An Alphabet of Grief


A is for aches. Heart ache, head ache, stomach ache, you name it, it’s aching.

B is for brain fog…. Followed by brain hurricanes, brain earthquakes and brain tornadoes.

C is for comparison. My life then and now. My grief versus someone else’s grief. My fatherless family versus seemingly perfect ones. Be careful of this comparison trap.

D is for depression, doubt, discouragement, disappointment and despair. So many D’s, so little time.

E is for ears. What you wish people would use more than their mouths when they “help” you with your grief.

F is for faking. Playing a part, wearing a mask, forcing a smile.

G is for guilt. The thing that adds to grief’s many complications.

H is for help. Hard to be willing to accept. Easier to give than receive.

I is for isolation. Suddenly I don’t fit in a world I used to belong in, and no one seems to understand.

J is for junk food. Emotional eating. Chocolate and bake goods when the loneliness strikes and the stress is high.

K is for kind. The way I should be treating myself, but the weight of my many responsibilities puts me as my last priority.

L is for “leave me alone.” The one person who would really understand is the one you can never talk to again. It seems that everyone else’s best efforts to help just don’t measure up.

M is for memories. The precious treasures that now seem so fragile because they are all you have left.

N is for “No.” The word you need to give yourself permission to use now more than ever to guard your broken heart.

O is for overwhelmed…. By your emotions, By your responsibilities, By paperwork, By parenting.

P is for patient. The intensity of grief always lasts so much longer than we would ever hope or expect.

Q is for quitting The thing you feel like doing in the face of this intense pain. But you can’t, and you won’t. You look at the sweet faces of your children or other loved ones and you are reminded just how many people are counting on you. Giving up is not an option.

R is for remembering romance. One of the hundreds of things you miss.

S is for suffering. A word you may have known very little about prior to this loss. Now you are an expert.

T is for tissues. Tissues and tears. Oh so so many of both. We should own stock with the Kleenex company.

U is for ugly crying. The kind of cry that squishes your face in strange configurations, gets really loud and soaks your face with tears until it turns red.

V is for vivid dreams. Sometimes they are sad and filled with trauma. Sometimes they are so real and wonderful that you just want to never wake up.

W is for wearing his clothes. Searching each garment for a trace of his smell. Even a whiff of his stinky socks would be a joy. Wearing his hooded sweatshirt is the closest thing to a hug I have.

X is for x-tra. Extra troubles you didn’t expect. Extra decisions to make alone. And feeling extra insecure and anxious.

Y is for yell. The thing that you just want to do at the top of your lungs because sometimes you are so angry. Angry with God. Angry with yourself. Angry with everyone because they aren’t your husband.

Angry with people who are still alive and outlived your husband. Angry with grief itself.

Z is for zero. The quantity of happiness you have felt since the loss of your husband is likely a lot closer to zero than it was before his death. Sometimes you wonder if it will ever feel happy or “better.” again.


Dorothy lost her beloved husband Oct 2021 to a very unexpected bacterial pneumonia that quickly became septic shock. Her other half and best friend was born with a serious congenital heart defect. Because of that, she had always feared the possibility of being a widow, but she thought it more likely to be due to his heart, and more likely when her husband was in his 50s after the children were grown. Instead, he graduated to heaven just one week before turning 34. Dorothy was 36 with young sons ages 5 and 16 months who adored their Daddy. In less than 48 hours, the life Dorothy and her beloved husband so carefully built together shattered. They were blessed to share just over 8 wonderful, joyous and fun years of marriage. While her heart is so thankful to God for having had their journey together, she has struggled since his death with feeling hurt and let down by God. She has felt so devastated that their love story was short and ended so abruptly. Join her as she shares her unfolding journey of grasping to faith in Christ as she journeys through love, loss, single parenthood, honoring her husband's legacy and guiding her sons through their grief and life without Daddy.