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Honor your grief

Honor Your Grief

by: Elizabeth Thorndike

With a lump in my throat, I placed my phone back down on the counter. I was fighting back the tears as my then 8-year-old came around the corner with her daily question, “What are we doing today mama?” It was summertime, and my adventurous girl liked to have a plan. We were living in a log home out on 5 acres, and we loved the space. We had horses on one side and blueberry fields on the other.

Yet, on this day, I felt a deep grief. I had just received a group text from my best girlfriends. They were heading to the lake, and once again, I knew I could not join. It was not safe having Shelby by the water. She was so fast and very impulsive; a combo that could lead a mama bear into panic. I also had two other kiddos to watch that were not strong swimmers.

That familiar ache surfaced as I put on a smile and suggested to my waiting Savannah that we pick blueberries then get out the slip-n-slide. She then asked if we could invite people over, but I knew that all our tribe would be at the lake. I dodged the question and put on some music….” let’s dance I said!”

My friends were innocently living their lives one summer day at a time, but I felt so left behind. I felt insignificant. The grief felt deep. I had been here, this place of ache, several times since Shelby’s monumental birth. The crazy thing about grief is that the most insignificant things can trigger it, and it can be a total surprise. These are the times that can affect me the most, the surprise attack.

I guess somewhere in my mind I figured that if I had already grieved it, it should not resurface. But this is not true. In fact, grief reminds me of forgiveness a bit in that we might have to walk it out several times. I used to avoid this achy feeling. I would distract myself, put it on the back burner of my heart and move on. (Some of you know this all too well… am I right?) The trouble with this approach is that over time, it becomes heavier and heavier until bitterness starts to surface. Bitterness can be a huge liar! It can fill your head with thoughts that can separate you from those you love as well as close you off from your Heavenly Father.

In the lake scenario, I just wanted someone to reach out and say, “Hey Elizabeth, I know the lake is a hard one for you to maneuver. Where could we meet today that would work for your family. It’s not the same without you.” I longed to feel included. I wanted it to occur to someone to ask. That particular morning, God whispered to me “don’t run”. He encouraged me to honor my grief. He asked me to sit in it and allow Him to meet me right there, in the midst of my pain. He offered to hold it in His hands and carry the bitterness, so that I could move forward without severing relationships. He asked me to walk it through with grace.


Friends, I know that our unique journeys can have a lot of grief. It can come in waves and sometimes knock the breath right out of us.

It was a tender and intimate moment that gave me the courage to awkwardly start to honor my grief. I say awkward because I was not great at it in the beginning. When these “surprise attacks” happened, I had to learn to slow down and recognize the pain. I had to learn to take a moment, or even days, to bring the pain to my Heavenly Father and allow Him to carry it. He also would fill the doubt I lingered in with his truth. The truth, that my journey was so special. The truth, that He was in it every step of the way. The truth, that He is faithful and that He would fill the places, where my heart felt left behind, with new and different adventures. Great adventures!

Friends, I know that our unique journeys can have a lot of grief. It can come in waves and sometimes knock the breath right out of us. I have felt breathless many times. These moments can be brutal, but they can also, if we are open, be beautiful. It is at my lowest that I have felt God’s presence in the most intimate way. He is not just a covering. He desires deep connection with us all. My hope is that with practice, we can all draw close to God in these breathless moments and allow him to meet us there.

parent - honor your grief

about us

Meet the Thorndikes - Moment to Moment Family

Hi there! We are the crazy cool parents to 5 amazing and crazy cool kiddos. But, first, we are Dan and Elizabeth Thorndike – married 15 years and living this life one moment at a time. We have a full and blessed life, but we are clumsily tackling a journey we never foresaw ourselves living.

Read our story of how this journey all started in our blog post titled:
“The Beginning. Our Special Needs Journey”


Elizabeth Thorndike

Introverted extrovert – that’s how I describe myself. I absolutely love being a mama but never knew how hard it would be, nor how deeply I could love.



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