What’s It Like to Drown in Grief?

I recently saw a video on Facebook, posted by a grieving friend. I am unable to link it here or embed it. Look for it on my page (Conquering Emotional Pain, The GoalCast). This is what I wrote:

Before you watch it, let me make some suggestions. First of all, it is powerful, and I agree with most of it. The images of waves in the ocean and the feelings described match my feelings after Jennifer died.

But if you are deep in fresh sorrow from the loss of a child, this may not be easy to watch.

I avoided movies, videos, and moments like these. When grief is like a cut in the skin,
raw and open, you are not ready for these emotions, ONE MORE TIME. Overwhelming emotions come on their own like waves, often unexpected and threatening to swallow you whole. I suggest watching only as much as you can handle. You know the condition of your heart, how weak or strong you feel today.

If you are a friend of a grieving person, watch it and develop empathy with the overwhelming emotions of a parent who loses a child.

But, don’t push the solution or suggestion of this video on your friend. Watch the whole video and understand the slow process of healing. Writing a letter to a child who has died is a wonderful healing process. I wrote that letter not long after Jennifer died. But not everyone can do it. And timing is critical. The grieving parent knows when or even if writing this letter is possible. He or she has probably written one in their heads, asking questions, wondering what would have changed the outcome.

NOW watch as much as you wish and then see my thoughts following.

A passage from Psalm 107:23-30 provides words to the images in the video:

Some went off to sea in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. They too observed the Lord’s power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas. He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’s end.

“Lord help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

Words from Scripture that describe drowning and overwhelming fear.


Without hope for a calmer sea, for a better day, for less pain, we continue to drown in the seas of grief and pain.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

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