I was there. I too laughed at the stories shared by the Avenue Family Friends and the stories of Durand singing in the Choir. I had a visual of him playing in the street with the other kids. I imagined him smiling. I remember seeing him at Park Windsor Baptist Church, dressed to the nines 😍. I think about how you and your family loved him and made sure he was taking care of. I remember how happy he was at the one Family Reunion I attended. I took a picture with him that day. God made Durand a kind, humble spirit, and will forever be remembered and missed 🕊❤️

  6. Christopher wasn’t there to experience his beautiful home going service but I was. What I saw was love for his memory. People came from near and far to support Queen Emma Princess Valerie and Princess Yolanda. That’s what we do for family. ❤️ P.S. the celebration atFlemings was a an event to remember done with class.

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