Losing someone close to your heart can be one of the toughest things you ever go through. With an important piece of your life puzzle missing, you may wonder if it will always hurt this badly. In an instant, a phone call changed my life forever. My mom was gone. The words “crushed in spirit” suddenly felt very real to me.

Growing up in our big family was usually pretty awesome. We were definitely not the minivan family with the perfect honor student stick people; but our home was the place friends wanted to hang out on the weekends. Mom loved people and didn’t mind a little chaos. I’ll never forget the day one of the (precious) grandkids accidentally spilled two liters of Coke on her off white carpet.

Mom’s reaction was not a screaming back flip and calling the carpet cleaners. That day, like in most catastrophic situations she kept smiling and said, “No problem!” It was just carpet, after all. Those who knew mom knew that to her, people were always more important than things.

I’m sharing one of her stories because through writing some of the family hilarity, I was able to break through the most intense time of sorrow I’d ever known. My notebook was a place I could get some of the crushing pain out and on to paper. I began to realize I would survive this unthinkable loss. Over the months and years since her death, my journal has become like gold to me. It’s filled with all kinds of craziness- goofy grand kid pictures, her Moussaka recipe, even a whiff of mom’s signature White Linen cologne. Over time, the painful memory of her sudden death has faded, and has been replaced with colorful images of how she lived and loved people.

What about you? If you’re feeling paralyzed by the loss of someone you love, please know the pain will not always be this raw. There will be brighter days. Would you consider writing through this season of sorrow? All you need is a blank notebook, a pen, and some time to remember. My prayer is that as you write about the person you’re missing, some of the sadness will ease. I pray one day your tears of sadness will be become tears of joy and thankfulness for the person you love.

I never fully understood these words from Psalm 34:18 until mom’s death. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Now I know they’re true.

Beth Marshall 2013

Beth Marshall

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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