Monday, March 15, 2010


It's such a strange thing really.

Over the last few months, I've felt like things have just been
hard. Almost harder than just after we lost my dad. It was a very busy time. That first week filled with family, tears, tons of photos, paperwork, packing, making plans and getting all in order. Then moving my mom and sister back to Humboldt and the months of living together, more planning, unpacking, paperwork, tears, etc. Then hurriedly preparing for Grace's arrival and those exhilarating and exhausting first few months of her life and mine as a new mom. Things have become more routine now with Grace and life in general has become a bit more settled. So I find myself with more time to think than ever before.

I think of my dad. Then I think, "he's gone" and my mind recoils. I feel like he just died yesterday, then at other times, I feel like he's been gone forever.

I've lost track of the number of times people have told me, "Aren't you glad your mom moved back? That's great she can babysit for you. It's so important to have family close by". I often have no idea how to respond to that. I've thought of saying, "You're right. It is great that my dad died so my mom can babysit my daughter". But I don't say that because these are people who know me, who love me, who mean well...but just don't know what to say. So I just smile and say how thankful I am that my mom is now living close and does love to spend time with her granddaughter, because in truth, I am thankful. But I would much, much, much rather have my dad still be alive.

Over the last 10 months, I have realized that most people do all they can to avoid death. It's only natural. No one really wants to think about it or experience it. It's because it's not
really normal. It's not what God intended. Sin entered the world, and death followed. And suddenly, there was real sadness. There was loss. There was shock and tears, despair and emptiness. A desperate wish that things were different. The hope, the reassurance is that one day things will be different. God will come again. The earth will be redeemed. And, my great hope is that I will see my dad again--in heaven. I hang onto the fact that he did accept the Lord at one point in his life. BJ remembers seeing a video of him on the day he was baptized. "This is the happiest day of my life" was my dad's comment. I take great peace in that. We serve a gracious God who loves to redeem.

I have learned a lot (and am still learning) as I go through this process. I'd like to share some of that with you.

:: Many people don't know what to say. Just say something. It is better to acknowledge the loss, however awkwardly you do it, than to say nothing at all.

:: Realize that your friend may not feel like calling or talking or getting out, so you need to be the one who makes the effort to reach out to them. For many grieving a loss, it is difficult to realize everyone else has moved on but you. For me this was in looking around at a group of friends who I dearly love, watching everyone laugh and enjoy themselves, all the while thinking, "I have nothing to say. I have nothing to give. I used to enjoy times like these". I know it's just a season, but it's still hard.

:: Meals, notes of encouragement, prayer...all of these things are a great help. A little goes a long way. The day my mom moved back, a huge group of guys showed up to help her unload the gigantic u-haul. What would have taken all day was done in rapid speed. That wonderful group of men gave up their morning, but in doing so, blessed our family beyond measure.

:: Listen. Work to draw the person out through good questions and truly listening. I think that often this is one of the best ways to share another's burden. Just be there to listen as the person shares their grief and lightens their load. God calls us to pour out our hearts before him. You can reflect Christ to your grieving friend by allowing them to also do this with you.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

:: Read up on grief. You may not have lost someone yet, but we will all go through this eventually. Most people lose grandparents, parents, some even children. You don't have to personally experience loss to be able to encourage others through it. 

:: Keep pointing your friend back to Jesus. This is very important. Losing someone and all the changes and emotions that come with that can be overwhelming and confusing. It's important to continue to point out God's goodness.


Anonymous said...


I read your blog about your Dad and it brought tears to my eyes. Even though Puck has been gone a while now, not a day goes by that I don't miss him, think about him or suddenly remember that he is no longer with us. I too have faith that one day we all meet in Heaven. You lit up your Dad's life with such joy. As a parent now yourself, you must realize that. Give your self time. when we are running and busy with our lives we have less time to think, reflect and yes grieve. In the quiet moments emotions bloom. Let them bloom freely. There is no expiration of the grief you feel when someone you love is gone. I hope you know that I am always here for you if you need me for any reason.
I love you so much,

Kathleen said...

Kate thank you for sharing your heart. It is also a reminder to keep praying for those who have lost their loved one through out the year, and when ever they come to mind any time after that.
I do grief counseling for Hospice of Michigan, and you are so right that it is important to read up on grief because we will all face it one day and we all run across grieving people. I did not have the pleasure of knowing your Dad but I do remember him at the wedding shower at your parents home and the thing that stuck out in my mind from that day was you sitting on your Daddy's lap. I pray you find comfort in all the beautiful loving memories you have of the two of you. And there is know doubt that you will be with him again one day in Our Father's Kingdom. Much love and many prayers I send to you.
Love Aunt Kathleen

Gigi said...

Kate, I love you and hope that you know that despite the distance between us. Thank you for this post, which lets me see into your heart a little more. I hope that the tears I shed for you (because you know I be shedding those tears!) bring comfort in some way. You have always been a great comfort to me and pointed me to Christ. Thank you friend.

Suz said...

Dear Kate,
I have never read such a beautiful tribute as you just wrote to your Dad. By sharing your heart the way you did I know you will help many people who need and want to know the things that you shared. You are so right that we just do not know what to do or say. I know what you wrote had to be very difficult yet it is so powerful. I believe you were listening to the Holy
Spirit with every word you wrote.
I now must share it with someone I love who suffered a very difficult loss last summer, also. Thanks to you I now have something to share that I think might be helpful.
Love, Aunt Suzanne

Rachel said...

Thank you for being willing to share your heart with us. Your dad was an amazing man and a wonderful father. He was a great example of how to show love. You told me once that he said you should always tell the people you love how much you love them. He always did that with you guys and you always do it with the people you love.
I love you

Hulst mommy said...

That was beautiful Kate. I appreciate the recommendations for helping someone who is mourning. Although I have experienced a great deal of death already, I have not lost someone in my immediate family, nor a close friend.

I still struggle with relating to Brandon. I still have my dad and I can't imagine.

We have also had two losses in our very small church body. So your ideas and helpful hints will help me bless people.

I pray for continual comfort and strength as you continue to grieve the loss of your dad.

<3 Kori

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