Good Grief

Elijah Sad Face

Who came up with the term ‘Good Grief’? Maybe it was Charlie Brown during a moment of confusion. How could he associate grief with anything good? Sort of like mixing the terms ‘Sweet Sorrow’ or ‘Awfully Good’.

When we are living through a situation of significant loss, the grief can hit us suddenly and uninvited. And often. We can be in the middle of a conversation when the tears simply start flowing. A song might ambush us with memories that trigger overwhelming sorrow. We might seem short-tempered and thoughtless when normally we are patient and thoughtful. We can find ourselves apologizing for grieving in situations where it seems to be out of place. Those around us are at a loss for words. When this happens to us it is difficult to appreciate the ‘good’ in our ‘grief’.

But what would happen to us if we actually didn’t grieve? Isn’t it better to hide our grief in favor of trying to smile through the pain? Can there be any good associated with grief?

After we lost Elijah our hearts seemed to be literally torn in two. As we reflected on the wonderful impact God had on his life, as well as the Godly impact that he was having on others, we realized that we were given the most precious gift as parents. God had given us everything we had hoped for: Elijah was saved by grace, he had brought many others to the Lord, and he was ultimately ushered into his eternal home in the arms of the Heavenly Father. The only thing we didn’t get was more time here with him to enjoy a longer life on earth together.

We experience both the good and the grief in what has happened. And in our grief we know that we are simply expressing our sadness over missing him until we see him again in heaven. We cling to the ‘good’ because it is our hope for the future. We allow ourselves to ‘grieve’ because we honor the memories.

Good Grief! I guess it makes sense after all.

(For more help on dealing with losses, I recommend reading “Recovering From Losses in Life” by H. Norman Wright.  Or visit his web page at


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

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