When Real Life Meets Real Grief

Click this link to watch a short video by Don and Berkley Akers Thompson


I’ve decided that I will share this video every year.

Not only did we want people to understand that in the midst of circumstance that make no sense, we can still trust God. But we also wanted to teach others how to walk alongside those who are facing overwhelming sorrow. It is not with words of a future eternity or well meaning platitudes – it is by being present. Holding their hand, sitting with them as they cry or scream or are in shock and speak nothing.

It is understanding that when grief has its firmest grip on our hearts and souls, we need to be allowed to be fully sorrowful. Nothing else. We don’t need to hear about how something good will come from it or any other number of well intentioned Biblical principles. We simply need to be held and not made to feel bad for aching so deeply that we are certain we will die.

In the moment a diagnosis comes or the reality of an unexpected death is propelled upon us, we don’t need to to feel like we should respond in a manner that honors God, our church or anything else – we simply need to let our hurt out. I don’t mean that we aren’t leaning on God, but I feel quite confident He isn’t grading me on my response, and we don’t need to feel that those around us are doing that either.

While we both knew Don would move from earth to Heaven, it still hurt us both to know what was to come and what it meant to those of us left behind. He was in no hurry to get to Heaven and I was in no hurry to be widowed again. Unfortunately both happened the following December of 2016.

Life has moved forward for me and it’s beautiful again – but the journey from the earliest days of Greg’s death and Don’s diagnosis to his death, have had a timetable all their own – and I’ve most appreciated those who have simply “been there” and endured my heartache and sorrow, without questioning my love of God and have not tried to give simple answers. Those who have allowed me to wrestle with all of this without condemnation or criticism, have been my rock(s).

I know Don would say that he gained an understanding of grieving and the fear of dying, that he had never had and would want people to know that there are no easy answers, so please don’t try to find them. He would say to instead find love and compassion, and give it, instead of finding answers or words you think will help.

Being there, being present and grieving with someone is not easy but it is so appreciated by those in mourning. It was our hope that this video would give an insight into subjects not easily talked about, and open a door for more real and honest conversations about death, dying and grief.

We were grateful to be asked to share a brief part of our story and pray that it continues to touch the hearts of those who watch it.

For those interested in reading more of my story you can follow my blog at she-kept-going.com