I’m 12 years old and our family is living in a 3rd floor apartment. The phone rings on this summer day. Mom answers.

I watch the color leave her face.

I hear sentence fragments. “A lone driver…he didn’t see her…the truck was backing up……a closed casket.”

Hanging up the phone, Mom tells all of us to come and sit down. She said that Julie, our six-year-old cousin, had won a bicycle and she ran outside to ride it.

Julie hoped everyone would see her, but the garbage man didn’t. Julie died.

It was hard to see my mom cry. It made my stomach hurt.

“Keep George and Stevie away from the open windows,” mom said as she and my brother Gus, leave to be with Aunt Angie.

Poor Aunt Angie. She had a little girl and now she’s gone. I wonder if she’ll cry all night, like Billy’s mom.

I look outside and wonder why the sun is still shining because inside, I feel very sad.

Letter from Above

My Precious One,

I saw you and your siblings all gathered around your mother. I know how scary it was hearing about Julie. It made your stomach hurt when you saw your mom cry.

When Jesus went to his friendshouse after their brother, Lazarus died, Jesus cried too. He hated seeing Mary and Martha so sad. He felt sad with them.

Death is sad. It means we will no longer see the one who died.

I know you are sad, and I want you to know I am sad too. Sad that you are hurting so much. Go ahead and cry, precious one. Its okay.

And I will do what Ive always done. I will take one of my special bottles and collect every tear that slides out of your beautiful eyes.

Im sorry you are hurting, but dont worry, you are not alone.

Grief is a Journey

Grief is a very long journey,
a journey you take on your own.                                                                               And no one can know
all the sorrow you feel,
for it is your sorrow alone.

Grief is an awful intruder,                                                                                              it comes and it stays night and day.

And no one can look
at the way that you grieve,                                                                                         and then tell you,
“No, this is the way.”

Even More Grief

Mom and Gus arrive home after being with Aunt Angie. Mom seems so sad. She feels bad for her sister. I feel sad looking at Mom. We’re going to go to Julie’s funeral. I don’t think children should have to die, except they do.

Mom and Dad went out for a while. They had to tell Grandma Savas about what happened to Julie. I know Grandma is going to be sad too.

It’s a little while later and Mom and Dad are home now. The phone just rang. I watch as color leaves my mom’s face one more time.

Now Grandma is gone. When Grandma thought about what happened to Julie, Grandma’s heart broke and she died.

Mom’s crying now. Mom just lost her mom. I hurt so bad inside and it won’t stop.  I wish it would stop.

The Promise of God

My Child,

I see all the sadness surrounding today. I see your mothers tears and how alone she feels. And I see how helpless you feel as you watch her.

I want you to know, I was with your grandma when she died. Her heart did break. She could not think about little Julie gone. She could not think about her own daughter having to bury Julie.

This is where you need to trust me, precious one. This is where you need to believe that I am even bigger than all the pain you are feeling.

Have you ever seen the little sparrows?

They are some of the smallest birds Ive created, and I love them very much. So when they need food, I provide it. When they need shelter, they hide in trees and bushes.

And if one of them falls to the ground, I know about it.

And Im going to tell you something: I care for people even more than I care for sparrows.

I will mend your moms broken heart. And I will be there when your mom misses her mom.

I know moms are important. Im the one who thought of moms.

When I make a promise, I always keep it. I promise I will be with those who hurt. I will not back away.

Grown-ups call this grief. Grief is like a long journey. It seems like you are on that journey alone, but Im there too.

Sometimes you will feel okay and then it will feel like a giant wave comes and knocks you over. There are times you wonder if you can get up again.

Im there. Ill help you up. Just ask me.

Your Tears

Sometimes when Im hurting, God,

I feel like no one cares.
The silence echoes in my soul,
I question that youre there.

And Jesus whispers, Oh My Child,

dont listen to those fears.
Im close enough to hear your heart,

and gather all your tears.”


This is an excerpt from Always There: Finding God’s Comfort Through Loss

To find out more about Always There: https://www.annepeterson.com/always-there/

Read more from Anne on Open to Hope: Wishing Doesn’t Change Things – Open to Hope

Anne Peterson

Anne Peterson is a Christ follower, a poet, speaker and published author of 16 books. Through the many losses Anne has experienced in her life, she has felt God’s wonderful comfort. Her desire is to share words that will give hope to those who are hurting. Anne's tagline is: Life is hard, I write words to make it softer. Anne has also authored 42 published Bible Studies and about a hundred articles with christianbiblestudies.com/Today’s Christian Woman. 
 Many of her articles have been seen on Crosswalk.com For the past 28 years, Anne’s poetry has been available in gift stores throughout the U.S. as well as in 23 countries.

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