Tag Archive | death

Never Say These 2 Things to a Grieving Mom


A few months after my son Bobby died, I had lunch with a few friends. I still wasn’t up to socializing, but I agreed to go anyway. One of the women said something that made me want to jump across the table and grab her by the throat. I know she meant her words as comfort, but at that time it was like rubbing salt in an already gaping wound. It’s now been five years and I can remember my visceral reaction that day.

Here are two things NEVER to say to a grieving mother:

He/she is in a better place. No he’s not! He should be here with his family. With me. How could any place be better?

If you just do X, you’ll find closure. Really? What does closure mean, exactly? Do you think one simple act will help relieve the unrelenting aching of my empty arms?

As any mom will tell you, after 5 years, 10 years, or even longer, there is no such thing as closure. Writing my book, BECAUSE OF GRACE, didn’t bring closure. Putting a brass plaque with Bobby’s name on the Children’s Memorial Tree in South Lake Tahoe didn’t bring me closure. Closure is like trying to grab smoke.

Has anyone ever said anything to you like this? How did you respond?




Because of Grace available on Amazon:



Grace Defined

The dictionary defines grace as ‘favor or good will.’ A ‘manifestation of favor, especially by a superior.’ When I think about the death of my son, and how it changed my entire world, I wonder at God’s grace. As His child, I have His favor and good will, as described by dictionary.com.

In Jerry Sittser’s best-selling book, he talks about how God’s grace is often disguised in tragedy.

Loss may call the existence of God into question. Pain seems to conceal Him from us, making it hard for us to believe there could be a God in the midst of our suffering. 1

How can Bobby’s death be God’s grace? My comfort is there is a greater plan at work than I can see or imagine. I know that through the excruciating pain following Bobby’s passing, God was there, keeping me from falling into the abyss.

My prayer for those women who have lost a son or daughter, is they’ll find the strength to go on. To get up every day, get dressed, and move through the pain. Grief will either destroy you or make you stronger.

I choose strength.


  1. A Grace Disguised. Sittser, Zondervan 1995, 2004

Being Coached Is Hard



I sighed with satisfaction as the latest episode of my favorite television show ended. I’d become addicted to watching it every week. It’s not that I watch a lot of TV, but this show had me hooked. It was an ongoing drama, carried on from week to week. Like a soap opera, nothing was neatly tied up in a one-hour time slot.


A week or so later, I heard my Life Coach telling me I needed to be more careful about what I watched on television. Mind you, the show wasn’t violent, it didn’t have questionable language, but most of the characters engaged in all kinds of sexual behavior. No better or worse than other shows on prime time. Why was my Life Coach trying to ruin my fun?


I tried ignoring the advice. I must have heard wrong. Surely that was the enemy wanting to trip me up.


Then I tried reasoning. Come on, it’s not that bad. It doesn’t affect my life in a negative way.


This morphed into downright rebellion. “I’m going to watch it anyway.” That worked for a few weeks, until my Life Coach recruited help in the form of one of his assistants, AKA my pastor. The sermon was about giving everything to God. My Life Coach must have been sitting behind me because I heard Him whisper, “Are you listening?”


Well, shoot. When you pull out the big guns, I guess I better sit up and pay attention.


“Fine,” I muttered. “I won’t watch it anymore.” If I were twelve years old again, I’d have stomped off to my room and slammed the door.


It’s now a few weeks later. True to my word, I haven’t watched that particular TV show. Has my life changed? Am I now more holy, more spiritual? I wish I could say yes. But nothing’s changed. At least outwardly. But I’m sure my Life Coach knows what’s best for me. Even when I don’t agree. Even when I can’t see the point. I must believe he knows more than I do. After all, He’s the coach.



Where Are The Girls


The kidnapping of Nigerian school girls is chilling. What kind of society punishes education and the thirst for knowledge because of your sex?

As I read the news articles, I couldn’t help empathize with the mothers of those young women. What cruelties are being wreaked upon their daughters? Will they die in captivity, starved, beaten, raped? Will they ever see their girls again?

My son’s death wasn’t violent. It wasn’t a sudden ripping apart from the family. He didn’t die alone. My grief is for his life cut short, and I miss him every day. But I don’t agonize over the unimaginable misery as those Nigerian mothers. Let’s do what we can to stop this terrible social travesty.


Somebody’s Son

Too many people have lost their lives in the past few months due to violence. This isn’t a blog post about the Second Amendment. Rather, it’s a reminder that for every young man or woman who used a gun or knife to kill others, there’s a mother who mourns.

A mother remembers her perfect newborn, chubby toddler, hopeful kindergartener. She looks back and wonders what she could have done differently so the outcome of her son’s life would be different.

They call him a monster, a murderer, a demon-possessed pawn of Satan. He called her mommy. They search for someone to blame. Was he bullied? Abused? Eventually the fingers point to her. If she’d been a better parent, he wouldn’t have bought a gun and hunted his perceived enemies like prey.

So she grieves his life and death by his own hand. She mourns what could have been. She’ll regret the choices she’s made. And she’ll miss him every day of her life.

When I am Old

More than a few years ago, there was a poem titled “When I Am Old, I Shall Wear Purple.” As someone who is no longer young, and not yet old, I’m thinking about the person I want to be when my mind fades and my body breaks down. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

When I’m old, I won’t be cranky.

I’ll keep smiling in spite of my circumstances.

I won’t complain about my health or aches and pains.

I’ll respect the feelings of those around me.

I’ll be friendly to strangers and try to make new friends as my old friends pass away.

I’ll suffer the indignity of loss of independence with grace.

I won’t worry about, nor try to control my future.

I will keep my sense of humor.

I will be the old woman everyone wants to be around.

What about you? Would you add anything to the list, or take anything away?

I’m convinced that cheerfulness, not happiness, not joy, is a decision.