My Journey through Grief

Sharing one’s story can be very difficult. It can be painful. It makes a person feel vulnerable. The beautiful exchange comes though when God is glorified and others are edified.
Pain is the universal language of the human race. It is inevitable to our life experience, and we all have it. “When it rains, it pours”, they say. My story is no different.
I haven’t shared the story of my last year yet because it has been too painful. I will share a small facet of it here, with the hope that in the future, I will be able to share more. I hope it encourages you, and if you find yourself in a similar place, I hope you know that you are not alone in your struggle.

About a year ago, my grandfather passed away on Black Friday. My husband, 6 month old baby, and I were celebrating Thanksgiving 1200 miles away when we got the news. A whirlwind of planning and packing ensued, and we rushed off to be with my family within a couple days of his passing.
I sat between my husband and my brother at Grandpa’s memorial service, and then a couple days later we laid him to rest. I introduced my baby girl to my grandfather by his casket and said my goodbyes. He never got to meet her.
There was one positive part of this trip though that will always stick with me. My six month old finally met her uncle (my younger brother). He held her awkwardly, and I taught him to feed her a bottle. My heart swelled with pride and joy.
We said our goodbyes to my brother at the airport, we embraced, and he walked away. What my mom, husband, and I didn’t know was that we would never see him again on this side of heaven.
Four months later, 1200 miles away again, I got a call. I fell to my knees as my strength waned, and I cried out. Tony was gone, safe in the arms of Jesus.
Another whirlwind trip. Another memorial service. I sat in the same church and the same chair as before, but this time Tony wasn’t in the chair next to mine. It lay vacant until my grieving father sat down. Another burial. Another laying to rest. Another whirlwind week, and then I was home. Left to pick up the pieces.


Grief has been my constant companion for the past year. I don’t always show it, but it is there. This coupled with caring for my now 18 month old, and other responsibilities and difficulties and trials, (I won’t mention here), and I am constantly exhausted, constantly grieving, constantly leaning on my Jesus.
Just taking it a day at a time. Fighting for the next step, the next moment, and finding Jesus there. This has been, by far, the hardest, darkest year of my life, but I just keep going with Jesus, and somehow, we keep making it.
I’m not sharing this sad story for sympathy. I’m sharing it with the hope that someone else can benefit from it.
Whether you believe in God or not, I think we can agree that this culture has forgotten how to grieve. We are so focused on being happy and successful that no one really knows how to react when the bottom inevitably falls out. The church is no different. I would like to think I know a thing or two about grieving now, and I would like to share what I have found.
There are healthy ways to grieve and unhealthy. Whenever I have tried to distract myself from my pain, I have just ended up worse off later when I finally allowed my emotions to surface. Numbing the pain, distracting myself from the pain, all “No No’s”.
I found the best way through the pain is to dive right into it. To allow myself to sit in the grief, feel it, and process it. This doesn’t mean that I do this ALL the time. There are days when I purposely divert my attention away from memories and reminders of my brother. That is okay. I am mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. I need a break.
What always ends up backfiring is when I feel another wave of emotion hit me out of the blue, and I refuse to let myself feel. I refuse to let myself mourn. Hours or days later, when that pain finally surfaces, I am ten times more upset than I would have been if I had let myself cry in the first place. Not to mention the fact that I have felt miserable all the hours and days that I held it in. Release of emotion is just that, release. I can breathe.
The other HUGE part that has helped me is my relationship with Jesus. He is the reason I have any strength or courage to dive into the pain. Why? Because I know He is with me, and He sustains me.
Also, you need friends. The majority of my family lives far away, and my parents and I can only help each other through this so much. The three of us have our own heavy burdens of grief to bear, so we don’t have the strength to carry each other. That’s okay. We need other people to help carry us along from outside our family who are not deep in the depths of the same grief we are. Find your friend tribe. This is what the church is for, we mourn with each other and lift each other up. I don’t do this part perfectly, but even as I write this, I am reminded of its importance.
Also. Jesus. He carries me. Always.

I wrote a poem this week about my grieving process. I had to get the mess in my heart out into words. I hope it ministers to you today.

Remembering You

I just ate a red raspberry

The taste childhood familiar

That’s all it took

To send me into a beautiful downward spiral

Remembering you

A glance at a white Rabbit

Parked in some random garage

That’s all it took

To send me into a beautiful downward spiral

Remembering you

A blue Werner truck

Minding its own highway business

That’s all it took

To send me into a beautiful downward spiral

Remembering you

The emotions carry me away

From the reality I stand in

Just to run away to a memory

Remembering you

The pain overtakes me

The flood should be overwhelming

But somehow the storm calms me

Remembering you

I’ll brave all the storms

Just for one more glimpse

A far away silhouette of your face

Remembering you

The pain is worth it

Because you are worth it

I’ll wade through the wounds til they scar

Remembering you

Welcome to my blog

Hi, my name is Holly. I started blogging several years ago through blogspot on my blog, “His Kingdom Reign”. After a long hiatus, I felt God leading me to share in a blog setting again.

Some things about me:

Jesus is the most important part of my life. I am a pastor’s wife, mom, and an aspiring pastor. I love spending time outside. I enjoy singing. I also love to play volleyball, but I am a bit rusty. I hate the cold and love Italian food.

Since Jesus is the most important part of my life, all of my blog posts will be Jesus centered. If they don’t explicitly mention Him, just know the post was written with Him in mind. I hope you enjoy my blog!

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