I feel like I have nothing left to give. I feel like everything has been taken from me.  I don’t even know where or how to begin again. Everything and some days even everyone drains me. If this isn’t the bottom, I am afraid of what is.

The emptiness of grief.  The feelings of grief.  The death of a loved one. Inexplicably linked, painfully so. Some days, I feel overwhelming sadness, some days anger, even guilt. Some days disbelief. Some days all of them and then some days nothing at all. Our cup is empty. We have nothing to give, even to ourselves.

The death of our loved one has depleted us. Our world no longer makes sense. Nothing seems to matter. What does one do with an empty cup?

We cannot fill it with what was. Many of us spend time trying to do that until sooner or later we realize no matter how hard we try it’s not going to happen. When that happens we are faced with making a choice. Will we try filling it with something different or choose to live with an empty cup? Living with an empty cup leaves us living with an empty heart. Living with an empty cup does not honor our loved one. Living with an empty cup is a slow and painful death.

When we choose to honor the memory of our loved ones in positive ways, when we reach out our hand to others who are struggling too, when we learn a new hobby, or create something new, when we run a race, volunteer, take care of ourselves, we are filling our cup. There are so many ways of filling our cup. When I fill my cup, I know my loved ones smile and so do I.

Deb Kosmer 2011

Deb Kosmer

Deb has worked at Affinity Visiting Nurses Hospice for ten years, the first two as a hospice social worker and the last eight as Bereavement Support Coordinator supporting families before and after the death of their loved ones. She provides supportive counseling, developed and facilitates a variety of grief support groups, including a well-attended group for men only as well as other educational events. Deb received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from UW-Oshkosh and her Master’s degree in Social Work from UW Milwaukee. She received her certification in Thanatology through ADEC. Her writing has appeared in New Leaf Magazine, We Need Not Walk Alone, Living with Loss, Grief Digest, numerous hospice publications and EAP publications. Some of her poetry on death and dying will be included in a college textbook for social workers in end of life soon. New Leaf has also used some of her poetry for a line of sympathy and anniversary of death cards. On a personal level, Deb's 14-year-old son died after being struck by a car. Her 31-year-old sister had died in a car accident eight months earlier, and her 56-year-old father died from a heart attack exactly three years before. These three unexpected deaths within three years started Deb on a journey she never wanted to be on and she learned first-hand the importance of having the help and support of others. In the years since, she has experienced other losses, the most recent being the unexpected death of her 44-year-old step-daughter who died from complications three months after routine surgery. Deb's passions are writing, reading, education, nature, and family. She is currently working on a book of her grief poetry. She recently moved with her husband to Waypost Camp, Hatley WI. Her husband accepted a job there as Property Manager and his position allows them to live on-site with acres of woods and a lake. She anticipates the quiet beauty to be a strong catalyst for writing.

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