A heart’s delayed grief

Things have been go-go-go for a few months now with all of the projects and teams coming though. They have left (or are serving in one of the villages) and I’ve had a chance to slow down and catch up.

In all honesty, I’ve been going and going for some time now, and I needed to stop.

December 2012, my grandmother died. She died just 2 weeks before I came back to visit. When I returned to the States, I battled against jet lag and culture shock, then went to Christmas and quickly went up the hill so I could share about my time in Thailand with my home church. From that point, I went from bible study to bible story sharing of what God is doing in Thailand and the reality of human trafficking there.

The 6 months in the States flew by, and I soon found myself in a new Thai culture (the north and south of Thailand are soooo very different) and I spent a lot of time trying to reestablish everything. Finding a community, church, learning the style of life, how to get around, etc….

Once I established a new normal in Thailand, we were flooded with short term teams coming to serve with us.

Everything that I have listed has been a blessing. I have learned to expect this lifestyle, yet once I have had a chance to slow down I have noticed I am grieving the loss of my grandmother. It has been 15 months since her passing, and I am just now starting to process her loss.

cross stitchMy grandma loved to cross-stitch. At Christmas, we were going through some of her belongings and my Aunt asked me if I wanted any of her started needle work projects. My grandma taught me to cross-stitch, I had to take them. I took 3 half completed projects with me all the way to Thailand for them to sit in my closet hidden away. I was too afraid to look at them, let alone start finishing them.

A few weeks ago, I took them out and just wept. I smelled her. I took out the thread and began to see where she left off, what threads I would need. It took me a few days of this emotional rollercoaster, to discover, I didn’t have any of the right colors to finish. I spent hours in the Thai China Town trying to find the missing colors. I finally found them….

I began. I wasn’t able to do it for long, yet I have been doing it a little each day. It’s been hard, yet healing.

If that wasn’t enough, we began a project in the room where I work, a puzzle piece mural of Thailand. My grandma also loved puzzles. I find it fitting.

draw puzzleThis project was started by one team and later passed on to another. No one really wants to do this. It’s a long and tedious process of drawing individual puzzle pieces on a large wall. Yet, when no one’s around, I go to the wall and draw puzzle pieces and think of my grandma and her crazy love.


puzzle map



About lizolson

I love people, culture and languages! I have served in Thailand for 5.5 years helping to empower women and children who are at risk of being trafficked or who are working in the sex industry. Everyone deserves a second chance....
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6 Responses to A heart’s delayed grief

  1. Jacci says:

    Glad you are finding healing ways to grieve! JT

  2. Janice Atkin says:

    Liz, We all grieve differently and time is different for everybody. My precious husband died in 2009 and there are still times when the tears flow. My son died 2005, my mother-in-law 2005, my Dad 2007, my sister-in-law 2011, my Mom 2012, and my brother 2012. All I know is that God is good and has given me the strength and peace that I have needed. Grieving is needed and I have welcomed it and know it is not easy but necessary. I will be praying for you sweet soul. Hopefully you have people who will also give you support!!!!!!!!!!!

    • lizolson says:

      It’s been good. This week we have off, so it has given me the freedom to cross stitch at my pace without the fear of wasting time, not getting anywhere etc…

      Initially I was afraid to make a mistake or doing what she started wrong. But then I spotted a mistake she did. It was so comforting. After that point, I did it my way and it has been fun.

      Thank you for your support and understanding. No matter how many I’ve lost, I’m still learning to grieve.

  3. Sandy Foster says:

    Hi Liz
    You are truly showing your Grandma the love and caring she showed you by loving her through this process! The gift of cross stitch she gave to you. What a great tribute to her life to finish what she started! What an amazing testimony!
    We got your postcard, so glad that you are finding your “new” normal.
    We are still trying to sell our house, got a couple of low ball offers, so we will just have to wait and see what God has planned, not my best quality. But we know He has the folks to buy it and He has the house planned for us too.
    Always thinking and praying for you Liz, miss you!
    Your Foster Family

    • lizolson says:

      Thanks Sandy!

      I’m glad you got the postcard! There should be another coming soon! 🙂
      I will still be praying for you as you try to sell the house! I can only imagine how hard of a process that must be, plus house shopping may be hard too (although I’m assuming you like the shopping part more than the selling!)

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