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Overcoming Grief with Thankfulness

Fred sat in the support group meeting, tears running down both cheeks. After composing himself, he began to speak, "She was my whole world. How could God take her away from us when we need her most. This was supposed to be our time to share and enjoy after all those years of hard work."

Like many who have experienced the amazing Griefshare program (, Fred came to the group with a broken heart. His wife of 40 years died suddenly after a brief illness. Her diagnoses happened recently and her exit from planet earth jolted those around her.

After many years working for a pharmaceutical firm, Fred was on the verge of retirement when Peggy fell ill. His employer afforded him substantial time off and he accompanied her through the early stage of chemotherapy. One morning, he awoke and she was lifeless. He called the squad, but they were unable to resuscitate her.

Months had passed, but the reality had barely sunk in. The impending holidays loomed as a barrier that Fred wasn't sure he could overcome. So he came to the Griefshare class.

Over the 13-week program, I was astonished to see how much God was able to do in Fred's heart. Somehow, Fred went from shock and anger to thankfulness and peace. Losing a loved one is tough on everyone affected, but God's Love is greater even than our biggest losses. God's Word leads us through dark times, sometimes like a floodlight and sometimes like a small flashlight. The result is the same: comfort. "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4).

In the United States, no month of the year is better for healing than November. There are reminders everywhere to be thankful. The way through grief is to find hope in thankfulness. Great love lost reminds us of our own mortality, but also of the bright, beautiful moments of the past. If God blessed us with a wonderful parent, spouse or child, we can enjoy great thankfulness in reminding ourselves of joy shared. That joy forms the strength to move forward in hope. By doing the next right thing, we honor the memory of the departed.

(Hi Friends, have you or someone you know lost a loved one, but haven't found your way through the grief journey. I strongly recommend the nationwide GriefShare program. It meets in churches and other locations nationwide. Small groups watch a video and discuss it. There is a nominal, one-time fee at most locations for a workbook. By using the workbook too, participants can better understand the road to healing and chart their progress. I've been a GriefShare leader at my church for the past year and find it very rewarding and personally healing.)

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