Distracted by Grief


Since my mom’s death on October 21, I’ve found myself distracted by grief time and again. At times—and especially in the early days—I’ve found it hard to concentrate, even to the point of losing all focus on whatever my current task may be. I’m sure many of you have experienced the same during seasons of loss and grief.

Some small remembrance sparks thoughts of Mom, and sadness creeps in again and distracts me with the reality of my loss. Sometimes my mind jumps back into those first traumatic days, and before I know it, I’m reliving the accident, the hospital, the painful goodbyes. Other less intense times, the simplest of things has triggered sweet memories but with the ache of loss attached now. Both types of memories have sidetracked me from whatever I’m doing or thinking or feeling at any given moment.

Last month I even had trouble focusing on and experiencing the joy of Christmas worship the way I normally do. About ten days before Christmas, though, the Lord used the lyrics of “Joy to the World” to remind me that every heart needs to prepare him room—even the hearts of those who are grieving. I felt a greater freedom then to enter into the joy of celebrating his birth. (I’m sure I’m not alone, but I almost felt guilty if I started to feel happy—like I was forgetting my mom. But I think that’s probably a normal part of grieving, too.)

Naturally, I’ve experienced different distraction levels as the grief process has progressed. Of course in those first days, I was sidetracked by grief numerous times throughout the day and had difficulty turning my mind back to other things. Now, even though the grief distractions don’t happen as often and I’m able to refocus more quickly, they do indeed still happen, and I still find myself blindsided by sadness at times.

I’ve felt the Lord’s presence with me through it all, though, assuring me that it’s alright—that he understands and that right now he doesn’t expect me to feel and respond in all the ways I normally would. What comfort there is in his understanding presence.

If you happen to be distracted by grief or some other situation that seems overwhelming, take heart. The intensity levels will lessen with time, and best of all, there is a Savior and Friend who will walk through it all with you. A Savior and Friend who will understand. Why not lean on Him?

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” Psalm 147:5

*How can we encourage those who are walking through different phases of grief?

*Flickr photo by Hannah Nicole [Aspire]


  1. yes!!!! yes, yes, yes. I so feel the same way. Love that scripture. Thanks for sharing your heart, Cheryl! Praying for you.

    • Emily, you’re so welcome — and thanks for sharing your heart as well. So glad the scripture helps. Thank you so much for the prayers. You’re in my prayers, too. Hugs.

  2. Grief is a surprising reality – catching us off guard and, sometimes, stopping us in our tracks. Better to live it as it arrives than to suppress it. Praying God’s continuing peace and presence over you as you walk through these mellow days of mourning.

    • Thank you, Elaine. I so agree — we need to allow ourselves to feel our grief and work through it. And I’m so very thankful for the One who walks with us every step of the way.

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