When a Parent Grieves

When A Parent Grieves

I vowed to my friend that I would not talk about grief on the blog this year. I felt that my readers were probably sick of reading about my grief journey. Yet, I do not have the ability to read minds, so I do not really know what my readers are thinking. Honestly, I am the one who is sick of writing and talking about grief. I desire to pretend that grief moments do not exist. Those moments where I hear a certain song and think of my sister, Wanda. Those moments when the tears come. Those moments that my mom succumbs to the tears.

Back in December 2015, I claimed 2016 as my year of joy. Basically, I was not going to allow grief to arrest me. To break me in half. But I am not superhuman, and it was a mistake to believe that I would never be affected by grief. My mother and I have been affected. I know that my dad grieves, but it is not as visible to me as my mother’s grief. I am going to share how it feels to watch my mother grieve.

One of the churches in my city has experienced a series of deaths, which has produced empathy and sorrow within my mother and me. When a church member dies, it as though a family member has died. I believe that so much time can be spent in church, that you end having both warm conversations and arguments with other members. You celebrate milestones such as the upcoming birth of a baby or a person’s 80th birthday. Thus, it is very challenging when a church member dies, because you have witnessed so many events with this person.

My mother was particularly concerned with the death of the fourth person that died in this local church. She discussed the death with other folks and was interested in attending the wake or funeral. On one Sunday, I was driving my parents to church. We were listening to a poignant song, and I heard soft noises from my mother. She was crying, and I felt helpless. My mom missed my sister and her daughter. As I drove, I looked back at her face. Her eyes were crinkled, and her mouth was turned upside down. I wanted to jump out of my seat to give her a hug. I thought to myself, “It’s okay to cry, Mom.”

In American society, there is a timeline for acceptable grieving. After the first year, there are not as many phone calls or texts asking how you are doing. Life happens, and people have their own struggles. I understand that people cannot continue to check in with you. But there does not seem to be enough space for folks to process. To be free to cry in year two, year three or even year four.

So, my hope was that my mother did not stifle her tears. I desired for her to be the brave one. To express a courage that I struggled to have.

In church, my mother asked for prayer for the bereaved family and then she asked for prayer for herself. She explained to the congregation that she had been thinking about her own deceased daughter a lot. She cried again, and I wanted to race to her pew. She needed to be comforted, and I had to be the comforter. But my brother ended up moving to her pew and embraced her.

When a parent grieves, you subconsciously take on your parent’s role. You become what your parent was to you when you were little. When you scraped your knee, your mom gently wiped the bruised area with water, soap, and rubbing alcohol. Maybe, she even kissed the area in order to “make it all better.” I have realized that I cannot “make it all better.” Indeed, I can kiss my mom. I can allow her to cry and hug her. But I cannot save or heal her.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Even though, I want to be my mother’s protector, I have to remember that she has Jesus. When her heart splatters on the ground, Jesus is not afraid to see the blood and to wipe it up.

It was unreasonable of me to promise myself to not write about grief this year. There are other daughters and sons out there who are trying to be the solution to their parents’ mangled hearts. They are pushing themselves to be the ointment that only Jesus can be. I have to write about grief even when I am done with talking about it, because I am still extracting lessons from the pain. I have to pass on what I have learned about grief to others.


16 thoughts on “When a Parent Grieves

  1. This right here spoke to me in so many different ways. Thank you so much for sharing how you comfort your mother through what I am sure must be an extremely difficult time for you as well. I know from experience, that it is never easy to see a loved one hurt, especially a parent. I recently lost my paternal grandmother, and the day that I called my dad to talk about, he was broken and crying on the phone. I just started crying along as I spoke words of encouragement as promised in the Bible. I had to be strong for me, and I know that even though I was hurting because I had lost my grandma, I was hurting more from seeing how much my father was hurting. God bless you sis. Keep writing and teaching us what you have learned about grief.

    On Wed, Jun 22, 2016 at 3:12 PM, And I am an afrotasticlady! wrote:

    > afrotasticlady posted: ” I vowed to my friend that I would not talk about > grief on the blog this year. I felt that my readers were probably sick of > reading about my grief journey. Yet, I do not have the ability to read > minds, so I do not really know what my readers are thinking” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you sis for the encouragement and support! I so appreciate it as it motivates me to keep writing about this important topic. Thank you for sharing your grief story. I want to extend my condolences to you and your family. You are right; it is hard to watch a grieving parent. At least in those moments we can pray and be a shoulder to cry on for them. You are being a beautiful daughter to your father! God bless you! 🙂


  2. This is beautifully expressed…thank you for sharing your heart. It is indeed heart wrenching to watch our parents grieve. For me, it is a great comfort to know that God is near in our pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww..thanks so much for reading Jamia! I am encouraged by your support and warm comments! It really is challenging to grieve and to watch your parents grieve. But you are right about how we can find comfort in our Savior, Jesus! 🙂 He mends us!


  3. Yes!! Yes! You have to keep writing about grief because you are helping so many others who are grieving. My mother-in-law died June 11th. Her death was so unexpected; she was in a car accident. My husband is grieving and his family is grieving. My older children and I are grieving with him, but in a different way because we do not hurt in the same way as my husband because she is his mom. I know the pain is very different. I have been praying for guidance on how I can support my husband and his father and siblings. Thank you for writing this post. It speaks to my heart so much!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww..Jennifer, I know I already said this on IG and Twitter, but thanks again for reading. Thank you for your encouragement for me to keep writing. Sometimes, I can just get so stubborn but I am glad to read that this post spoke to you. And I am very sorry about your recent loss. I know the grief is probably so raw for your family right now. I think it’s wonderful that you are praying on how you can be best be a support to your husband and his family. Praying that you are able to care for yourself too as you were impacted by your mother in law’s life and her passing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Also, my condolences to you and your family. I got teary-eyed reading your description of your mom crying. I cannot imaging her pain of losing her daughter or your pain of losing your sister. I am so very sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh such a powerful post friend! It’s written so
    eloquently and from the heart; you are so right, we live in a culture which pushes us to heal quickly from everything – grief, wounds, even childbirth. And yet, our struggles remain. As you so correctly point out, we must lay it all at His feet and take refuge in His word,
    even when we want to rescue our own parents from their sorrows. Thank you for this piognant piece! May God continue using your words to bless others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Girl, I lit up when I saw your comments. You made my heart glad. Thank you for your beautiful response and for reading my post. It’s so true; we live in such a speedy, microwave ready world. I know you have written about how we need to take the time to pause. We definitely need to take the time to pause when it comes to the hard stuff like grief. People really need the opportunity to just grieve-freely grieve! Yell, scream, cry, and bring their burdens to Jesus! Thank you again for your encouragement! 🙂 ♡ Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very poignant and succinctly written. Thank you! What sets us apart as Believers in times of grief, sorrow, and other twists and turns of life is our faith. Our hope and faith in God, through Jesus the Christ, assures us that the “valley days” are momentary…whether they’re days, weeks, months, or even years. As the psalmist stated in Psalm 23, “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I’ll fear no evil…” As Christians we must always remember that for there to be a shadow, there has to be a source of light.That Light is Jesus! So our focus and attention during those darkest moments should be on the “Light” not on the shadow. The Light is REAL; the shadow is not! God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi I.B.! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your encouraging words! It’s such a marvelous thing that we can hold onto Jesus during the tough times. As you said, Jesus is our light! He is our compaion. Thanks again for sharing!


  7. I love this being I’m a grieving parent myself and a lot of your insight is amazing. My father has written on my Blog “Jordyns Open Diary” about watching a grieving child mourn the loss of their child. It’s amazing and I love your transparency. God bless you and I hope to read so much more from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dominique! So glad to have connected with on IG! I know it must be very comforting to have an outlet like your blog where you can process your grief. I know it helps me tremondously when I write about my grief. I would love to read what your dad wrote. He sounds like he is a great support for you. Thanks again for reading and commenting on my blog post! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I write about love, memories & grief honouring my 20year old son Jacob who we lost in Oct last year after a short 13month battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma, with my words in my blogs. I am finding that writing helps with the loss & grief x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I appreciate your comments! I also wanted to send my condolences to you and your family. Watching/caring for a loved one with a chronic illness is a traumatic experience. I admire your resilience. It is so lovely that you honor your son’s life by writing about him on your blog. I will definitely check out your words. I agree with you that there is something very therapeutic about writing about my grief. It’s soothing. Many blessings to you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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