Posted by: Diane | July 4, 2014


A man in our community, who has worked at the local grocery store for years, died suddenly last Sunday night.

On Monday morning, I started my work day at 9:00 a.m. and as soon as I unlocked the front doors of the store, customers began to tell me stories about this man.

I also worked yesterday and customers were still sharing their grief with me. I have never met this man but by the end of two, nine-hour shifts, I knew more about him than most people in the community.

It occurred to me that when it comes to grief, if people feel they are understood, they can move on. Otherwise, they obsess because the mind replays what the heart can’t delete. Everyone needs to tell his/her story — it’s part of mourning.

Their stories establish significance and they need our ears.

People get insight as they talk. They feel better as they talk. We can not fully understand other peoples’ grief but we can love them by listening. We legitimize their feelings. We give credence to their thoughts.

This man’s death triggered memories for many customers. One woman wept as she told me that her family can’t understand why she is still grieving the loss of her friend, who died a year ago. They keep telling her to “get over it.” She asked me what I thought and I told her that I believed that the opposite to understanding is not misunderstanding – it’s trivialization . . .

. . . and the women hugged me.

People don’t want their grief explained away. Grieving is hard work and it makes the heart tired but it is to be embraced, not denied or trivialized.

So, I spent two days listening to stories.

This is what I learned about grief this week.

Be there. Presence is so much more powerful than advice.

Take initiative and ask. People need to tell their stories.

Listen. Two ears, one mouth, right?

Avoid cliches and trite answers. Even scripture can sound empty to a grieving person.

Silence is golden. More times than not, words can’t explain feelings.

Grief tells the truth – death is the enemy. 

I hear people claim that,”death is just a part of life” but this statement is not truth. Death is not original to the creation; it is a curse added because of sin. In its unfolding, hideous and unpredictable way, grief reminds us of a biblical reality — that we have been expelled from the garden and are therefore under the power of death.

To admit this truth fully brings a sorrow that threatens to kill our hearts.

This is grief – when we lose someone we love, we relearn the world because we’re never the same . . .

and as Christians, we hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10.23 NIV




We do not want you to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.                            1 Thessalonians 4.13


  1. my friend, never doubt you are exactly where He wants you to be.

  2. Thanks Diane for your insights. I will forward to a dear friend, who said goodbye to his wife over a year ago, but the loss is great and recovery is very slow. Bless you for your God given ministry opportunity to be Christ to the your store community yesterday.

    • Wonderful people in this little town I live in…

  3. Heartfelt and beautifully expressed… You truly are a gift to all of us xo

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