Things I Have Learned About Grief



  • God did NOT cause the accident, the cancer, the depression, or whatever it was which resulted in the death of a loved one.  Satan is the instigator.  It is our sinful world which brings the demise of our loved ones.  The Book of Job gives us the clues to the keys of death. God is IN the loss of our loved one.  He is there to welcome our loved one into heaven.  And He is with everyone who loved the deceased, giving comfort, if we will allow Him.
  • When my daughter, Karin, died, I felt peace and calm in spite of my gushing tears.  At her last breath, I ran from her bedside into the hallway, stopping a few feet from Karin’s door.  There was no where to run.  I wasn’t going to find my healthy daughter in some other room.  As I stood sobbing, I felt the Holy Spirit enveloping me. With His presence, I knew I would get through this.
  • Conversely, when I received the calls about my parents and brother, each time, it felt like I had been punched in the stomach.  I was expecting that sensation to pummel me at Karin’s demise, but it did not.  My reaction to my daughter’s death was much different than with my parents and brother.  The one similarity was I had the peace of knowing each one of them is in heaven.
  • At first, I could not accept God intended for Karin to die so young (age 35).  Though I have contrived some possible reasons, I recognize God was in control.  As I became more and more conscious of God caring for the rest of us left behind, I had to accept God knew what he was doing.
  • God prepared the homes for Karin’s adopted babies even before Karin died.
  • Spiritual warfare, as was the case with Job’s family, rages on, possibly depriving us of our loved ones.
  • God does allow death to happen, but He does not cause it to happen.  He didn’t provide a miracle for Karin, but sometimes God does create miracles. If we do not receive a miracle, we may be disappointed with God, but, He never does abandon us.
  • Grief is selfish. We cry for what we have lost, and that is OK.
  • Every grief is different. You will react differently to each grief you experience.  People will say insensitive things that hurt, annoy, frustrate you – such as “He is in a better place.”  “It was his time to die.”  “He has been gone a month.  It is time to move on.”   “God does not make mistakes.” Just know it will happen and overlook the comments.  They mean well.  Job 16:2, “I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.”
  • The only way to work through grief is to face it head on. Do not run from it. Let it overwhelm you. Embrace grief, or you will never get through the wilderness. Let the waves buffet you. You may falter, but you will stand again. “Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted!”
  • We were told that losing a child is the worst grief. I was surprised, because I thought losing your spouse, half of yourself, had to be the worst.  Initially, in losing a child , you never want to get over it!  That hurt inside is your baby and you don’t want it to go away.  It is all you have left of your child.
  • Having experienced a great loss, you better know how to comfort your friends who will eventually experience great loss also.  It gives you a new dimension.
  • It doesn’t seem fair the rest of the world moves on as if nothing happened when you are stopped in your tracks.
  • I learned the glib comment, “Have a nice day,” is a horrible thing to say to someone you don’t know well.  If you don’t know the person, you have no idea what hurt you may be causing by that simple phrase.  I have tried to come up with an alternative pat saying and have been unsuccessful.  I have thought of:  “Take care” or “Keep positive,” but neither works well.
  • How to answer the common question:  “How are you?”  For a few years, I couldn’t move beyond, “OK.”

In A Grace Disguised, Gerald Sittser writes of losing his 4 year old daughter, wife, and mother in one accident – a drunk Indian hit them head-on.  He and his three other children survived.  He has some poignant things to say which I cannot reiterate better than he:

  • “It is not… the experience of loss that becomes the defining moment of our lives…  It is how we respond to the loss that matters.”  “It is not what happens to us that matters as much as what happens in us.”
  • “He didn’t get over the loss of his loved ones, but absorbed the loss into his life; it became of a part of who he is.”
  • “The soul is elastic and can grow larger through suffering.  Once enlarged, the soul can experience greater joy, strength, peace, and love.”
  • “I learned to live and mourn simultaneously.”
  • “Pain is a gift because it shows we have a capacity to feel, whether pain in the body or pain in the soul.” “The pain of loss is severe because the pleasure of life is so great; it demonstrates the supreme value of what is lost.”

About 9awalsh

A genealogist and writer who has uncovered legacy stories which must be told. I also write a blog, Deciphering Life, trying to figure out why life becomes so tangled --
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4 Responses to Things I Have Learned About Grief

  1. mpschrauwers says:

    As most of your posts – awesome. This one is definitely a keeper for one’s darker days! Your strength is transparent.


  2. 9awalsh says:

    Thanks for your support. God is good, or as Karin said a few days before her demise, “God is awesome!”


  3. janrichwil says:

    Your faith is a beautiful testimony to the glory of God. I know so many friends (myself included)who can be encourged by your wisdom. I plan to share your website with them soon! God bless you for laying aside your feelings and using your knowledge to encourage others.


  4. 9awalsh says:

    Thank you, Jan, for your bolstering! My main prayer is that my life can bring glory to God! He is a jealous God who wants our love, worship, and adoration.


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