I Don’t Know How To Grieve


Here’s a confession: I don’t know how to grieve. I’ve read a lot of books about grief and certainly have lived through extreme seasons of grief. The loss of our son and step-dad in 2008 were life-changing events. Years later as holidays and anniversaries approach I still find myself looking at them and saying, “I don’t know how to do this.”

I’ve heard people say that men want to ‘fix things’ and maybe it is a part of my nature to want to fix this grief that I feel. I want to do something about this feeling – make it stop. We can make a lot of efforts to do something about grief:

*Read Books (and there are a lot of great ones!)

*Pray often

*Talk to other grieving people

*Observe anniversaries of loss with symbolic rituals (lighting candles, releasing balloons, etc.)

*Visit cemetery

*Write blog posts

Yes, it’s true, we can do a lot to try to address this problem called grief. But no matter what you do it is impossible to do the one thing that would remedy your sorrow. You cannot bring back your loved one. Only God has that kind of power.

So we do things to try to alleviate our feelings of pain and sometimes it helps a little. But the grief experience is not one that can be handled with a pill, a drink, or any other kind of effort. It is one we live through each day and at some point the joy of the good memories grow strong enough to overcome the pain of the loss. It takes years…not days or weeks. So do not be impatient with yourself. After all of our efforts we are still surprised when a deep sigh followed by a few moments of weeping comes upon us unexpectedly. Expect that unexpected moment. It happens.

None of us know how to grieve. It is an individual experience as varied as our personalities and life stories.

HERE is a post I wrote with a lot of grief resources … it’s good to read about the grief experiences of others. Just don’t expect the grief experience to be resolved when you turn the last page. It’s more of a journey you walk than a destination to which we arrive.

To quote part of the Compassionate Friends credo, ‘we need not walk alone’. You’re not alone, friend. Even when you don’t know what to do next. That’s OK.

Thanks for reading, JD.





He would be 26 years old today. In my imagination he would be a college graduate. Can I picture him living anywhere but on the Mississippi Gulf Coast? No. He still lives there and keeps up with all of his friends who have remained there. By now he’s married and his children are amazing. He works hard … maybe at the hospital as a nurse or in some field that centered around compassion to others. He makes choices sometimes that make me frown, but a lot of them that make me smile. Every chance he gets he takes his family to North Georgia to visit his sister and her kids. He calls me and his mom sometimes just to talk and never lets a phone call end without telling us he loves us. We’d like to hear from him and see him more often, but he works hard and his family is his first priority. You might find them huddled around a table at the Waffle House after church on Sunday nights or playing together at Beach Park in Pascagoula.

That’s the way it should have been.

JohnRobert and Blake

But that’s just all in my imagination, because seven years ago on May 21st John Robert left this life. He walked through the door to the other side and awaits our arrival with his grandparents, family, and friends. His faith was in Christ, grace washing over his faults in testimony to the power of the cross.

On this day instead of reflecting on the outstanding man he has become … we rehearse memories of the outstanding boy he was. And he really was. Maggy and I will travel to see the last earthly connection we have with him. A marker in a field with many markers. But our hope is somewhere else. We sang it this past Sunday – and it was printed on his funeral program.

On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, All Other Ground Is Sinking Sand…

So when our knees give out and the tears flow down our cheeks, we lean on the Savior who makes sense of life. We tell Him how we feel and what we think He could have done for our son. Then we remember that He knows our pain, and He will set all things right one day.

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.” ~Revelation 21:5-6

The story hasn’t been written yet … not all of it. So we invite friends and family to join us as we follow the only Risen Savior.

“Lord, to whom can we go- You have the

Our memories from the time of our greatest grief are often fuzzy and we could never thank every person by name but we remember so many who reached out to us, served us, loved us … both on the Coast and in Monroe … and around the world. Thank you. Even those of you we may not recall clearly, your love provided a piece of the mosaic of healing that began that day and continues until Christ comes again. We honor you by offering consolation and support to those who experience the pain of loss, especially through The Compassionate Friends and the beautiful Body of Christ, the Church.

I wrote about John Robert’s life and placed some videos with lots of pictures of him and his family and friends HERE.

Expressions of Assurance


In the little book of 1 John can be found a multitude of expressions to impart to all those who are born of water and spirit the knowledge that they are saved, that is, given eternal life. Here are almost a dozen of them.

The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 1:7 …If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

God is faithful and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 … He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Jesus’ sacrifice is powerful enough to cover our sins. He is sufficient.

1 John 2:2 …He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (See also 1 John 4:10)

Knowing Jesus leads us to an obedient life….which is part of an eternal life.

1 John 2:3, 25 Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. … those who do the will of God live forever.

We devote our lives to one who wears The Name.

1 John 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven on account of his name.

God has promised eternal life to those who follow Him. 

1 John 2:25 And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.

Because of the promises of God we can be bold and unashamed when Jesus returns.

1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.

Because of Jesus the life we live is not from life to death, but from death to life.

1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another.

God sent Jesus so that we might live through Him.

1 John 4:9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

Believing in and following Jesus Christ makes us conquerors because He is a Conqueror.

1 John 5:5 Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Apostle John wanted us to be assured that our salvation was in place.

1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.