What Is this all about?

Recently a concerned friend advised me to tone down my emotions over the loss of my wife and “put on a false front to make people think I was okay, even though they know I am not okay.”

My response was that I have always strived to be open, transparent and vulnerable and this is who I am, the good, bad and the ugly. To put on a mask and pretend everything was good would be a compromise of my character and integrity, and I would not do that.

We live in a culture that doesn’t understand grief, how to grieve, or how to walk alongside of those who are grieving. Not only that, but we don’t have the vocabulary, in most cases, to talk about the pain of grief and how to walk through it.

So, when we encounter someone grieving, we don’t know what to do or how to respond and we end up saying the “wrong” things or trying to “fix” what is not broken.

Or at least that describes me in how I tried to help others through their grief, that is until I started my own walk-through grief.

On October 7, 2021 my wife of over thirty-seven years, Shari, died of complications from Covid 19. I tested positive for the virus on September 1 and she, the next day. One week later I would watch her walk through the doors of the hospital emergency room, the next time I would see her would be in the intensive care unit after she had been intubated and put on a ventilator. In all she was in the hospital for twenty-eight days, on the ventilator in ICU for seventeen of those days. I am thankful that I was free to visit as often as I wanted the last week of her hospital stay. But on the afternoon of October 7, she was removed from the ventilator and with our two sons and their wives, we were with her as she exchanged this life for eternity. My grief journey had begun prior to that dreadful day as over the course of twelve days the doctors had told me she wasn’t going to make it five different times. The following days, weeks and months have been the most challenging of my life, though I am still learning about grief, now I have experienced it personally.

Grief has many impacts on the life of a griever, loss of sleep or sleeping too much, loss of appetite or excessive appetites, lots of emotions or no emotions; grief is as unique as each individual and there is no textbook for how to grieve. Grief is misunderstood by many of us. We trend to expect people to “get over it” and “get on with life.” We may move forward in life, but you will never get over the loss, but we can get through it, or at least I am told that. I have not had that experience yet, and I’m eight months on this walk at the time of writing this article.

I am in no way an expert on the subject of grief, what I know is through experience or gleaned from someone who is also on this walk through the pain of grief. Grief is caused by many things, each representing a loss in our lives.

According to John James and Russell Friedman in The Grief Recovery Handbook, “Grief is the natural and normal reaction to loss of any kind.” They go on to say, “Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.”

We typically associate grief with death, but there are many causes of grief; divorce, breakup of a meaningful relationship, job loss, school change, moving, declining health, and many more.

About Me

The love of my life died in October 2021; we met our freshman year of college and I was “in love at first sight.” We began dating a short time later and were married following our junior year of college. We graduated together a year later in 1985 and started a life in ministry. We have been blessed with two wonderful sons, two gracious daughters-in-law and four beautiful granddaughters, with a fifth grandchild scheduled to arrive late November 2022. I live and pastor in Salisbury, NC.

Bob And Shari
hearts (1)

my heart

I have always had a heart to help people, maybe that’s why I have been a minister and pastor for over thirty-seven years. Since the death of my wife, I have been writing and sharing my journey on social media and have been told that what I am sharing has helped many on their own walk-through grief. If being open and vulnerable about my experience walking through grief helps others, that is a good thing that has come from this difficult journey.

My hope

is that as we share our journeys together that we find strength and encouragement from others that are on this same road, some are farther along and others are just getting started, and there are people all along the way. We can learn from one another, help others to learn to walk with a grieving friend and all become stronger as a result and together we can change the culture of how grief is perceived and understood in our world.

Blessings on your walk-through grief!
Bob

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18 entries.
Susan johnson Susan johnson from Lake Tapps wrote on November 11, 2022 at 2:50 am
Thank you for letting me share my grief. I lost my husband Eric, March 22, 2022 after 48 years of marriage. Still having a hard time, missing him everyday
Thank you for letting me share my grief. I lost my husband Eric, March 22, 2022 after 48 years of marriage. Still having a hard time, missing him everyday... Collapse
Steve Steve from Snohomish wrote on October 1, 2022 at 4:15 pm
Thank you for these wonderful, encouraging words!
Thank you for these wonderful, encouraging words!... Collapse
Angela Claiborne Angela Claiborne from Chesapeake wrote on July 18, 2022 at 8:28 pm
This is a fantastic way to help people.
This is a fantastic way to help people.... Collapse
Tammy marley Tammy marley from Statesville NC. wrote on July 17, 2022 at 11:49 am
My grief journey started with my mother of February 7/2022 which was a dr.visit turned into a hospital visit with blood clots in her lungs, my mom was a strong lady she survived left March for rebilitation to try to get her to walk with out falling, brought her home March 19 mom was not eating April7 we went under hospice care, I stayed everyday she passed May 5/2022 in her sleep and I’m beating myself up everyday, wondering did I do the right thing, I’m just lost and broken without my sweet mama.I ALSO KNOWED YOU AND SHERRY FROM LIVING AT Talbert pointe apartments while y’all were building your house, she was such a great and wonderful lady.
My grief journey started with my mother of February 7/2022 which was a dr.visit turned into a hospital visit with blood clots in her lungs, my mom was a strong lady she survived left March for rebilitation to try to get her to walk with out falling, brought her home March 19 mom was not eating April7 we went under hospice care, I stayed everyday she passed May 5/2022 in her sleep and I’m beating myself up everyday, wondering did I do the right thing, I’m just lost and broken without my sweet mama.I ALSO KNOWED YOU AND SHERRY FROM LIVING AT Talbert pointe apartments while y’all were building your house, she was such a great and wonderful lady.... Collapse
Judy Roberts Judy Roberts from Davidson wrote on July 17, 2022 at 11:27 am
My Mama, Alice Carlisle, died just a few weeks before Sheri and my world is not as bright anymore. It’s like something changed immediately when I stepped out of hospice that day. Bob -you and Sheri ministered my daughters wedding and my sisters and I know you would have preached at my Mamas funeral but Sheri was in ICU at the time. Thank you for sharing what so many of us feel but cannot express the way you can 🙌 I will always remember Sheri as sweet, giving, nurturing and strong - she was the kind of woman who truly “made a difference” - MAD Keep on Making a Difference Bob🙌 Judy Carlisle Roberts 7/17/2022
My Mama, Alice Carlisle, died just a few weeks before Sheri and my world is not as bright anymore. It’s like something changed immediately when I stepped out of hospice that day.
Bob -you and Sheri ministered my daughters wedding and my sisters and I know you would have preached at my Mamas funeral but Sheri was in ICU at the time. Thank you for sharing what so many of us feel but cannot express the way you can 🙌 I will always remember Sheri as sweet, giving, nurturing and strong - she was the kind of woman who truly “made a difference” - MAD
Keep on Making a Difference Bob🙌
Judy Carlisle Roberts
7/17/2022... Collapse