Grief

The process of grieving any loss; death as well as things such as divorce and relationships. The reality of the emotions as well as the process toward healing.

sad woman in a dark room looking out the window exemplifying a widow's grief

A Widow’s Grief Doesn’t Need an End Date

I noticed an increase in my son’s acting out. He had become more defiant than normal and was driving me crazy. It didn’t matter what it was, but any minor correction blew up into full blown fights, tears, and frustration. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there. He proceeded to get into trouble at school twice in the next week. One day, he came home from school and saw that there was a card on the kitchen counter, letting us know we were in someone’s thoughts. He brought it to me, wanting to understand what it meant since his name was listed as well. I ever so gently reminded him that the anniversary of his dad’s death was approaching. “Oh” he said, “I forgot.” […]

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Dear Gold Star Wife, I Promise It Will Get Better

Dear Gold Star Wife, I Promise It Will Get Better

We went to dinner at our local small-town golf club. As I walk in I realize what is going on around us, and a lump forms in my throat. I wonder if we should turn around and walk away before my kids understand the gravity of the fundraiser we have walked into. I saw his widow, another gold star wife, outside taking hug after hug as fellow Navy sailors, I would imagine, were sharing little stories and tidbits of information about the chief whose life they were celebrating. I know how she feels. She is so grateful for the love and the distraction of the pit she wants to crawl into. The one she only escapes for the sake of her children.

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What Your Grieving Friend Really Wants You to Know 2019

What Your Grieving Friend Wants You to Know

When I first lost my mom, I had so many well-meaning friends, and relatives offer help, advice, and words of encouragement. The outpouring of support was amazing, yet a little overwhelming at the same time. Everyone meant well, and I certainly appreciated the sentiments, but it was difficult for me to express what I really needed at any given time. It wasn’t until I started speaking with several friends and relatives who also lost loved ones that I discovered I wasn’t alone. Several told me they too, had a difficult time figuring out how to help their friends help them through the grieving process. People have a tendency to want to “fix” the bereaved, but many times, all we’re looking for is

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God's Strength is Found in the Hard Places

God’s Strength is Found in the Hard Places

The surgeries started in her early 20s, and for the next 10 years, 12 would follow. The scars on her abdomen ran from a few inches above her belly button to pelvic bone and from hip to hip. She often joked that it looked like a ship’s anchor. The surgeries had taken away her most precious dream, having a baby, and it left her confused about her future and purpose. Some 20 years later, another surgery. This time leaving scars that traced the outline of her breastbone and two, one that resembled a cross and the other appeared as a lopsided “X” just below her left rib cage. The scars from her past and these new additions were separated by a three-inch

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I Lost My Mom and Found My True Strength

I Lost My Mom and Found My True Strength

I’ve heard it said that life is the sum of all the choices you make. I get this, but what about the things we don’t choose? Don’t those things still shape our lives and set a course that we may not have “chosen” for ourselves? Growing up, we all hear phrases like, “You’re in the mistake zone,” referring to young adults between the ages of 18-22, and, “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” Being well out of my 20s now, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard or experienced more accurate phrases. I’ve made a myriad of mistakes along the way, and I try to live each day with no regret, but there’s one choice that still haunts me.

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man with arm around woman, both with crestfallen faces

Making Peace with the Unexpected Grief of Miscarriage

The roses I received for Valentine’s Day sat withered on my countertop for weeks. My eyes stung every time I looked at them, but I couldn’t seem to throw them away. It was the only tangible evidence I had from my pregnancy that ended too soon. A life that I fell in love with and cherished—more than I ever knew was possible. Those roses looked so different when they were presented to me. Peach, with hints of green. Subtle and lovely. The tightly bound buds were delivered to me by the cutest little hands, purchased by bigger, quieter hands. I’ll never forget the equally eager smiles. That bouquet held so much promise of beauty. The perfect representation of the new life growing

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God’s Comfort in the Heartbreak of Anencephaly

This was it, exactly what my heart had secretly desired. I was pregnant! We had just received the results of our genetic testing to find out the gender. I had been quietly praying and wishing for a baby girl. One that I could put big headbands on and all things pink. This baby was a surprise, one I didn’t think I’d have. Just six months prior, we decided that if we adopted a sibling group of four we had cared for in the past the dream of having another biological baby would need to be sacrificed. Having the four come back would mean that we would be at 12 children, and that was a big number for us. I prayed about it

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When Desperation Comes, Why Choose Suicide?

When Desperation Comes, Why Choose Suicide?

Did you know that one of the most influential pastors and preachers of the Christian faith struggled with depression and even suicidal thoughts? Known as the “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon’s work has provided an intangible, yet very real hope for people over the last 100+ years. The same mind that dwelt in dungeons of darkness also created quotes reflecting glimpses of a brilliant light… “Those who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.” “By perseverance, the snail reached the ark.” “Our infirmities become the black velvet on which the diamond of God’s love glitters all the more brightly.” Sounds like a man who is able to find and focus on the good no matter how hard the bad.

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On Life and Childhood Cancer, From a Pediatric Oncology Nurse

After her morning coffee, some cuddles with her gorgeous Weimaraners, and a little bit of knitting (she’s admittedly a grandma trapped in a millennial’s body), Amanda heads to work ready to bring light and comfort to her tiniest of patients as they fight cancer. You may not know, but September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Perhaps you’ve seen the phrase “Fight like a kid” on a t-shirt or social media post recently and wondered what that’s about… it’s to bring awareness to the children who are battling for their lives. Some of us have never been around a child with cancer, but for others, this month hits close to home because of the fight they’ve shared in. The reality of this month

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How to Talk to Children About Death article feature image

How to Talk to Children About Death

For some unexplained reason, my husband called all our grandchildren ‘George’ even though they reminded him repeatedly what their names were. These three kiddos loved their grandpa despite the teasing. Or maybe because of it. Grandpa was the one who let them dump out all the Legos and then he’d sit with them on the living room floor building extravagant structures. He was the one who gave wheelbarrow rides when they helped him rake leaves (I’m not sure how much help toddlers are, but still… there were the wheelbarrow rides). And then one day, their beloved grandpa was diagnosed with late-stage disease, and although he lived much longer than expected, he was gone from his grandkids’ lives much sooner than they wanted.

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family member holding old woman's hand to talk about death arrangements

You Need to Talk About Death with Those You Love—Here’s How

“What most concerns you?” the palliative care physician asked, sitting beside my husband’s hospital bed. Gary pointed at me and said, “Leaving her.” He was hospitalized with yet another serious infection because of late-stage cancer, and the doctor was helping him complete the Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form. Back at home, my husband announced that he was going to spend the day teaching me how to survive. I had lessons in online banking and using my phone’s GPS system. But when he retrieved a pipe wrench so I could learn how to unclog a sink, I gave him my best raised-eyebrow look, whereupon all tools were put away. Gary was relatively young when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It had

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What Not to Say to a New Widow

What Not to Say to a New Widow

One of my young friends, Charity, lost her husband and 3-year-old son in a tragic way. Two weeks into widowhood and deep grief, a family member said to her in exasperation, “When are you going to get over this?” When a fellow nursing student learned of Charity’s indescribable loss, it made her feel physically ill. “When something that big happens to someone you care about,” she said, “people don’t know how to handle it. So they run away because it’s very painful to be around the person. I let Charity know I was available. And I wasn’t afraid to hear her trauma.” It’s important to acknowledge the losses and sorrows of our friends and family and neighbors, and to walk toward them

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When Life Changes, Does Your Purpose Change, Too?

When Life Changes, Does Your Purpose Change, Too?

(Listen to the audio version of this article here.) An old, wooden door with a torn screen and chipped paint once graced our front porch. A birch basket of pinecones sat on a red chair in front of the door, and a “Welcome” sign hung from the top corner. The screen door that once slapped happily against the frame of a tired, old farmhouse had been repurposed into porch art. It received a few comments through the years, not all of them complimentary. One friend went so far as to offer to repair the screen door. (It seems that some people don’t appreciate good art when they see it.) What if you once knew what your purpose was? And what if you

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Recognize Your Emotional Triggers So They Don’t Interrupt Your Life

Recognize Your Emotional Triggers So They Don’t Interrupt Your Life

I never would’ve believed it if I hadn’t experienced it. Our bodies store trauma through associations with dates, places and seasons. For some, the holiday season is their trigger season. Personally, as the weather transitions from summer to fall, even if it’s the furthest thing from my mind, I sense my trauma sneaking up on me in unexpected ways like headaches, negative self-talk, bad moods, lethargy—you name it. But even as these seasons approach, we can find ways not only to survive, but thrive during them. Identify Your Emotional Triggers One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves in a triggering season is self-awareness. My trauma occurred when my boyfriend took his own life, deeply engraining painful dates into my subconscious,

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Dear Caregiver You Don't Have to Be a Superhero

Dear Caregiver: You Don’t Have to Be a Superhero

My caregiving roles overlapped and tangled. My mom moved in with us, slipping further into dementia. And then we heard these heart-stopping words from my husband’s doctor: “It’s cancer.” The season as caregiver for my mother was challenging. She was negative. And distrustful. She was sure my husband, Gary, and I were stealing her money. This wasn’t the woman who reared us kids with courage and imagination, who told us we could be anything God wanted us to be. There were plenty of fun memories mixed in with the challenge, though. Mom and I held a weekly Girls’ Movie Night. Little Women, Sleepless in Seattle, and Roman Holiday were among her favorites. Nearly every evening after the dinner dishes were done, we

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How to Feel Your Emotions in a Healthy Way With Dr. Zoe Shaw

How to Feel Your Emotions in a Healthy Way With Dr. Zoe Shaw

We’re likely to bounce between feelings of happiness, sadness, anger, excitement, exhaustion or any number of other emotions every day. Some are fickle, while others might not be so temporary. No matter which ones you experience, they are all normal and they deserve to be listened to. Where we often go wrong is in our reaction to those feelings—either lashing out at someone or making an impulsive decision we later regret. Even when we choose not to react by suppressing our emotions, we are entering into dangerous territory. Dr. Zoe Shaw is a licensed psychotherapist and regular contributor to Grit and Grace Life through articles and her advice column, Ask Dr. Zoe. She has also been a guest on several episodes of This

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Your World Just Turned Upside Down—What Now? with Marlys Johnson Lawry - 197

Your World Just Turned Upside Down—What Now? with Marlys Johnson Lawry – 197

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Email | TuneIn | RSS | MoreYour world just turned upside down. What do you do? Marlys Johnson Lawry has been there. Her and her first husband, Gary, were not only partners in life but in servitude to their community. Gary’s cancer diagnosis came on the heels of unemployment and financial strain—and for Marlys, an overwhelming sense of stress and uncertainty.  She joins Darlene and Julie on this week’s podcast episode to share details of her rollercoaster ride through dating as a widow, and more importantly, the coping skills that helped her press on through the unexpected life changes and find hope and happiness again.  Marlys Johnson Lawry is a speaker, award-winning

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