Sunday, February 13, 2011


Last weekend we were fortunate to get away for a couples retreat through our church. As church volunteers, we were invited to go as 'test subjects' for this first ever couples retreat. We are blessed to be part of an incredible church, so we knew it would be good, but we still weren't quite certain of what to expect. Prior to going though, I was sure of one thing...we needed this

This ended up being good times with wonderful friends, laughter until we cried, quiet time with God and quality time with each other. It was gentle conversations as we walked through the woods, nestled in snow. It was reminiscing about where life has taken us in our ten years together and in four short years of marriage. It was tears for our family that "should be" and hope for the family that we pray "will be". It was food for our souls. This was our hearts feeling modestly full for the first time since we said goodbye.This was a little glimpse of healing. 

Last weekend made me stop and think about marriage and grief, and what life looks like when these two are intertwined. Grief marrying marriage. What does a marriage look like not with one spouse grieving and the other holding them up, but under the weight of two deeply grieving individuals? It looks like two people struggling to wade through their own emotions while trying to interpret the others, all the while attempting to keep each other and life afloat.  Widespread belief is that this leads to divorce...that it looks like anger, frustration, resentment, exhaustion... a divided couple. And yes, it is some of these things. It may be resentment that your spouse does not "seem" to be grieving. It may be frustration that they are able to laugh when you can't seem to find a reason to smile that day. It may be counseling sessions and tears over more than just the loss of your child. But, grief interwoven with marriage also looks like love, compassion, devotion, encouragement, unspoken understanding, and the profound bond of sharing one of life's most intimate, yet devastating and desolate moments...together. 

 "Welcoming" grief into our marriage over the past six months hasn't been easy. There have certainly been days when we would not want to have a light shined into our life and marriage for all to see. But, we are making it through and are stronger and closer that ever before because of it all. I know when we look back upon this journey some day, one thing, over all the others, will have carried us through. It is grace. God's grace for us and our grace for each other. Grace for the bad days and downright awful days, for the meltdowns from the tiniest of triggers, and for what seems like grieving too much or grieving too little. Grace for the times of unkind words, lack of compassion and emotional roller coasters.  Grace for being unorganized, exhausted and unlike our normal selves. Grace for this journey...for better or for worse, in good times and bad. Grace. 

Source undeserved, yet so needed. What a beautiful gift. 


  1. We are glad to know that you have had a wonderful experience~and you know that love, hope and faith will lead you back to the sunshine of life again. There will always be a hole in our hearts for Aaron, but there will be joy one day too. Love you both so much!! xoxoxox

  2. This was a beautiful post Danielle. Thank you for continuing to share your story with all of us. {{{HUG}}}

  3. Amen. I love reading your story. I feel like I'm walking through my own thoughts. Thank you.

  4. I am so glad you both were able to get away for the weekend. I could not agree with you more about grief and marriage. I have never been inside of anyone else's marriage but I often wonder what it is like to not have such enormous grief. Thank you for sharing. Take care.


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