Words Matter ~ Breathing life into my soul

Less than a week after the funeral, I stood in the obstetrician’s office waiting for what was to come.

“How are you today?” the nurse asked cheerfully.

“Well . . ,”

I wanted to skip this part. I wanted to get through the examination without comment. I wanted to leave. I realized I should have maybe told the receptionist when I rescheduled the appointment exactly why I was rescheduling. But the words had sounded so empty. So careless.

“Oh, I am sorry I missed my appointment, but my son died. Can we reschedule?”

So I didn’t say anything. I just rescheduled. But that left me standing with a chipper nurse and me not knowing quite what to say.

“Honestly, not so good. We lost our son last weekend.”

A look of shock, hug, words of sympathy. Then my obstetrician was there.

“Life is for the living,” he said.

The first time I recounted that, I realized it sounded trite. The first time I talked to another grieving mother about things we wished people wouldn’t say, that made her list.

But he spent 45 minutes with me and the words were anything but trite.

“Life is for the living,” he said, “And you know where he is. Take comfort in that when you can.”

Tears were my only response.

“Don’t let anyone tell you to stop grieving. You can’t stop it anyway. It’s just part of it. But there will be times when you smile, times when you laugh. Hold on to those moments. They will help you get through. Hold on to those moments and know that you do his memory honor through laughter.”

The tears gave way to sobs as he struck at my heart. For I had smiled. I had even laughed, though it was hardly joy-filled. And both experiences had left me falling into the same nauseating abyss as when I reached for his hand and it wasn’t there.

“Hold onto joy and know that each of those moments is a precious gift and not a betrayal.”

I could scarcely answer through the tears. They’re threatening even now.

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

For into the midst of my sorrow, he had spoken hope and joy and life with words I so desperately needed to hear.

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Thank you for reaching out to tell us what to tell others we see in grief -what is helpful. It is hard to say the right things.


It is probably different for everyone, but it was nice to be given permission, if that makes any sense.


“For into the midst of my sorrow, he had spoken hope and joy and life with words I so desperately needed to hear…”

I pray, Dana, for many more of those moments like this, for you, in the midst.

Painfully beautiful.

Thank you for encouraging others to live with ‘permission.’

Much love.

Oh my gosh – I remember going back in for a yearly exam (when I was still playing that game) a few months after Alex was killed. The nurse asked if I had hurt my neck, I was walking so stiff – I just couldn’t look at anyone. When we got into the exam room I fell apart as I handed her a copy of the bulletin from the funeral. When the doctor walked in he just asked, “What can I do?” “Tell me I’m healthy and can have another.” 2 months later I was pregnant. (No, can’t replace her,… Read more »

Q, I’m so glad you were able to have another. And it isn’t a replacement, but I understand the feeling. I have five, and there is a part of me that needs to have that number six spot filled. The hole is too big and too painful, even though I know that another child wouldn’t exactly make that pain go away.

The Sage Butterfly

I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my younger brother a couple of years ago, and it was very difficult. I struggled for a while to overcome the grief. He was 48, and it just seemed as if he was too young to go. My thoughts and prayers are with you…


that was beautiful….. you are such a dear and thank you for sharing!


What beautiful words of advice the Lord gave you through your doctor that day. Thank you for sharing.


I know what you mean by, “the hole is too big and painful”. My daughter feels the same way after losing her little boy. She is about to have a little girl, after having had four boys. She recently confided that she is thrilled to be having a little girl, but wants another little boy. She knows you can’t replace a child, but the void, the loss of that little boy created, is still huge.


Beautiful Dana. What a blessing. Praise Yah for such encouraging words!


That man has a direct line to Someone. What an amazing voice of wisdom, and so rare to meet. I know some wise people can be tongue tied or stand back in silence, but what he said is awesome, in the original sense of the word.

Praying for you, all of you!


LOL – Had another, and another, and then went to Poland for a few more! 🙂 If nothing else, my children are loved, and my arms are full.

His grace and mercy – Amen!

Kara at The Chuppies

Well…this is the 3rd time I’ve read through this post Dana…
I keep starting to comment and then get stuck.
That last bit he said…about joy and laughter not being a betrayal.
That something I needed to hear “back then”….
And it’s good to even hear again now as we near the 3 year mark on the 25th.
Thank you for sharing so much of your heart…
Hold onto joy.


I am so sorry for your loss! May this Easter be a blessing of comfort and strength to you…



Since Christian passed away, I have met so many hurting people… all these people walking around with such great hurt on the inside… and I didn’t even know it. I pray that God would open my eyes and heart to others… and that He would give me the right words at the right time.

Thank you for being so open with your hurt, your heart and your hope, Dana. You bless me!

Beth Werner Lee

I haven’t lost a child (we have only one, aged parents we are, 11 years married before she came) but when I was 15 I lost my best friend to cancer, and more recently lost my Mom to breast cancer. I know awkward silence, and also grief ambushing me. But strangers can speak into our broken grieving hearts too, and I came to believe God was orchestrating my grief therapy. May God comfort you in daily ways. I am thankful for your writing honest faith.

Kara at The Chuppies

Just added “Dear IRS Lady”
Yesterday was just such a reminder that words really really do matter.
Thanks Dana, for keeping that reminder going.
Now…to just apply that truth…


Beautifully written!!

Serhat Olcay

I am so sorry also to your loss. But know that please. Life is beautiful. I lost like you.