Abundant life after the Grief

27 years ago today, my life changed forever.  The day began with an abundance of joy and expectation.  It ended with me in ICU fighting for my life and a precious friend having lost that fight.  June 25, 1992 feels like yesterday and it feels like ages ago.  They say that time heals.  That is a great saying but it simply is not true.  Time goes by; memories fade; but pain remains until it is healed.  

Over the past 27 years, I have learned a lot about grief — there is healthy grief and there is unhealthy grief.  In healthy grief, a person works through the processes of the grief cycle; there is no certainty of what it will look like or how long it will last.  We simply don’t get to be in control of grief.  Nevertheless, at the end of the grief cycle there is still the loss and the scars of that loss but there is also an acceptance and a healing, the ability to move on with life.

In unhealthy grief, a person gets stuck in the cycle.  It can be in denial, guilt, anger, sadness, etc.  For many years, I was stuck in grief.  I held onto shame, guilt, and a lingering sadness that I would not entrust to anyone, even to the Lord.  In retrospect, I see that I was trying to punish myself for an accident.  If I had just looked one more time; if I were just a bit more careful; if only, if only, if only………There is no guilt, no punishment that can ever bring Kerrie back or that can change that fateful day.  Until I stand face to face with Jesus, I will never know why He took Kerrie home that day or why I was the one chosen to drive that car and to spend those last hours with Kerrie.  

Here is the good news — time does not heal but God does. What I do know is that the Lord doesn’t want me stuck in unhealthy grief.  Kerrie would not want me stuck there either.  I know without a doubt that Kerrie is healed, whole, beautiful and even more joy filled than she was here on earth.  

So, I have decided to lay that guilt and shame down; I have decided to move on with the grieving cycle.  In doing so, I have not let go of Kerrie.  I have just used to words she loved to say:  “Christians don’t say good bye, just see you later.”  

How I look forward to the day that I see Kerrie again.  That time, I know there will be no good byes, no see you laters as we will have eternity together with the Lord.  Until then, I treasure the memories; I treasure the last conversations; and I choose to trust that while God’s plans and purposes can be quite painful, He is good.

Time doesn’t heal wounds but God heals wounds if we allow Him to do so.  The healing journey is the hardest journey I have ever taken and the very best journey I have ever taken.  God’s heart is to heal:  “The Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

May God empower you and may He continue to empower me to walk this journey of faith with our eyes set on our Savior and healer.  Final healing comes on that last day, but there is healing for us as we walk these days on earth.  There is abundant life in the midst of grief.  

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

13 Replies to “Abundant life after the Grief”

  1. I love you! Great words written by a special soul. ❤️ Thinking of you…

  2. A beautiful perception on how a Christian can handle grief- trust in God and our future with Him is paramount – God wants to share so many beautiful moments in our earthly life- until that special day when we will join Him and all our deceased loved ones!

  3. oh my wow Brooke. i’m in tears. mounds and mounds of tears. i’m so thankful you are alive. i don’t even know that i’ve ever truly expressed that enough to you. you are so very special to me. this day i choose to celebrate you living and the good Lord sparing you. you just blessed me this afternoon as i’m certain you’ve blessed so many others. i love you my sister in Christ. you are by far the best part of this date.

  4. Brooke, I am sorry for the years that have passed and the pain that continues. In this post you so beautifully expressed yourself and ministered to others. I will pray that your grieving cycle will stay in a healthy place. Indeed, Kerrie would desire that for you! So many of life’s painful seasons make no sense this side of Heaven. Knowing the loving character of the Father allows us to let go of grief and trust Him more. It is a process. Your words blessed my day.

  5. God bless you, Brooke, for writing those beautiful words. I find out more about you all the time and love you for sharing your journey with us. God bless you, your grief walk and your wonderful memories of your dear friend, Kerrie. God is so kind and gentle. We are so very hard on ourselves. You are precious to me and so many others. Much love, Nikki

  6. Brooke – This is absolutely beautiful. God is using you to speak to so many through your story, and I know Kerrie would be so proud of you ❤️

    John 16:33 is a favorite of mine because of the promise it holds, and what a wonderful reminder that Jesus has gone before us in everything and triumphed. Right before He says this, He says “Yet, I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” The Father is with you also, and His peace is shining through you.

    Much love, Kelly

    1. Sadly, I am just seeing your response. Thanks so much for the kind words. They mean a lot to me, even if seeing them late :).

  7. You have heeded God and his loving words in Deuteronomy 30:19 by continuing to choose life. Bless you for all the joy you share with us.

  8. How beautifully expressed, dear Brooke! You are a mighty witness to our Lord and Savior+, and I think you for sharing your journey!
    In Chrisit’s Love+ Diane

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