Grief is the same yet different for each

Published 1:07 pm Saturday, August 27, 2022

By Jan Miller Penton

I woke up happy. My son who works in Saudi was stopping by for a morning chat and coffee. He only arrived home a day or two ago, and I’ve missed him. It’s funny but there is a different feeling when he is in country than when he is away. When all three of mine are on American soil I feel more comfortable even though I made peace with Robby working overseas a long time ago.

My grandson in the Navy is stateside too right now, so I feel much like the mother hen with all her chicks present and accounted for. Robby and I enjoyed our free and easy conversation along with coffee, and now he is off to take care of his daily tasks.

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Even though rain is in the forecast today, right now the sun is shining; Missy is snoozing in her bed by the front window, and I am counting my blessings.

Some of the things I am most grateful for are the relationships that my adult children and I share. My daughter and I are prayer partners. Melinda and I both love starting our days in prayer together. Ryan manages rental property for me so we are often texting or calling about one thing or another about business or just what we are up to.

I don’t take our relationships for granted especially because we spent a few rocky years navigating life without their dad. Grief is the same, yet different for each person, and we all had to deal with our loss in our own way. Now we look back at the terrible loss of their father, and the pain has given way to happiness at the life we shared.

Their dad is still very much a part of our lives. He lives on in all the wonderful memories of our time spent together, and we laugh about some crazy thing he said or did pretty often. I don’t think a day went by that Glen R. didn’t make me laugh.

In fact, I think I’ll share a story that I don’t believe I’ve ever shared with you guys, but it says a lot about my late husband’s character.

Glen R. had been to the doctor because he wasn’t feeling well and was diagnosed with walking pneumonia. We were staying at our vacation home outside of Knoxville, Tenn. with friends from Mississippi when his condition worsened. Long story short we took him to UT Medical Center and within a few days he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Things progressively worsened, and family arrived to support us. My sister was sitting by Glen R’s bedside, and she leaned over to kiss his hand. Glen R. briefly opened his eyes


“Yes, Glen R.”

“Did you kiss my hand?”


“Well, I just scratched my behind with that hand.”

This was only days before he left us for heaven, and the kids and I still feel the love and laughter.