Sydney Avey

Dynamic Woman — Changing Times

A Grief That Has No Words

Jul 31, 2015 | Faith, Family | 8 comments


Victoria’s garden

In times of grief, no words adequately describe the event that has caused our pain and how we are changed by what has occurred. “I have no words,” we say to each other. Then we struggle to find the right words that will help us make sense of the insensible.

Insensible is a good word to start with. On July 4th, our daughter-in-law set herself free from the pain of depression by taking her life. The violence of her unexpected departure rendered her family, friends, and community incapable of perceiving the reality of what she did.

At her memorial service, attended by close to 500 people, friends expressed shock and surprise that someone as loving and giving and seemingly full of joy as she was would do this. What I have heard is that those who suffer from depression may know they are loved, but they can’t feel it.They live with an unbearable emptiness inside that few are willing or able to articulate.

During her service, a theme emerged that Pastor Andy Lewis was able to lay before us: Beauty and Brokenness. In acknowledging what was beautiful about our beloved Victoria, we do not want to gloss over what was broken. It is a brokenness we all share in some form or other.

Every morning my husband and I wake up and check in with each other about how we are feeling. This morning’s conversation started like this:

Me: “I feel like I have broken apart and been put back together, but not everything is in right place.”

He: “Yeah, I feel like parts of me are missing. They are scattered all over the floor.”

Part of the grieving process is to slow down. If you are grieving, allow the adrenalin that has sustained you through the initial days of dealing with the aftermath to dissipate. We notice that we are operating at half-speed (sort of like our internet service on an Energy Alert day). Thoughts don’t come as easily; we search for words; our responses are slower; we drop things.

praybeadIt seems to me that painful moments give a structure and rhythm to life, like fingers moving across the cruciform beads on the Anglican rosary. (The Anglican rosary was created by a contemplative prayer group in the 1980s) “Have mercy, have mercy,” we cry out or murmur. We are not to seek these moments, but they will come to us. In between the intensity of painful times, the weeks give us interludes of peace and joy. For those, we must look, enjoy, and be grateful.

Be gentle with yourselves, my grieving friends. Allow the Prince of Peace to comfort you and make you whole.


  1. iola

    My prayers are with you, your family and loved ones. I pray for the peace of His presence and love to mend each one tenderly with the knowledge of His Grace and Mercy, as He our Lord and Father holds you gently through this time of grief.

  2. Mary Stewart Anthony

    and so I grieve with you, silently, unable to say what is in my heart.
    we just bow before the Father of Mercies who stores our tears in a bottle.

  3. Pamela Trawick

    Nicely said, Sydney. I recognize every part as what I’m experiencing since my mom’s death on the tenth of this month. I appreciate the way you’re sharing your grief and lift you in my prayers. May God continue blessing you with good memories.

  4. Donna Janke

    There may be no adequate words, but you have done a fairly eloquent job of describing the brokenness of grief. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Remember to be gentle with yourselves.

  5. Lisa Heidrich

    Loved this blog post. My heart aches with yours today. I am sorry for your loss. I can’t even begin to articulate my sorrow, your sadness you must be journeying through. Your words here are eloquent and well thought about. You said many powerful things in a short piece and I think you did an excellent job! Thanks for sharing your heart. I’m praying for you now.

  6. Barbara Haiges

    that was beautiiful Sydney.

  7. Barbara

    Broken apart and scattered covers it well… some days it feels as if someone is hiding some of the pieces.

  8. yosemitesyd

    Thank you all for your comments. My son shared this encouragement on his Facebook page.

    “The deeper the sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
    Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional – Barbara Johnson

    Faith is such a mystery. As we grieve, we also need to be open to joy.


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