I love to listen to podcasts while I am in the car. I have a 20 minute drive to the YMCA for water aerobics, and I am usually listening to a podcast.
I discovered a treasure last week while scrolling through the iTunes library. Kate Bowler has a compelling voice, delightful word choices, and a remarkable story to tell. “She is a young mother, writer and professor who, at age 35, was suddenly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. In warm, insightful, often funny conversations, Kate talks with people about what they’ve learned in dark times.”
I love listening to her story but her interviews demonstrate a deep compassion for others who suffer. The episodes provide a window into the lives of a wide variety of people who suffer and grieve in different ways.
A recent episode with Jayson Greene touched me personally; he shares the story of the sudden accidental death of his two year old daughter. Kate calls this episode “The Language of Grief”. Their conversation is filled with insights that will help other grieving parents but also will help those who want to help. Jayson calls them “First Responder Friends”.
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 watchingonly 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.
THE HOPE THE SAILORS NEED COMES IN THE LORD’S RESPONSE TO THEIR CRY FOR HELP.
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
This is a favorite drawing by a former student (8th grade). I included the background because it has details on the whiteboard about the book we were studying (Gathering Blue), my charts, even the lamp in the back.
I’ve been working on this blog to improve it in the last few days and hope you will check out the new pages. I have added a booklist of some of the books I recommend for those in grief. I also have a list of websites that provide many types of help for a wide variety of broken hearts.
Please share these resources with people who need them.
The first week in March is packed with several events. Check out the list here. Just added another one this week.
Thank you for all who have purchased my book. Please write a review on Amazon, even if you bought it from me.