An Honest Journey
Raw & Real Life: Transformative Grief

Raw & Real Life: Transformative Grief

Perhaps, you were made for this moment: to walk through the blazing fire and come forth as gold. -Morgan Harper Nichols

God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling. -Unknown

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purposes. -Romans 8:28



I’m in this place where I can’t quite put into words all that has taken place in the last six months.

How does one put into words the feelings and emotions that encompass life and death?

The birth of my daughter.

The death of my father.

The highs and lows.

And everything else.


There are so many stories.

Raw and real life has happened in this time.

I’ve spent so much time on this specific blog post. And I’ve been at a standstill for weeks and weeks.

No words can truly define grief.

My brain has ping-ponged back and forth on what to share. Not knowing where to start, I just wrote and wrote. I wrote out all the memories over the last six months- the good, the bad, the joyful, and the heart wrenching.

I had to empty all of it out. Even if no one ever read it, it was important for me to remember.

To process it.

To see it.

To acknowledge it.

It’s real.  

Bits and pieces of life are forever weaved together with emotions too hard to give a name. Emotions that I didn’t even know I could feel.

God is the only One who truly knows.


Looking back, my dad brought so much life to our family. I always felt he was one of the best listeners, and he had such a great sense of humor. He was one of those people that could talk with anyone.

He was curious about other people, and he loved learning all he could about life. I don’t think I realized the power and importance of these qualities for a long time, but I really marvel at how well my dad held conversations with others. He genuinely cared what other people had to say. And he was so good at being present. He loved spending time with his family and friends; he truly valued those times and didn’t take them for granted.

I miss my dad.


Everything seems to continue on as if nothing has changed.

Life speeds ahead.

It’s odd.

Little hands continue to tug at me, there are errands to run, things to do, a home to manage, as I continue to support my husband in a job that can be both physically and emotionally draining.

Life has gone on.


Truly, this has been one of the hardest years of my life, but it’s also been a year of growth and strengthening.

This has been a year where my heart has been broken down, beaten, and yet it continues to grow stronger and more powerful. It continues to grow in love.

I’ve been empowered as God continues to reveal to me how BIG He truly is.

He continues to reach into the brokenness and make things new and good.

God continues to be there for me.

Guiding me.

Pursuing me.

Loving me.


And maybe that’s what I needed to be reminded of all along.

In the weight of grief and loss, I can rest in a BIG GOD who is present. He’s a God who is not only with me in the weight of grief, but a God who has a deep and intimate understanding of my grief.

He’s a God who continues to mold and shape the pain and heartache for transformative, life-changing, good.  


I’m ready for whatever lies ahead.

It’s odd to admit that, but I am.

I believe God is calling me to something more. This whole experience has been stretching me and preparing me for whatever that more may be.

There will still be difficult moments and days ahead, but my faith and resilience continue to grow stronger thanks to God.

In this broken world, good is coming from all of this.


The spark in my soul is lit, and I’m ready to set fire.

He’s not done with me yet.


And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purposes. -Romans 8:28


We filled the night sky with Chinese lanterns after the annual “Barbie Blast” AKA 4th of July celebration. This celebration was held every year at my parents’ house. This year the celebration followed my dad’s memorial service. This is most likely the last time we will do the “Barbie Blast”, and so we honored my dad in a special way. It was quite beautiful, and at one point the lanterns formed a cross in the sky. This was one of my dad’s favorite times of the year with family and friends. There was always lots of food, good company, conversation, and fun. (If you want to know why it was called the “Barbie Blast”, you will probably have to ask me in person, or I’m sure my nephews and brother-in-laws would gladly share 😉 )


So, I had to add this video because it was pretty funny when this was all happening. My husband was kind enough to record our family releasing the Chinese lanterns in my parents’ backyard after we had finished all the fireworks. Mine, of course, was slow to rise in the sky, so they were giving me a hard time. The video footage isn’t the best (the camera turns half-way through), but I thought that this video showed the humorous aspect of memorializing my dad, and we had so much fun doing it. I know he would have loved it.


My parents


My dad and I


Hanging out with Dad


My dad was always a strong presence throughout my swimming career. He enjoyed attending both my brother and I’s sporting events.


A family trip to Chicago (From Left to Right: Me, Dad, My Brother, & Mom)


Getting ready to walk down the aisle


Walking down the aisle with my dad


Dancing with my dad



My parents came to visit us when my son was dedicated at church back in 2015.


A special vacation in FL with my parents


Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

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