Mourning Those Who Are Still Alive: 10 Ways To Weather The Storm

Most grief recovery efforts naturally include helping grievers to mourn loved ones who have died…but what if the person you are mourning is still alive?

To have once enjoyed a good, solid, rich relationship with a loved one—and then no longer have a good relationship (or to then have a drastically changed relationship)—this terribly and horribly breaks a heart in a very unique, painful way. 

When drastic change occurs, or a difficult situation or relationship develops, it can cause excruciating heartache, loss, and sadness. It truly can feel as though someone you deeply love has died, and you are forced to go through a silent funeral inside of your heart every single day. 

There are many reasons why this can happen:

  • Spouses commit adultery or files for divorce or a significant other leaves or betrays you
  • Children react to parents due to divorce or co-parenting challenges…sometimes parents react back
  • Children react to an adulterous affair a parent has had or children react to how the affair victim/parent handled an affair
  • A loved one battles debilitating mental illness or a loved one goes through the longterm effects of a brain injury and these circumstances completely change the dynamics of the relationship
  • Parents react to children and children react to parents on “life” issues or spiritual issues
  • A parent, step parent, or other family member pits a child, parent, step parent or other family member against each other
  • Custody or visitation issues, foster care issues, or family conflicts cause deep heartache or even estrangement
  • Spouses return home deeply wounded emotionally, physically, spiritually or mentally from serving in the military…or spouses betray the spouse who is away serving
  • A spouse, child, or family member goes through a medical challenge, or deep grief, or another terrible life event or life challenge and they drastically change or become a completely different person
  • Parents abandon their children, and children rebel against or abandon their parents
  • Siblings, or other family members, change and are no longer close
  • A sibling, parent, child or other family member marries someone who isn’t respectful of sibling/parent/child/family relationships…so to avoid arguing with their romantic partner, they choose to “keep the peace,” and choose their significant other over longterm relationships 
  • A family member battles addiction—or another stronghold or wrong thinking—and you can’t get through to them
  • Relationship issues majorly change a relationship due to mistreating or reacting to one another
  • An adult child can enter into a romantic relationship (or marriage) where their significant other turns them against their parents or family
  • Friendships heartbreakingly dissolve
  • Physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse issues create hardships and heartache
  • A family relationship, friendship, or church relationship dissolves due to a betrayal, a lack of understanding, conflict, or deep hurts
  • Bitterness and an unwillingness to forgive or work on the relationship takes root
  • Some sever ties to “make a point” or to intentionally inflict heartache in reaction to their own pride or pain
  • Ultimately, a lack of respect, lack of genuine love, and a lack of honor wrecks relationships 
  • Lots and lots of other reasons

Anytime a relationship changes for the worse, abruptly changes, or becomes fractured or shattered, it is very, very painful. And many times, the result is to feel helpless, as though you have runout of options.

When this happens, what can you do?

  1. Pray. Pour your heart out to God and ask for Him to intervene in the relationship and situation.
  2. Possibly prepare for God to ask you to make a change or to do something uncomfortable.
  3. As much as depends on you, apologize and ask for forgiveness for your part…knowing that the other person may never humble their self by apologizing back to you.
  4. Place your loved one and the entire situation in God’s Hands….and take your hands off (and out of) the situation. Realize God can do more in one SECOND than you could ever hope to do in an entire LIFETIME.
  5. KEEP YOUR NOSE CLEAN…meaning, do the right thing and choose to show genuine love no matter what. Take the higher ground. Be completely loving, Christ-like, and kind. Close your mouth (this can be very hard to do!) and do your God-given responsibilities. This will be extremely hard, but remember that God’s got this! He needs for you to reflect His character, love, and glory. It will be very helpful to memorize and recite these scriptures when you’re tempted to put your hands back in the situation or times you’re tempted to not keep your nose clean: Exodus 14:14, Ephesians 6:11-13, 1 Samuel 17:47, Psalm 34:18. This does NOT mean be a doormat, but for God to accomplish His greatest work, it’s very important to get out of God’s way and to obey God.
  6. Have faith and fully expect God to work in the situation. It may or may not be how you had in mind, but God will definitely be working in the situation (and working out the best outcome) as you genuinely trust in Him to do so.
  7. Ask God to provide you with a strong, loving support system: trusted family, trusted friends, trusted pastors/counselors, trusted support groups/biblical community…keyword here is TRUSTED. To get through the toughest times in life, a strong support system is vital. Accountability partners are also very important.
  8. Work on yourself and do your own self-work with the Lord’s help. Consider your individual relationship with the Lord, your joy and life purpose apart from the situation, consider your part in the situation, look soberly at your own faults and possible blind spots both in and out of the situation, and seek to improve yourself as you love and serve God to the fullest as you wait on Him. (Psalm 46:10, Matthew 6:9-15, Matthew 6:33-34, Proverbs 3:5-6)
  9. Delight in God (Psalm 37:4). When we go through hardships, it becomes easy to become impatient, worry, or even become fearful or bitter. God has a better way! Delight yourself in God, learn to trust and lean on Him, and extravagantly love Him as He carries you through your grief and the storm you are in the middle of. He knows your heart, loves your heart (and knows and loves your loved one’s heart!), and no matter what happens in your situation, He will carry you, heal your broken heart, and love you back to life…no matter what! He will NEVER leave you!! In fact, other than our relationship with our own self, God is the ONLY relationship we are guaranteed to continually have here on earth. We can NEVER lose His love!
  10. Allow God to positively change your heart through the process…and whether your situation or relationship changes for the better or not…eventually use your situation to wisely help and encourage others. You are going to be an absolute TREASURE to someone else who will be walking through a similar tough relationship situation. Learn as much as you can through your situation TODAY so you can encourage and help others in the present or FUTURE. God never wastes grief. There is always good that can grow out of it. 

Whatever situation or relationship you are grieving or experiencing deep heartache in, please realize there is hope! I agree with you in prayer for God to heal, encourage, and help you and your loved one(s) through whatever you are going through. I pray God works mightily in each relationship, heart, mind, and situation! If a positive outcome is not possible due to a permanent situation, I pray God gives you the gift of a peace that passes understanding and the ability to truly press forward and heal. God DOES love you, He greatly values you, and He already knows how He plans to help you and every situation of grief you are facing or will face!

Even if a relationship never finds peace or reconciliation again, realize it does NOT diminish your value. Before you were ever a family member, spouse, child, parent, or a friend, you were God’s. He will always unconditionally love you, because you are totally valuable and “enough” to Him. Yes, you will go through incredible heartache if reconciliation does not take place, but God will be there for you every single day—especially your toughest days!

There is always hope and your life is precious! Please never forget that!❤️

Gratitude, healing, love, & many blessings,

©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged or helped by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage & help others!❤️

For more encouragement:

Making peace with God:

Kim’s blog:

Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): 

FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: 
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: 
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief 
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays:


6 thoughts on “Mourning Those Who Are Still Alive: 10 Ways To Weather The Storm

  1. Oh my word. Yes, yes, yes to all of this. Every word. I found this post and your site via a general search about “how to heal when the person you’re mourning is still alive.” This post was at the top of the results, and thank God it was. I think I will read it every day. My heart truly breaks for so many people just in my little slice of life who are grieving those they’ve lost to death. I am not trying to “compare” types of grief or to rank them. But to lose someone you love due to, as you so perfectly put it, “a lack of respect, lack of genuine love, and a lack of honor” is (as you also so perfectly put it) “excruciating.” And if our American society is bad at dealing with grief that’s the result of death, it’s even worse at dealing with grief that’s the result of intentional leaving or unloving. Thank you for your words and your site, which I am now following and which I shared (minutes after I found it) with a friend currently grieving the loss of her mom. Bless you.


    • Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and heart, and thank you for following this blog and sharing it with others.
      Grief is so very tough, I’m sorry for all you’ve been through. I hope the writings on the Grief Bites blog will continue to encourage your heart! May God bless you with hope, encouragement, and healing!


  2. I LOVE JESUS, but I can feel my heart grow cold after almost 5 years of rejection from an adult son. I sat down at my computer and found this article. It has helped me…I am going to meditate on the verses as I go walk my dog. You said it feels like your heart breaks every day…it is so true. Bringing my broken heart once again to JESUS. I find myself wondering all the time… did JESUS feel while he walked this turf? I think HE must have felt this way but even more deeply. HE can see in our hearts and all the doubt and hate. THANK YOU JESUS FOR YOUR PERFECT LOVE THAT WILL HEAL.


    • Rejection from a loved one – especially a child – is very, very tough! There is hope, because God can truly heal and restore. I pray God will heal and restore your relationship with your son.
      Looking at the situation from the viewpoint of how Jesus must feel is a very good idea. I often wonder how He must feel through situations, too.
      Hang in there…God truly does care!
      I hope this verse encourages you:
      “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.” ~Joel 2:25
      I pray God doesn’t just heal and restore for you, but that He will also restore the years of close fellowship that were lost as well!
      Take care and know God loves you!


    • I find myself estranged from my adult son through lack of respect, lack of genuine love and lack of honor. It started when he married a woman with deep insecurities, I believe, from a troubled and lonely childhood. Placing this situation in God’s hands is the only hope for peace because I cannot say or do anything that is not wrong in their eyes. There are three grandchildren whom I love more than life that I rarely see and they are at an age where I can hear the confusion and distance in their voices.
      This is an excruciating and on going pain. I pray that God gives me the direction to continue a relationship with them and the strength to keep it light and loving.
      Your article was everything I needed at this time as I find this situation all encompassing and I am spiraling downward with grief and hopelessness.
      I am placing it in God’s hands and will accept the outcome. He didn’t promise an easy journey but He did promise to be always at our side.


      • My heart sure does hurt for you!
        I’m so sorry you’re going through this…it is a very painful road to walk. I am praying for you & your family right now. Please never give up hope! God truly cares about all you are going through! Praying God will bring sources of encouragement into your life as you walk this terribly heartbreaking path!


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