When Grief is Great and Words Are Weak

the one thing to remember when grief is great

Today we’re saying goodbye to one of the oldest members of our family. She doesn’t wear human skin or express herself in many syllables, but she’s loved just the same.

She’s the four-legged kind. A blondie. A dear friend named Coco.

She and our other mutt brought my husband and I together thirteen years ago with their mutual love for walks and chasing furry creatures. And as they say, well, the rest is history.

Since I’m pregnant and rather hormonal the realization that our companion is dying hit me rather hard. But I believe during those hard seasons God often speaks the loudest, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

As my husband wrapped his arms around me and my round belly this morning, I said,

“It’s amazing how God speaks to us through our animals.”

I’d been observing our two girls over the past couple of days. Our other dog, Zoe, knew something was up and her disposition had changed. She’d become more affectionate, more calm, wanting to be near us often.

One day I let both of them out on our back porch while I cleaned. After about a half hour, I peeked through the window.

Will you continue reading with me? Today I’m sharing over at Purposeful Faith about grief and how often words are weak. You can read the rest of my post here.

when grief is great and words are weak

Linking up with these communities: #ThoughtProvokingThursday

How God Uses Our Story {Rays in the Storm Series}

rays in the storm series

As we close week two of our Rays in the Storm series, I am honored to introduce you to a dear friend, Lisa Appelo. I was introduced to Lisa through mutual blogging friends, and am always encouraged by her message of hope in a God who is unchanging. If there’s anything I’ve learned from Lisa’s words, it’s that God is always faithful, even in the midst of tragedy. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome as she shares her thoughts on how loss can bring us together.

When Loss Creates a Kindred Connection

I didn’t know her but I could not forget her story. We had several mutual friends in our not-so-big town and her story spread quickly in conversations, prayer chains and between moms at play group.

Friends said her family had been especially close-knit and I knew they were active in their church and the community. But over the holiday weekend there had been a terrible car accident, and her husband and two of her four children had been killed.

As her story replayed in my thoughts over the next few months, I prayed for her and her two remaining children. I could not fathom the pain, the layers of grief, the sheer weight of her loss.

How does someone recover from such a loss, I wondered? I could only wonder — that kind of pain was completely foreign to me.

Two years passed and our family moved away to another town when my husband was offered his dream job. And as happens with these kinds of things and the passage of time, her story became a tender memory.

Until our paths crossed in the wake of my own unexpected loss.

My husband, the man who’d been my first and only date and my high school sweetheart, had died in his sleep. We had been a close-knit family, active in our church and in our community. He had been an incredible father.

Overnight, I was suddenly a widow and single mom to seven kids. I was neck deep in pain and paperwork and the perplexity of helping my children navigate this tragedy.

I had a hundred worries in those first weeks. Would we be okay? How would my kids handle this? How was I going to single parent my boys just coming of age or help my teenage daughter through the loss of her dad? What about my 4- and 6-year-olds? What did my future hold?

Her bereavement card was one of the first I received. She had handwritten a short note and included a Publix gift card.

My story had spread quickly in conversations, prayer chains and between mutual friends and out of the enormity of her grief, she had reached out to me.

Her simple kindness met my questions in ways that other cards and hugs could not. It was a small gesture that offered me huge hope.

When Loss Creates Kindred Connection

She got it. She was a young widow. She had suffered unexpected loss and she was navigating children through tragedy and grief. Though her story was different than mine – in many ways harder and more complex — our losses created a kindred connection.

Her card and gift were a welcome gift. Welcome to the club of those who have suffered loss and are still breathing.

Her card and gift whispered that there was hope and there would be life again.

Her card and gift offered the encouragement and answers to my hundred questions that few others could.

God can use our story to strengthen another in her story. If she out of the unfathomable loss of her story could extend comfort to me in ours, we would be okay.

“God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” (2 Corinthians 1:3b-4)


Lisa Appelo closeup

 

Lisa Appelo is a single mom to 7 and unexpected widow, crazy in love with Christ. She writes about God’s faithfulness and gives hope and encouragement for the hard, the good and the places in between. She’s written 100 Days with Christ and you can get your free copy at www.TrueandFaithful.net. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.