Remembering Loved Ones - What You Can Do for Those Who Grieve

On September 13, 2002, my stepdaughter died in a tragic car accident.

Angie was visiting friends at a college in Oregon the week prior to starting her sophomore year at a college here in Washington. The car was hit with such force, that despite wearing a seatbelt, she flew through the sunroof. She died immediately.

A chaplain from the sheriff’s department knocked on our front door at two o’clock the following morning. I went numb. Our nightmare began.

Angie was only nineteen years old. A beautiful young woman with ambition, she dreamed of what she could accomplish in her life. She freely shared her strong faith and relationship with God. Young people packed the memorial service. They spoke of the impact she’d made on their lives.

Time does help to soothe wounds, but you never forget. You never fully recover from the death of a child.

Angie’s presence is missed. You think and wonder about what could have been. What she might have done with her life. Would she have married? Had children of her own? How would our lives have been even more blessed?

Every year at this time, emotions tend to run close to the surface. There is a deep need for my husband to talk about his daughter. To share memories—special moments—funny times—her childhood.

But, it’s hard to find someone willing to listen. He tries, but often the conversation is quickly turned.

Friends and relatives seem to have forgotten. Few ask how he’s doing.

Why don’t they?

Are they caught up in the business of their own lives?
Do they believe healing has taken its course?
Maybe they don’t know what to say.
Perhaps they’re afraid they’ll dredge up memories that are too painful to talk about. But, just the opposite can be true.

People who have lost someone they loved - a child, spouse, parent, or friend – NEED to talk. And they NEED to be heard. Not every day. Not even every week or month. But, sometimes…

They need people to laugh with them over silly stories, while still empathizing with their loss. Even if the same antidotes have been told many times before.

They want to celebrate the life shared on earth and the life given in heaven.

It's been my experience that people who grieve don’t expect anyone to fix it for them. Or say anything that will bring great understanding or healing.

They just want someone to care.


1 comment:

  1. Dawn, I have often appreciated yours and your husband's openness when speaking of Angie and the freedom I've witnessed for your husband to be able to do so. Thank you for sharing this wisdom with us.

    Love you,


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