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Grief...How Does One Walk This Necessary Journey of Life?

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There are no words to encapsulate the pain of watching someone you love dearly fade before your eyes. Like a flower in the field so beautiful one moment but all too quickly the bloom has wilted and the stem is drooping.

In my second book in the Shenandoah Valley Brides, Amelia's Heartsong, I had a key hero pass away so that I could intentionally write about grief and how to walk through that valley. Those words come back to haunt me now and bid I live my own advice.

I've traveled through grief before losing my dear nephew Tyler, my dad,  my brother-in-law Colin, and a number of good friends, but it never gets easier.

My baby sister, the one that moved away, married an American, lived all over the world, the one I visited in most every home she has lived… is now like that flower…quickly fading. We have always had a close bond and the love between us has remained strong despite different opinions at times. We have loved each other well and there are no regrets.

But how does one say goodbye?

I'm currently visiting her home and she is visibly fading before my eyes. Her battle with an insidious cancer is winning and each day she slips further from our grasp.

The nine-hour trip from BC to Oregon where she lives was easy. I drove with intention and sped over sun-drenched highways, into the rain, then the snow…nothing could deter me. Focused. Fearless. But oh so fragile. The moment I feasted my eyes on her I noticed the drastic changes in her appearance and was undone.

Can anyone tell me how I'm supposed to leave and make that trek home knowing I will never see my baby sister again this side of heaven?

I don't know how to say goodbye. I'm too sensitive. I feel too much. I hurt like the fires of hell are poured out upon my soul searing the very breath from my lungs.

I have always said…when one loves deeply, one will suffer deeply, and wow this hurts. It is the price of devoted love.

So dear sister of mine, Viola Fern Hickey (nee Dorn)…this blog is an ode to you, one of the most beautiful people I know.

This blog is also to all of you out there suffering grief alongside me. I don't know your story, but I know that there are many of you. I know you get what I am saying because someone you love is no longer with you. I know you have loved deeply and lost. I know you too, feel great pain.

But we cannot leave on that note. No there is much more than just a common commiseration. There is this thing called hope which we cannot find unless we embrace…

H - heartfelt

O - openness to the

P - possibility of

E - eternal life.

My sister is going to heaven. She loves Jesus and the peace and courage in which she has lived out the horrors of this illness scream out faith-in-action. Her life also confirms the truth of Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

My sister is marching toward eternity with the courage of a lioness and the peace of a lamb. There is more to this world than what meets the eye. There is much more.

Hope and the ability to grieve with bravery is found in the promise that we will see each other again. This world is not our home. We are all just passing through. And there is life beyond that door, for Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

I was reminded of Psalm 23:4 "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." (NKJV) It is very interesting that there can be no shadows unless there is Light. My sister is heading through the shadows toward the Light of her Jesus.

And that my friend is our greatest hope. 


This song helped our family a lot when we lost Colin, and it is bringing focus as I walk this road with my sister. Maybe it will help you too.

You Wouldn't Cry (Andrew's Song) by Mandisa

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Comments 1

Guest - Diann Turner

on Tuesday, 31 October 2023 09:56

I just read this blog with deep empathy and sadness. I’m going to lose my second cousin on my Mom’s side of the family. Even though Viola and I met once, briefly, many years ago, I feel a kinship and camaraderie with her, thanks to Social Media, bloodlines and close connections with her siblings. And then there’s our bond as sisters in Christ- that is the strongest tie that binds us together. We will see one another again because of our relationship with Jesus. Her seven siblings can rejoice in that, even though grief is often overwhelming. I’m praying for the whole family. The other cousin we lost was Sylvia Cressman-Yarbrough, also cancer. August, 2021.

I just read this blog with deep empathy and sadness. I’m going to lose my second cousin on my Mom’s side of the family. Even though Viola and I met once, briefly, many years ago, I feel a kinship and camaraderie with her, thanks to Social Media, bloodlines and close connections with her siblings. And then there’s our bond as sisters in Christ- that is the strongest tie that binds us together. We will see one another again because of our relationship with Jesus. Her seven siblings can rejoice in that, even though grief is often overwhelming. I’m praying for the whole family. The other cousin we lost was Sylvia Cressman-Yarbrough, also cancer. August, 2021.
Monday, 11 December 2023

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