Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five Things A Bereaved Person Might Say

...My son at the grave of his father...

This is kind of a random post but it's a topic that's always on my heart.  I'm certainly no expert in the field of grief but I know there are some common threads that run through the rivers of loss.  It is my hopes that in sharing a few things, maybe we can minister to one another with a little more compassion and understanding.  I thought I'd jot a little post about these things since I DO bring it up every once in awhile, now don't I?  That's one thing that I think is fairly common in bereaved people...They like to talk about it and write about it.  As with anything, there are always exceptions but for the most part,
1. Bereaved people love to talk and write about their loved ones... It doesn't matter how many years go by...We still love to talk about the ones we miss and the memories we shared.  Only through the pain, through the Cross, can we find healing.  I have actually found writing to be extremely therapeutic so welcome to my "session."*wink*  As the years go by, talking and writing are ways for us to keep memories alive for as long as we survive without them, it's the salve on our wound...until we meet again and our mourning is turned into dancing.  
Please don't judge us unless you've walked in our shoes...

  It's no surprise to most of the readers here that I have lost a dear husband.  His name is Chris and names are important when you have lost someone.  A name becomes a musical note that plays the tune of love that never ends.  I think that's why it's so healthy to name our babies that we've lost to miscarriage.  
2. Never be afraid and never forget to mention a name to someone who has lost.  This is the greatest gift you can give...Even years later.  All those we love are never far from our thoughts.

I also bring up this point because some people might find it odd that I still miss one husband while being happily married to another man.  It's a very difficult concept to explain, I know.  The closest example I can give is that of losing a child.  After talking to friends who have experienced this loss in their lives, they know that they could never "replace" that child with another child.  That is why it's such a wrong thing for someone to say: "Oh, you can have "another one"...
3. Please don't ever try to comfort a grieving person by telling them they can "get another one"...whether it be a spouse or a baby. (Like you can run out to the grocery store and buy another!?)
Yes, you may have other children that bring joy to your life again, but that one missing human being is irreplaceable.  Well, in a nutshell, this is how I feel about losing a husband.  He was a dear and precious soul who was his own person, a spouse and a Dad that is dearly missed. It used to drive me mad when people would say: "Oh, you're young so you can still get married again."  Sure, I'll just get right on that!  Not.   I had no plans or a desire to remarry but God obviously saw things differently.  It is a miraculous blessing that He saw fit to bring me another wonderful man to share the rest of my life with. Being remarried brings me great joy that only a Sacrament can bring.   However, one person does not replace another.  You can still miss the past and love in the present, if that makes sense?.  Ultimately, it's very difficult to put all of this in words because it boils down to a matter of the heart.  That's one thing I do know how to put into words...your heart grows in it's capacity for love after loss
4.  Your love for a deceased loved one is not a threat to any living loved ones.  God fills our hearts with enough love to go to the moon and back!
I recently watched a new Christian movie called Courageous.  The pastor in the movie states things perfectly when he suggests that losing someone you love is like being an amputee...You are never the same again.  This is so true. However, with time, you are able to conquer the world in new and wondrous ways that you would never have been able to do without that wound.  The love I share for my husband now is deeper than an ocean of grief, only because of the ocean of grief.  It might be complicated for some people...Yes it's complicated, what can I say?   But for those who have experienced this loss, it makes perfectly good sense, it just does!

5. Suffering a loss never goes away.  The pain undoubtedly diminishes with time and we can certainly move forward with greater ease but speaking for myself, loss of a spouse stays with us all of our lives.  For the most part, I am a faith-filled person who undertands that my suffering has been a great gift.  I know for a fact that my anguish has made me a better Catholic Christian and it has bathed me in showers of mercy, opening the dam to pour forth forgiveness that was necessary in my situation.  Most recently, my personal grief has brought me to my knees in thanksgiving...Grateful for grace and hope that prevail. However, (there are lots of 'howevers' in grief;) there are days when I don't always sit perfectly well with it.  The ocean of grief ebbs and tides like the natural rhythms of life...It comes and goes with waves that are all shapes and sizes.  Hence, compassion and prayers are gifts during these times. 
A bereaved person would be thankful for this any day, any month, any year.

+++A special thank you to all who have offered prayers for me this year as I journey through another Lent, up that Calvary Hill to my own Good Friday.  I appreciate this more than I can express.  I will also be praying for all of you in return for your generosity+++ 


  1. I'm glad you posted this. it's beautiful.

    Your love and faith are inspiring and those pictures of your son at Chris's grave are so precious.

  2. Thank you for opening your heart, not only for your own healing, but for our benefit as well. Bookmarking and sharing. God bless you, sister.

  3. Tiffany,

    I lost a baby, not a husband but I agree with everything you have written in this beautiful post about grief.

    You said, "Bereaved people love to talk and write about their loved ones". Yes! I have written so many stories about my son Thomas and there are so many more still to be written. I sometimes wonder if readers think I am obsessed with grief! But I write because I love, and in gratitude for having survived and also, because the bereaved need to speak out and share. The more we talk about grief, the less alone other bereaved people feel and I hope, the more compassionate we all become towards each other because we increase our understanding.

    Maybe other people think I have forgotten about Thomas because I was blessed with two more children after his death. But how much more difficult for you. I guess many people would never imagine you still grieve and miss your first husband even though you love and are grateful for your second husband.

    I have been thinking about Lent and grief too. Following Jesus to Calvary inevitably involves retreading our own paths of grief. It is difficult.

    With my prayers and thanks for a beautiful post.

    1. Oh Sue, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your son, Thomas. Neat that it's also my oldest son's name;) However, we call him a nickname, based on his middle name. I'm so glad that you speak and write about your loss as well. Your words were music to my ears! What a tribute to your Thomas and a living legacy you will leave. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us here!

  4. Tiffany this is lovely. Grief can be so difficult, and so crushing, and yet, it can give us a new heart for new things and new possibilities and we can emerge to go on to accomplish and see new loves in our lives, even knowing the grief remains and the love for the loved one (your Chris) never fades. God bless you for sharing. You are in my prayers for a beautiful Lent.

  5. What a beautiful post. Truly. Continued heartfelt prayers! +JMJ+

  6. They all commented so beautifully, Tiffany. I agree with them all. Thank you for writing so honestly. You always seem to lead others through your very own grief and that amazes me. Beautiful post, Tiffany.

  7. I am honored to be a part of your session!

  8. you have blessed me, and i'm sure many others, with your humble sharing. you are a beautiful witness to the submission which He calls us to. may His grace be sufficient for you to continue to heal and lead others to Him.

    increased prayers for you as we enter the Lenten season and prepare for our consecration renewal. may the Blessed Virgin comfort and protect you.

    Ad Jesum per Mariam

  9. Very nicely put! We lost twin boys May 2010 to miscarriage. That was the hardest time of our lives.

    It made me cry when I went in my latest physical and when I was talking to the doctor, she made sure she asked me how I was doing and she put their names in my medical record. It was amazing to me how the feeling of acknowledgement of my grief, but more importantly, the acknowledgement of my boys, made me feel.

    So many people have tried to "brush it under the rug," because they a) don't want to think about it, b)don't want to hurt my feelings, or any other myriad of reasons.

    Just that simple understanding and reassurance that someone cared enough to put in their was very touching and meant so much to me. Yes, when I talk about the boys, I tend to get teary. Yes, it makes me sad that they aren't here with us. I do think that God had a plan for them and that our love for them HAS opened us to more situations and being open to the possibility of more children if He decides that is our course. This has also made us stronger and hopefully, we've been able to help others - especially friends of ours that lost their beautiful little girl during an emergency c-section that was performed too late.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Traci. You are a true Sorrowful Mother and my heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story about naming your twins. I pray you will continue to be a witness and support to others in need, like your friend who recently lost her daughter. God loves you for carrying this Cross and I pray you may find comfort in the arms of Our Lady when you need it most.

  10. I have included you in the "Versatile Blogger Award" because I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog.

    Please see: sure to follow the requirements –if you can—that include:

    1. Write a post on your blog about receiving the Versatile Blogger and be sure to link back to the blog of the person who passed it on to you.
    2. Share 7 facts about yourself.
    3. Pass the award on to 15 other bloggers. I have a difficult time with the idea “keep it simple.”—although it’s on my bucket list! All you are expected to do is to name and link your award winners in this step.


  11. Thank you all for leaving kind comments...They are truly sprinkles of grace on my heart.

  12. This was such a good post and so right-on, re-assuring, and moving

    Bless you for sharing...

  13. Dear Tiffany,
    I feel so blessed to know you. I am so humbled by your generous spirit in sharing your dear Chris. Those photos of your son are just priceless too. In regard to your newer post on social networking this is where I see it at it's best, inspiring others to walk in Faith even through the hard times.
    I for one always think and pray for you through this Lenten period.
    Much love and blessings


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