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Lessons I’ve Learned from Grief

Updated: Dec 7, 2022




Grief had for a long time been a foreign concept to me. Though I had dealt with losses in my life, even death, I had never truly experienced the debilitating emotions that arise as a result of grief. That is until my 9 year old “ray of SONshine” was tragically killed and literally snatched away from us by a distracted driver. That day grief came to visit and refused to leave my life. But Thank you Lord…that’s not how my story ends!


I lost my grandmother my first year in medical school. I was 26 years old. It was the first time I ever had to deal with the death of a family member. I cried at the realization that she was gone but she was well over 70 years old and had lived what I thought was a good life. So I didn’t grieve her death for long because I knew she had finished her race and was safe in God’s hands.


My baby Mallory died 20 minutes after her birth. At only 12 weeks of pregnancy, my placenta partially detached from the uterine wall and despite all efforts including 10 weeks of bedrest, I couldn’t hold on to her long enough to allow her organs to develop adequately to sustain her life. I was devastated! But I felt that God was protecting her from an awful future here on earth. And only 3 months later, I was pregnant with one of my greatest blessings, my Poppa Bear🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾! So I didn’t grieve her death for long because I knew she was safe in God's hands.


5 months after Mallory died, my mother died. My mom raised me as a single parent and is the reason I’m a doctor today. Her love and support were immeasurable! She died after a year long battle with metastatic lung cancer which ultimately stole her ability to walk. It was hard watching the strongest woman I’d ever known lose her strength. So when she died, though I was grieved, I was also relieved that she was no longer suffering and rejoiced knowing she was finally safe in God’s hands, in her new body, dancing in Heaven!😊😊😊


When I heard “Kim” out of the mouth of the police officer, a family friend, who came to meet me as I walked towards the hospital room Poppa was in, I felt every bit of strength I had immediately vanish from my body. There was just something about the way he said my name 🥲. My legs collapsed from under me and I remember beating the floor with my fists and screaming over and over again…”NO!!! IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!!” 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭


I was shattered to pieces! Imagine taking a sledgehammer and hitting a glass heart over and over and over again. That’s how broken I felt. And at that moment in time and for many months that followed, I didn’t want to be here. I had no desire to live. I just wanted to be with my Poppa Bear.


I had to lean and depend on God in a way I’d never had to do before. And after a while, I realized that the more I depended on His strength to get through each and every day, the more strength God gave me and the more clearly I was able to see the blessings and the lessons in the storm.


Lesson #1:

You see the first thing I learned from grief is that it’s very difficult to recover after tragically losing someone you love, especially if that someone is your child. I expected to see Poppa when I returned from work. I expected more kisses and hugs and cuddles. I expected to see him graduate from high school then college and yes, I even had expectations of attending the NFL Draft as his proud mother because he was definitely going to be a first round pick💯. But in the blink of an eye, all of my hopes and dreams for our future together were snatched away! Just like that🥲. It’s still unbelievable some days.


Lesson #2:

The second thing I learned is that parents NEVER stop being parents even when their children go to Heaven before them. Every parent worries about the well-being of their children every single day of their lives, even after their children become adults who are married with their own children. That hasn’t changed for me and probably hasn’t for every other grieving parent out there. Everyday I wonder about Poppa. Did he brush his teeth long enough? Did he put lotion on his ashy legs😊? Is my gentle giant (4’11”, 160lbs, in a 9.5 sized shoe at only 9 y/o) playing gently with the other kids in Heaven? I still want to, DESIRE TO be his mom and look after him as I'm sure other grieving parents feel and that’s why it’s so hard for grieving parents to move on!


Lesson #3:

The third lesson I learned is that it’s hard to understand how debilitating grief is when you have not lost what someone else has lost. One night while I was sobbing uncontrollably, falling deeper into depression, I remembered the many patients I counseled and treated who had lost a child and thought, Oh My God…is this how broken they were feeling?!?! I had been no where near close to understanding the depth of the pain they had been feeling! And I remembered each and every grieving parent from my past and prayed, at that moment, a prayer of apology to all of them for not realizing that they were feeling that shattered. If you’ve never experienced child loss, you will never understand the degree of brokenness we feel. And by no means am I saying losing a parent or sibling or any loved one isn’t painful, but I can surely say the grief I felt after my mother’s death was remarkably different from what I've felt since Poppa’s.


Lesson #4:

The fourth lesson I learned is that it’s human nature to want to “fix” grievers BUT GRIEVERS DON’T NEED TO BE FIXED! So as a result, people do and say things that have been handed down from generation to generation (the wrong tools) that are meant to soothe a griever’s pain but actually only worsens it. And the horrible revelation was that I had said those things to people😩. Things like “Be strong” or “Don’t cry. It’ll be all right“ or “It’ll get better with time”. WRONG!! And no matter how much sense it makes, saying things like someone’s child “is in a better place” or “God knows what’s best” or “You can’t question God” only turns the knife of grief deeper in the hearts of parents who’ve lost their children. “Grief is normal and natural”(1) and we need to normalize that in society!


Lesson #5:

“Grief is the unexpressed or unresolved emotions we feel when we experience a loss.”(1) Grievers suppress so much of the pain they are feeling because society has made grief a bad word. If you grieve, people think you don’t trust God. If you grieve for too long, society feels uncomfortable and wants you to “go and cry in the bathroom” so grievers don’t make them feel awkward. So grievers hide what they can of their grief and end up burying it deep inside where it turns into a heavy rock. And each of these invisible rocks get stored in an invisible backpack that we carry around on our backs for the rest of our lives weighing us down until we can barely walk. And child loss is just the thing that’ll add enough weight to that invisible backpack to drop us to our knees!


That’s when God lead my daughter to the Grief Recovery Method Program and she subsequently lead me to it. And it changed my outlook on life completely 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾


I’ll never recover from losing Poppa. There’s never going to be a day that I’m not sad about not being able to physically touch and love on him! But I can recover from the grief. And while I had no control over Poppa being taken from me, I do have the ability to REFUSE to allow grief to rob me of the rest of my life, my fate, my purpose, and my destiny!


OF THAT…I DO HAVE CONTROL!!


So turning my pain into purpose, I became a Grief Recovery Method Specialist(2) to help other grievers regain their lives. And it’s the best decision I’ve made since losing my Poppa Bear! I’ve gotten rid of so many invisible rocks I’d been carrying around and I pray you have the strength to take the steps to do the same.


L.E.T.G.O.

“Let’s Evolve Together…God-driven & Obedient”

💞💞💔💔🥲🥲😭😭🙏🏽🙏🏽💪🏽💪🏽


  1. The Grief Recovery Institute, 2009

  2. For more information about the GRM Program:https://calendly.com/drsmithgrms/meetandgreet


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4 comentários


This read was sent at such a perfect time. For days now I have been missing Brennan uncontrollably.🥲

I miss his hugs, him whispering , mama I love you, and his sweet presence. Thank you for having the strength to share your story about your precious son! I pray this read helps many more grieving parents as it is helping me.

Renea F.

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Respondendo a

Thank you! Embrace and enjoy those wonderful, precious memories you have! Feel sad and cry whenever you need to do so. That’s okay!! But also make a point to flood your heart and mind with happy thoughts and memories of your baby to chase the blues away 💞💞💞

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Wow, this is such a great read. I'll admit that at times I either forget to grieve, I don't know how, or I suppress it in order to be there for others. Thanks for sharing ❤️

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Respondendo a

I understand that! It doesn’t hurt so much when we suppress the grief. Problem is, it doesn’t go away for good. It’s always lurking. So better to just get it over with so you can be done

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