the secret club of grief


It’s Wednesday. It’s the 26th of September. It’s also my dad’s birthday.

I’ve re-written the beginning of this post three times.

And if you’ve ever lost someone close to you, you know why.

I love words. I use them to process myself and hopefully bring us together on this thing called the internet. There are times words don’t do enough justice to what you’ve experienced or what you feel.

But it matters that the words are here. It matters that they are put out into the universe (aka the internet) for you to read.

Because here in this moment, you are seen.

We were created by a perfect God with innate desires to feel seen and to be known. And the strange thing about grief and loss is that somewhere along the way, we convince ourselves that no one wants to hear about it anymore. We all somehow find ourselves in this secret bizarre club – of the ones who understand what it’s like.

The ones who understand suffering. That life doesn’t just go on. That the pain and the process are both beautiful and awful. The ones who view heaven differently now.

But we’re afraid to be annoying or repetitive or dramatic and honestly, not sure how anyone could even help – so we hide and convince ourselves that it’s a club of just one person.


My dad became my dad when I was twenty-two years old, and I got to be his daughter for eight years.

He helped me pack my stuff and drop me off at college. He drove hours to Maryland to be present for both of my children’s dedications. He graciously stood in the background at my wedding because I wasn’t ready to accept him as my dad yet. He was thankful, honest, and sincerely grateful. In his last, very difficult days, his last two sentences that were spoken to me contained the word “please.”

I know you have memories like these. Maybe you read them at a funeral or they just ring in the back of your mind daily – or they come up on birthdays and holidays.

And the most miraculous and confusing concept is that we have a God who sees how quick our time on earth vanishes – but is still present in every moment. He sees the end from the beginning. He sees every single purpose behind every broken moment you have.

And yet He is so patiently present while you cry out and ask Him why. And how. And what now.


So on their birthdays, and holidays, and Wednesdays that mean something to you – don’t hide in the secret club. Bring it out in the open. Tell people it was their birthday, even if they can’t do anything about it. Eat their favorite food and invite someone to be with you. Don’t relive all of your memories alone – because you are not alone.

Celebrate the ones you loved and who loved you so well.

Honor them for your own sake and for the sake of those who are broken around you.

Don’t hide in the dark with your loss. We’re all here – the ones in the club. Let’s make it less of a secret and allow ourselves to see and be seen.


So today, my Wednesday of Pop’s birthday:

I will shake my head at the Patriots but believe in them because he would.

I will look at pictures of him and watch videos to hear his voice and his laugh.

I will thank God for Pop’s favorite truth – that His mercy is new every day.

And I will open up the doors to the club; in hope and faith knowing that what I’ve been through is just about you as it is about me.

“He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 msg




6 thoughts on “the secret club of grief

  1. Your words are beautiful. Sorry for the loss of your dad. I hope today is filled with special memories of him as you enjoy some of his favorite things.

  2. Rachael- I agree with Kelly, your words are beautiful! They are also so very true, inspiring and touch the hearts of so many. Thank you for sharing AND showing how to pull it all together to give the glory to God! No matter what the topic, your thoughts and words lead us to scripture- the truth, the love of God. Thank you again. I don’t know how you do it but Thank you and I look forward to reading more.

  3. I lost my Momma of 55 years in February. I still can’t breathe or think straight at times. But the other day I heard myself singing again, and realized some joy had bubbled to the surface of this tar pit of grief. I’m so afraid of Thanksgiving, her birthday in December, of Christmas. I’m so tired of the pain. I miss her so much. I do feel stuck, alone, wrong, somehow. Broken. Like I’ll never function correctly again. Like a leper.

    • I understand the feeling, and I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. I’m praying that you would be able to see yourself as God sees you – absolutely not broken, and not outcasted like a leper. He sees you as HIS daughter, welcomed in and redeemed.

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