Life After Loss

“Good grief!” If you think about it, it is sort of an odd expression. Honestly, is there really such a thing as grief that is good?

As it turns out, there is. Living with Loss reveals how comfort for the soul can be found as we grieve our losses.

In the following pages, counselor and fellow-griever, Tim Jackson, invites us to consider how leaning into the heartaches of life opens us up to lean on our Creator and each other.

My Summer of Loss

On a beautiful afternoon, while I was standing in a store at the local mall, my cell phone vibrated. It was my older brother Steve. He said just two words, “Mom’s gone.” My stomach hurt as my brother sobbed into the phone 700 miles away—I felt helpless and alone.

It was surreal: I’m standing in a mall and just heard that Mom is dead. How absolutely bizarre! I felt like I was dying inside. I hung up, somehow found the way to my car, and no sooner had I closed the door than I burst into tears. Sobs really. I don’t know how long I sat there weeping.

Several days later, we gathered with family and friends to celebrate the wonderful woman we called Mother, Grandmother, and precious friend. And we began our journey of life without Mom.

Eight weeks later, I received a second call, this time from my younger brother. He told me Dad had finally lost his 6-year battle with Alzheimer’s.

The tears came as I drove home. I was grieving yet grateful. Grateful for his release—that my father no longer suffered with the disease and that he was with his Savior. I called my son and shared the news. We talked about how “Pap-Pap” would have enjoyed being out with us that day. And we cried.

When I arrived home, I shared the news with the rest of my family. We talked. We cried. We prayed. And we grieved. That was 2011—my “summer of loss.”

As a counselor, I have helped many in their struggle through grief over different kinds of loss. What I’ve been learning on my own journey through grief, a journey I’m still taking, is that faith is indispensable. Our relationship with God influences our ability to navigate through what feels like insurmountable pain.

Grief is a journey that sooner or later we all must take. It’s how we take the journey that makes all the difference.

Grief is a journey that sooner or later we all must take. It’s how we take the journey that makes all the difference.

Tim Jackson

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