My original plan was to sneak up to Monument and Palmer Lake in Colorado and take pictures as I basically combined those two towns in order to create the fictional town of Mt. Vista for The Veteran’s Vow, which releases on 2/22/22. One short week away!
But the best laid plans often get tweaked, don’t they?
Instead, here I am talking about grief.
If you’re on Facebook, you know how Time Hop has a way of leveling you at times. I recently came across a post from February 6th, 2015 – a little over a month before Kara died.
Kara had posted—and I had re-posted—about the most glorious day. I will never forget it. In a long string of terribly hard days, Kara had a good one. I don’t know how else to put it and that makes it sound so simple, but it literally felt like the heavens opened up and were shining down on us. The birds were singing, the sun was out, the weather was warm. And Kara—she was out of her house. She was able to fellowship with a bunch of moms. It felt like this tiny slice of good in the middle of so much hard and so many disappointing test results.
We rejoiced in this day.
As I read what I had written 7 years ago, I remembered the grief. I had forgotten as the years have passed and the pain has lightened how heavy those days felt. And it made me think about how often we go through phases of grief in our lives. Grief can be the death of something—and not always a person. It can be the loss of a plan or a dream or a job or the remission of sickness. The list goes on and on. And sometimes when we’re in the midst of our thing we don’t realize the load that we are carrying until we have a moment or a bit of relief. And when the weight gets lifted, it’s only then that we really understand what we’ve been lugging around.
I wish I had some wise words for how to handle that time in your life—how to handle grief of various things when you feel like you’re drowning, but I’m not sure I do. I think this post is more about recognition—that whatever you’re going through and whatever you’re grieving is heavy and it does matter and sometimes we do have to pay the price of grief.
I wrote this when I was processing the grief of losing Kara. The pain of watching her suffer and then pass away. And in my processing, I concluded that Kara was worth the pain. Being friends with her and knowing her and getting to learn from her faith—I will pay the price in grief. I’m unwillingly willing. Kicking and screaming willing.
Some things are worth paying the price of grief for. If we lost the dream job or the dream itself, maybe the job and the dream were worth paying the price of grief for, because at least we tried. At least we were living. At least we were dreaming. And loving. There is no grief if there is no love or passion or heart. And how amazing that we have that ability!
I wish I could reach out to each one of you that’s reading this because I have no doubt that every single one of us is experiencing some sort of grief at all times in our lives. Not always a person, but a something.
Something we lost or something that didn’t go as expected.
It’s a good reminder for me to see that in 7 years, the pain of losing Kara has lessened. It’s not that when I think about it I don’t experience those same pangs of grief, it’s that as time passes I think our hearts slowly scab over. And I think we heal. Not in some perfect way but in a I lived through that and I’m still going and my heart is still beating kind of way.
As most of you know each book usually has early readers that review it and share about it for the author. It’s interesting because in The Veteran’s Vow, I really did not think that this book was about grief. I thought it was about a dog and a veteran. But the messages that I’ve been receiving from my launch team have been about the portions in the book that talk about grief. Both of the main characters have lost someone and that is why they are so passionate about the paths in their lives. They’re both trying to honor the people they’ve lost. So here I am, years later, writing about grief without realizing it.
Whatever you’re going through and whatever you’re grieving, I just want you to know that it matters and that the grief itself validates what happened. Maybe you’re trying to tell yourself it’s no big deal and you need to move on and get over it, and yes—eventually you will begin to heal and scab over—but perhaps giving that thing that you are grieving credit is exactly what you need to do in order to be able to move forward. Maybe we need to be able to say that was a big deal and it did matter. And maybe that’s exactly what our heart needs in order to start to stitch itself back together.
What you’re feeling and going through is completely validated. You might be wondering how I can say that since I’m typing into a computer and you might be reading it in some place far from Colorado, but God knows. He knows. This week I was having a moment and I got into the car and the radio came on and the first words in the song were something about how God has it under control and I don’t need to worry. And I truly do not know how He can give us those moments that are utterly amazing where He literally talks to us through something or uses someone to shout: I see you and I hear you and you’re not just some random grouping of cells walking around on Earth.
So, I absolutely believe that he sees you exactly where you are right now, and He is loving you through this grief.
Hang on, my friends. And hugs.
Details for the giveaway are on my news page! And I hope you look for The Veteran’s Vow in stores in the upcoming week and month. It will be in Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Safeway, King Soopers/Kroger, many grocery stores and online.
Could his biggest fear be what he needs to heal?
After a traumatic brain injury, military vet Behr Delgado refuses the one thing that could help him—a service dog. But Ellery Watson is sure the perfect pup will change Behr’s life and offers to work with him one-on-one. As Behr sets about overcoming his fears, Ellery’s surprised to find herself opening up about her troubled nephew. Will family obligations force them to deny what’s in their hearts?