Moving to the Front of the Line: Loss

In my twenties I came face to face with the brevity of life as three of my four Grandparents passed away. With the passing of each of my Grandparents, I moved closer to the front of the line. As a child, I trusted the order of things. The generation of my parents stood before me and the generation of my grandparents stood before them.

I felt protected from danger and death by their presence.

In my thirties my concept of ‘the line’ was shattered when my son was 5 months old. While I knew that the concept of a line was a myth, I was not prepared. Are we ever prepared to face loss?

My dear friends lost their 15 month old son. From one day to the next he was gone.

Although never far from my thoughts, I have thought of their son with greater frequency now that Eli is his age, 15 months. I remember the phone call of a mutual friend softly telling me he had died. We were quiet over the phone, reeling from shock. Numbness set in and unable to focus I hurriedly left work. That evening friends and family gathered at church to mourn and pray for our friends.

That moment brought me face to face with terror over the brevity of life.

The pictures of his sweet smile and joy continue to undo me. Our community continues to ache in missing him.

If someone you love has experienced deep loss, I would encourage you to read this blog post (click here). The main point: we cannot understand or explain deep loss. The best we can do for ourselves and our loved ones is to SHOW UP, SHUT UP (no advice giving or ‘interpreting’ the meaning behind loss) and BE PRESENT.

Thoughts of loss visit me more frequently as the holidays draw near. A year ago, a few days before Christmas, Jon’s dad passed away.

While holidays highlight all we have, they also highlight our loss.

I’m writing this as a reminder to myself, and perhaps a reminder to you: it’s OK to mourn the losses, even and especially during the holidays. I’m thankful for friends and family who give me the space to mourn and to laugh, to be human.

The loss of loved ones inspires me love deeper, even though it means being vulnerable: the friend I am meeting for coffee, I want to hear her heart. And perhaps the hardest part for me, I want to offer my heart. 

Life is too short to charade and hide behind who I think I ‘should’ be or pretending to have it together. [TWEET THAT]

As a people pleaser, I try to remind myself of this often.

What I miss most about those who have gone is their human unique imperfect selves. Their free carefree smiles and belly shaking laughter.

How much time do we have? This moment. The one we are in now. Me typing these words as Eli sleeps. You reading these words.

Thank you for sharing your moment with me. I love journeying with you.



Below is my prayer for myself and for you as we remember loved ones or face unexpected loss. This post has been written with tears and pauses of remembering. I hope you will know you are not alone.

I’m reading an excellent book on lament The Hidden Face of God by Michael Card.

You don’t have to be pretend to be ok. It’s OK to be where you are and to mourn if you need to, or dance if you need to. I hope you know you are loved. This doesn’t just pertain to the death of a loved one, it applies when an opportunity is lost or when we travel through a difficult season.


Dear Father, 

Please draw us closer to you. We lift our bleeding broken hearts to you. We give you our treasured and hard-pain memories. We give to you the difficulty and pain of seeing loved ones suffer and the holes left inside of us when die. We release to you all that we cannot hold onto and the exhaustion from our white-knuckle trying.

Embrace us and fill us with your comfort and peace. We cannot walk the path of loss alone. It is too heavy and lonely. Make us aware of your presence. Strengthen our souls. Hold us together.Thank you for catching each of our tears and hearing our night sobbing and soul wrenching pain.

You are here. Thank you for staying with us in the whirlwind of grief. Encourage our hearts, whether from the kind word of a friend, or a song sung in church. Sustain us as we cling to you. We need you. 



  • Bob Welsh

    November 5, 2015

    Very well stated.

  • dwelsh

    November 11, 2015

    Thank you! It is such a tough subject and so I spent a lot of time thinking about the right words.

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