The Path to Healing:
A Journey Through Grief

It is very hard to describe the grief of losing a baby to Edwards Syndrome to those who have not experienced it. It is also very hard for those who are going through it to understand it as well: we tend to think we must be going crazy because it is so unlike what we expected. One of the things that I found that helped me was reading and writing about my grief. I did this in several ways:

  1. By keeping a grief journal
  2. By reading and writing grief poems
  3. By reading and writing about grief
  4. By studying the bible and understanding how what God was telling me fits in with my grief.
Since reading about grief helped me so much, I want to share some of my writings with you. Perhaps you are grieving as well and will find a connection with my words. Or perhaps you are a friend or family member trying to support another's grief and something here will help you understand it better.

I found that keeping a grief journal - writing down my thoughts as they came to me and processing the events and emotions of my life - really helped me deal with my grief. In looking back at it, it really illustrates for me the strange nature of grief: that it is NOT a steady uphill climb but is more like a wild ride on a rollercoaster. The ups and downs are tiring to read about, and they were exhausting to experience. You can read my Grief Journal by using the links at left.

At times I also felt a great need to write grief poems, just not the rhyming kind. But sometimes it just flowed out of me; at times the best way to express the grief I was feeling and experiencing was through poetry, although I'm not sure everyone completely understands it. If you would like to read some of the poems I have written, as well as some that I found meaningful, please see the Poetry section.

If you are a friend of someone who is grieving, don't miss How to Help a Grieving Friend, including what to say and what not to say.

Other times, I found that writing allegories was the best way to express my feelings. I am not the only who felt that way: Lore Schmitz, who I met through the Cristin's Prayer message board, also wrote an allegory that she has graciously allowed me to include on this site. The reason I think allegories are so effective is that they are stories or experiences that others can relate to or understand, and through them, they can hopefully understand things that we can't express any other way. Here are the three allegories I have included:

  1. The Journey. In this expression of grief I used a journey through a mountain range to describe the ups and downs, the length, and the incredible frustrations of my grief journey. Many people have told me that it accurately describes their grief as well.
  2. The Stairway - by Lore Schmitz. Lore's allegory, in memory of her son David, uses climbing a stairway with a seemingly endless series of doors to describe her grief.
  3. The Circus. I wrote this story to describe how difficult it is for those who have lost a baby to see other healthy babies being born.

If you have Spiritual questions about your grief, see my section on God and Grief.

Finally, I have read and studied the bible a lot during this journey, mostly to see what God has to say about grief. And he says a lot! Often I referred to these things in my grief journal. I have highlighted several months where I wrote quite a bit about my relationship with God in my grief. These months are noted in the Where is God in our Grief? section.

All of these things helped me do my grief work. Many people say that time heals all wounds, but that's not true. It's what we do during that time that heals us. For sure, we can't shortcut the time, but time alone won't do it. We must work at our grief, thus the term grief work. What does that mean? It means feeling the emotions, the pain and sadness, and not denying the feelings. It is often easier to try to avoid the pain, but doing our grief work is what strengthens us to help us heal.

I was also given the privilege of presenting a lesson for our Ladies Inspiration Day at our church in April, 2004. The subject was dealing with struggles, and I used examples from the book of Job as well as my own experiences to share some of what God has taught me about grief and suffering. I have presented it on this site in 4 parts:

  1. The beginning of the struggle which introduces my struggle and explains that there is a large element of grief in every struggle. It also introduces the concept that grieving is the process of getting our heads (what we know) in balance with our hearts (what we are experiencing). It introduces Job's struggle and looks at how he initially responded (with his head), how his wife first responded (with her heart), and how I first responded (the conflict between my head and my heart).
  2. The depth of the struggle which examines the struggle Job was experiencing in his heart. Although his head said the right things, he was still struggling deeply in his heart. It looks at just how difficult and how long his grief lasted, and it points out some of the honest emotions Job had as he questioned and petitioned God. I have also added my experiences in as well.
  3. The help of friends looks at how Job's friends helped him greatly at first and gives examples from my experience of how friends can really help those who are grieving. It then looks at the things his friends did that weren't helpful, and what he says he would do if others were grieving.
  4. The fruit of the struggle addresses the end of the struggle - when the butterfly breaks out of the cocoon and flies. It shows the reward that Job received after the suffering, and I talk about the gift that I have also received because of the grief I have experienced.
Hear an MP3 excerpt | Download entire lesson (5.4 MB MP3)

I hope that this look at grief through my eyes, and through some of the things that God has taught me will be helpful to you. I hope that it will bring you comfort in your grief, insight into others' grief, and patience and encouragement to persist when the intensity and duration of the grief is stunning. There is a gift at the end - a deeper understanding of God, of ourselves, and deeper love and emotion for others - that we could not obtain any other way.

May God bless you as you walk this path.

Main Grief Resources | Helping a Grieving Friend

My Grief Journal

I wanted to share some of my experiences and emotions as my heart begins to heal. It is a long, slow process, but there is healing….