The Grave Blanket

Well Good Morning from a freezing cold North Central Ohio. The weather alerts sounded proudly yesterday as the indicator of a winter storm moving in. I have to say I was a bit excited because it has been almost 5 years since I have regularly participated in the extreme cold climate. I had become spoiled in AZ but being here, experiencing what I have experienced, I have to say I know I am right where I belong at this moment in time.

So onward through the treacherous cold, yesterday I started the grave blanket for my brother’s birthday. I will be quite honest I had been putting this off, even to the point of getting snappy whenever my parents tried to talk to me about it. But in true fashion to this journey, I made a decision, and started the prep work for the blanket.

I had recently received permission from my neighbor to allow me to cut branches on his evergreens so I could present some life to the grave. So I suited up in true Ohio fashion. I donned my car hart coveralls and jacket and slipped into high rain boots, a stocking cap and work gloves lol. I had work to do and this work is part of my process.

I grabbed the wheelbarrow and multiple size sheers and began the much dreaded walk of starting something, or rather to me, admitting something, that my brother wasn’t coming back. As I got closer to the trees I suddenly felt a wind but it was a warm, comforting wind that brings back a flood of memories. Suddenly I knew without a doubt that I wasn’t alone. Now I’m not talking about ghosts and goblins, no I am talking about the presence of God, the eternal peace. It was like I was getting a message that it is ok, you can do this, I am here to help you.

With that sense of comfort I carried on about my tasks of trimming trees. When I finally felt resolve in the progress I had made, my Dad and I parked the wheelbarrow next to me for easy access. My dad swiftly walked away after helping but I want him to know I understand the signs of his pain and he too, is not alone.

As I work tediously on the intricate weaving in and out of chicken wire, my mind started to uncover some hidden gems. I was recalling what I have been learning in my faith walk and I was subconsciously applying the steps to defeat my strongholds. Yes this part of my grief is a stronghold because I am aware and now the healing begins.

Inspiration swept over me that I now didn’t see death in creating this blanket, no I was celebrating his life. I was remembering with each branch of the tree how he was so much like the branches. He was always veering off in different directions but it was just to create more life in others. He struggled like the tree struggles to stand in the harsh elements of the weather, but he did as long as he could. He was a great man and this grave blanket is a way to honor my brother with the gifts and strength that God has given me.

I finally feel proud of my brother for all HE was and all HE accomplished. I capitalize “HE” because I am speaking to the person he really was not the person whom drugs took control. He was a man of God and I will honor my Lord and Savior by doing what he is calling me to do…..Embrace the Process!