life∙line/ˈlīfˌlīn/ Support that enables people to survive or to continue doing something (often by providing an essential connection)

The first time I heard the term “lifeline” related to grief was from my dear friend, Patti. Four years ago Patti’s life changed forever when a violent crime took the life of her beautiful twenty-six year old daughter, Anne. There are no words to adequately describe her journey through sorrow since Anne’s death; yet somehow Patti continues to find strength to wake up every morning and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

She is often asked how she keeps going. I’ve noticed people lean in to listen whenever Patti speaks now, not wanting to miss a single word. She is quick to talk about her Christian faith.

Patti’s quiet confidence and unshakable hope for the future inspire the very people who are there to encourage her.

The next thing she might tell you about are her lifelines. Patti’s lifelines are the trusted friends who were at her side when Anne died. They are people who not only pray for her, but pray with her anytime day or night. These lifelines have been there for birthdays, anniversaries and times she thought about giving up. Around them, Patti doesn’t have to clean up the pain or pretend everything is okay. They make her feel safe.

Another invaluable lifeline has been her gifted and compassionate professional counselor. Since connecting with an excellent grief therapist, Patti has been able to keep moving forward on the road of healing, and start looking ahead to the future. Her story of survival is now offering hope and encouragement to other moms and dads grieving the unthinkable loss of a child.

What about you?

Do you have a lifeline walking with you, a friend or maybe a group of people who understand what you’re going through? If you’d like help finding support, a local pastor or hospice provider can be an excellent place to start.

You don’t have to go through grief alone.


Beth Marshall

Beth Marshall is a freelance journalist, speaker and author of two grief-related books. Grief Survivor, 28 Steps toward Hope and Healing; and A Time to Heal, a grief journal. After losing three close people in her life, Beth felt crushed and overwhelmed by the intense emotions of grief. As she began to write about her "uniquely awesome" family members, Marshall eventually began to smile again- and even laugh. Her hope is to help others discover joy-filled life after loss.

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