When Your Grief is for Someone Still Living {Rays in the Storm Series}

rays in the storm series

Hey friends. Today we conclude our Rays in the Storm series and I want to offer a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed, commented, read, shared and truly made this a series a blessing. We couldn’t have done this without you! I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to write for this final post. We’ve talked about many different types of loss, but there’s one we haven’t touched on. So today, it’s my prayer that I address a delicate but very real topic in a sincere, sensitive way.

When Your Grief is for Someone Still Living

My friend’s words left me nearly speechless. I’d never been able to articulate exactly how I felt, but she just had.

“It’s like you’re mourning a person who’s still alive,” she said, lying on the bed with her face propped up against her hand.

Yes, that’s exactly what it was. What it still is.

Even after I left the weekend conference we were attending and came home, I continued to ponder her words. Those words that described a relationship with a loved one who battles addiction. An addiction that consumes their life. An addiction which consumes their soul.

When you love a lost soul you grieve for the life they could have had, for relationships severed in a way you’re not sure will ever be repaired. Only the person is still living.

And the grief is perpetual. There is no closure, no final conversation. But sometimes the fear creeps in and you wonder. You wonder if the brief exchange you have via text will be the last. You wonder if what they said was true, or a cover up for something they thought best to hide.

grief for the living

They’re living in a way which eventually leads to death, whether physical or spiritual.

When we grieve the Spirit, there’s always a slow death taking place, whether we realize it or not. We separate ourselves from the living God who loves us and desires an intimate relationship with us. But can the Spirit have a close relationship with someone who knowingly causes him pain?

As I sat on my sofa mulling over these things on an afternoon in late October, I realized how loss affects us all in different ways. But in one shape or form, we all experience it.

The question is how will it shape us? Will it embitter us and distance us from God or will it fuel our passion for him and make us love him more? Will it add depth and color to our story or extinguish it completely?

For much of my life, I did the former and was bitter. I used circumstances in my life as an excuse to run from God and proclaimed everyone in the church was a hypocrite.

But you know what? The person who throws this label around is often the biggest hypocrite of all.

We’re hypocrites because we think we’re better. We think we’ve got our stuff together, but the truth of the matter is we’re all beggars.

We’re all beggars in need of God’s grace and mercy, and it’s only by his divine love that our lives are made significant.

Is there someone in your life who’s hurt you? Is the loss and the pain so deep you can barely articulate it? I get it. I’ve been there, and I still walk through it. I won’t make excuses for that person or say they deserve anything from you.

You have permission to create healthy boundaries. You have permission to grieve for the relationship you could have had.

But can I tell you something else? You can’t fix it. And I think this is the part that often causes us the most grief because we want to so badly, but we can’t.

We have to let it go.

When we grieve for the living, our greatest hope comes in surrendering them to the Father.

There’s only one person who can fix a broken soul, and he’s not of this world. But we have to allow him to do it. And the person who’s broken has to make that choice.

Tomorrow, when the temptation comes to pick the burden back up, we will have to release it again. Every day, for as long as we live.

Will it be easy? No. But there are burdens in this life we were never made to carry. Let’s give them to the Father can handle the weight.

Let’s give them to the One who bore the weight already.

11 thoughts on “When Your Grief is for Someone Still Living {Rays in the Storm Series}

  1. Thank you for this post, Abby. I have been blessed to not have to lose many loved ones close to me, but I have lost many people who are still living. My husband has had to sit with me as I cry over their loss many times. But I do realize that I have done all I can to mend the relationship and I can only pray for them and move forward fixing my eyes on Jesus. Thank you for your encouragement today. I hope you have a blessed Thursday!


  2. It took me a long time and a deep rooted class to allow me to make healthy boundaries with a family member suffering from addictions. This is wonderful. Thank you for this post. It is so so important. Have a blessed week, my friend.


  3. Abby,
    I could sense how hard this post was for you to write…but it’s true…there are people we mourn and grieve who are still living. I have one such person right now. No matter how hard you pray and try to steer them in the right direction, they seem hell bent on repeating the same destructive behaviors and it’s kind of like a death over and over again. Like you, I turn it over to the Lord, but then find myself taking it back up again. Like you, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are some jobs that only the Holy Spirit can do. God IS able in every situation and so I must trust my loved one to His loving care…and continue to pray.
    Blessings to you this day (and hugs).
    Bev xoxo


  4. As usual Abby, beautifully and articulately written. We’ve all felt it but you’ve managed to put words to the pain which somehow allows it to lift away for awhile. Thank you.
    Big hugs!


  5. Beautiful post Abby. I can identify with grieving someone who is still living. One of my sisters brings me grief. She has both mental and physical problems and the way she chooses to deal with them is a tough pill to swallow. I constantly pray for God’s guidance to help me be a loving and caring brother. Christ has helped me but I still have the tendency to react wrongly.
    God does answer prayers and others used to grieve me when I was living in the darkness of addiction. When God rescued me and delivered me from the bondage of alcoholism everything changed. Once I repented, made amends to those I harmed and began living in God’s Spirit those around me began to take notice. Today they don’t grieve my lost soul because Christ has let them know my changes are sincere.
    Thanks for a great thought provoking and encouraging post. God bless you, your family and friends.


  6. Abby, this take on loss is not one I’ve ever heard anyone address before, but oh is this precious to me. Thank you for tactfully talking about this and offering wisdom and encouragement. Your words are spot on. Thank you, thank you. Blessed by this series. Much love to you friend, as you live this too.


  7. I had typed up a pleading text to send to my semi-estranged daughter who basically shut us out of her life; won’t communicate, won’t love us… I wanted to tell her how much she hurts us every day.. how all I want to do is lay on the floor and sob over the loss of our relationship… I could have hit SEND but something stopped me. Then I stumbled on this article… I read the entire thing… and I knew there was only ONE who I could turn to. Thank you for the reminder.


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