Entering The New Year Without A Treasured Loved One

Pre-grief, the New Year was previously a happy time of celebration…a Happy New Year filled with fresh possibilities…brand new opportunities…new memories to make with loved ones…

Post-grief – especially the very first New Year after the loss of a treasured loved one – the New Year can be incredibly heartbreaking and can even feel scary or daunting.

The thought of a new year without your loved one is painful. Making memories that no longer include your precious loved one — each step forward can seem like a heartbreaking step away from the one you miss so very much. It can all be excruciatingly painful.

So, how do you move forward into the New Year with as little pain as possible?
Incorporate your treasured loved one into the New Year.

There are a variety of meaningful ways to ensure your treasured loved one will always be remembered.

It’s not, “goodbye”…it’s, “I’ll see you later.” A meaningful New Year – and a meaningful life – is possible, as you navigate your heartache and grief.

💗Consider doing these special activities in your loved one’s memory and honor:

• go on that trip or event your loved one always talked about.

• try out that new hobby they always wanted to start but never found the time to do.

• ask God to tell your loved one a message to share with them. I truly believe God is compassionate enough to tell our loved ones we love and miss them…or even ask them to forgive anything we didn’t quite get right while they were here on earth.

• go out to eat and celebrate on your loved one’s birthday…give the waitress a tip in the amount of what you would’ve spent on a gift.

• set a place setting for them at the holiday table with a candle or photo of them.

• plant a garden, buy a houseplant, or adopt a pet in your loved one’s honor to lovingly remember them. Having something to care for in a loved one’s memory can be very healing.

• volunteer at an organization that meant a lot to your loved one.

• If your loved one passed away due to cancer, another illness, or suicide – or any other way, consider getting involved in helping others to heal/fight the same circumstances or illness. Making a difference in your loved one’s honor can be very therapeutic and meaningful.

•Host an annual cookout, event, or party, or a weekend getaway, as a remembrance to your loved one.

• Pour your heart & entire self into God & your remaining loved ones. Death shows us that life is incredibly short – and extraordinarily meaningful. A lifetime is short; redeem it as wisely and as much as you can…whenever you can.

• Live life as big and as well as you can in your loved one’s honor. Make them proud. Show them with your life that their life was so treasured by you – that you will celebrate their life through you in the New Year.

Think about what was special to your loved one. There are so many ways we can include our loved one(s) in our New Year.

We’re not walking into a new year…or creating memories without our loved one(s); we are including them and holding them safely & preciously in our heart until we can see them again in heaven.

We will definitely have sad days…bad days…days where we won’t feel like doing much at all…grief is so incredibly heartbreaking and hard…
…Like I said, when a loved one dies, it’s not, “goodbye”…it’s, “I’ll see you later.”

When we see our loved one(s) again, we’ll be able to share with them all we did in their honor, as they share with us all they’ve been doing in heaven. More importantly, as we grow closer to God and do His life purpose for us here on earth, just imagine all we will be able to talk about and share with God and our loved one(s) once we arrive.

Here’s to loving and honoring God, honoring and remembering our loved one(s), and living a wise, meaningful, and well-lived life in 2022.

Wishing all of the Grief Bites family a very blessed & meaningful New Year filled with healing, hope, & love!🎉❤️


©2022 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God:

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

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

❤️Kim’s blog:

❤️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:

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas:

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!:

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus:

8. The True Treasure of Christmas:

⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

When A Loved One Is Battling Cancer…

It’s been a crazy few weeks.

My brother had a heart attack, and then my dad suddenly became extremely ill after a biopsy (which came back clear) … and a few weeks later was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastasized cancer.

With my dad, it came out of the blue. Nine weeks ago, we were working out together, as we had been doing, three times a week. He was out-lifting and more fit than many people half his age at the gym. He also always walked at least 10,000 steps a day and was taking care of his health since beating cancer a few years ago (you can read a blog post I wrote from my dad’s first cancer journey here:

My brother’s heart attack also came as a shock. It happened on Mother’s Day and was a complete surprise.

Having two family members go through dire, life threatening illnesses within mere weeks of one another has been extremely stressful and heart wrenching.

As I was talking on the phone with a friend, telling her how I felt after she asked how I was doing, I put it into words. She said, “Kimmy, you need to blog about this. I’ve never heard such an accurate description.”

This is for my dad…my mom…our family…my two additional family members who are battling cancer…our friends…the grief and cancer communities.…everyone who has had cancer or has watched a loved one suffer through such a devastating illness.

May God grant all of us His mercy, compassion, healing, and His help as we walk through the incredibly hard journey of cancer.

😢🌷When A Loved One Is Battling Cancer🌷😢

Having a loved one go through sudden advanced aggressive cancer is the equivalent of your whole family being thrown into hell in a big bubble without warning.

The whole family is in an air conditioned bubble among the flames — except your loved one who is battling cancer — and you’re watching your loved one…who is outside the bubble…greatly suffer.

You can’t open the bubble to let them in…and you can’t exit the bubble to offer them relief or help.

You have water and you’re willing to give your loved one all the water in the world to refresh and help them – to put out the flames, to offer them a drink, to cool their suffering…but you can’t.

Every time you hear them cry out or wince in excruciating pain…you can’t help. You can’t take away the pain at all.

When they’re so weak they can barely walk or talk…you can’t strengthen them or be the breath their lungs so badly need.

When they are rapidly losing weight…you may be the best cook in the world, or offer to get them any food they want from any restaurant…ANY restaurant…but there’s nothing you can do. You can’t give them the gift of appetite or take away their nausea. Seeing your loved one lose weight – my dad lost 40 lbs last month – you feel like you’re in a nightmare. You learn that when they do feel like eating, you take full advantage of it – and pray they’ll be able to keep it down.

You love them so much that you’d willingly trade places with them…you even tell God you’re willing…but it’s not an option and you can’t take any of the burden off of them.

You see your other loved ones processing it…you can’t really help them either. Words of encouragement are empty…it feels so fluffy and artificial. Just like grief, there are no words in the human language to provide relief or comfort.

You want to say, “I love you,” and hug them a billion times a day…actually, you want to hold them tight and never let them go…but you can’t because it’ll just freak them out. They’ll wonder if they’re closer to death than they realize.

And the pain…the horrendous pain…you desperately want to make it better for them. Sometimes their pain is so great that gentle hugs are physically painful to them. It’s miserable not being able to alleviate their pain. You can’t make them more comfortable either…and due to the pain, no position – sitting or lying down – feels good. Temperature means nothing. They’re burning up one minute and another minute, they’re freezing. It’s so frustrating to them.

You want to cry…but you don’t dare because you need to keep your loved one’s spirits and hope up as high as possible. So much of the battle of beating cancer is in the mind and spirit. You’ll do whatever it takes to help them have the best odds, and most favorable mindset, of beating this dreadful illness.

You want to say stuff like, “it’s going to be okay” – but how do you tell someone it’s going to be okay – when you don’t even know if things will be okay? So you instead say, “We are going to do everything possible to beat this! We’re in this together!”

You want to 100% focus on your loved one battling cancer…but there will be times you won’t be able to since you still have work responsibilities, chores, etc – and you’ll feel so torn. You’ll strive for as much time with your loved one as possible – because you fully understand that any day could be “the day”…and as a result, you’ll cancel any and every unnecessary appointment, social event, anything unnecessary, everything. You realize an awful truth and it breaks your heart into a billion pieces: if God doesn’t grant you the miracle you’re seeking, you are on borrowed time…and the time is short.

You so badly want your loved one to stay on earth…you ignore reality and pray boldly in faith. You’ll be praying for huge miracles – because you want your loved one to stay here. You can’t imagine life without them…and you know you can’t “go there” and especially cannot “camp out there” in your thoughts because this can absolutely depress you. So you ask God for more faith, strength, and a miracle. You’ll even try to barter with God. You focus on prayer…you realize that intense prayer – and even fasting for your loved one (after talking to your doctor) – is the best way to help them. And you don’t just want to save them because you love them so much…you want to save them because you don’t want to see a bright light go dim…they’re doing so much for God on earth, so you continue to beg God for a miracle — multiple times each day. Even though things look bleak, you stand firmly in faith and claim any scripture you know or can find on healing.

Since you’re not crying in front of your loved one…God, other family members, the shower, and the car become your best friends. You cry out to God in your heart…your insides do the crying – and no one around you is aware of it. You turn on music and cry in the shower – where no one can hear. Sometimes, you’ll slump to the ground and pour your ever living heart out to God – especially on the frustrating days where you feel so powerless to help. You get it all out. The car is a great place to pull over and just cry on the hardest days, too. And you do this so you can reset and be your absolute best for your loved one.

You get upset that it’s your dad or family member…and will ask God, “why my dad?why my loved one?” My dad is the nearest thing to a walking angel. Seriously…he is SO good to God, my mom, his grandkids and greats, my siblings, my husband, me – all of our family. I’ve never met anyone who has more integrity than him. Here’s how well-known of how great a person my dad is: At my dad’s birthday party, my sister (as a party game) had a quiz about my dad…one of the questions on the quiz was “Where was Gramps born?” Someone replied, “Don’t say in a manger!” My dad isn’t just a good man…he’s literally the godliest man I’ve ever known. He loves others and lives out his Christianity 24/7.

So many thoughts and emotions these past few weeks!

Whoever pegged the saying “Cancer Sucks” … they were absolutely right. It so very much does suck.


Make no mistake…there is always hope!!

Cancer – even though it sucks so bad – it does not and will not have the last word! It will refine you…absolutely allow it to refine you…you’ll also find out who your real friends and caring family members are…this refinement is a gift! It will cause you to completely reprioritize your life and relationships. You find out quickly what is truly important – and what is not.

It’s not always doom and gloom…you’re not always a crying, bumbling mess…because you’re also enjoying the heck out of your loved one. You’re doing everything in your power to bring them encouragement, hope, and joy.

Every. day. is. a. precious. gift. A gift not to be wasted.

You’ll have some of the deepest, richest, best conversations ever…and you’ll laugh with your loved one, too.

I’ve had some of the most meaningful conversations with my dad lately…and I’m writing down these precious words, too. I never want to forget these very meaningful talks — and the precious advice he’s giving me. He’s also sharing with me things to say to our loved ones at a future date. His focus isn’t on himself…his focus and his heart is on God, the love of his life (my mom), his treasured grandkids, my siblings, all of our family, and me. My dad’s entire life and world is God, my mom, and our family. Cancer hasn’t and will not change that.

I did mess up and cry around my dad – on Father’s Day – and my dad said something that blew me away. He said he feels his cancer is a privilege to walk through…that it’s a blessing in disguise – even though it doesn’t look like one right now – BECAUSE God will be glorified in this extremely tough situation. He said his cancer will draw our family closer together — and we have the opportunity to allow this trial to refine, teach, and remind us what life, family, forgiveness, and love are all truly about.

I know God is going to carry my dad, my mom, and us through this excruciatingly painful time…no matter the outcome…because God is good. So very, very good!

There are days I feel helpless. I HATE not being able to help my Dad. It’s my nature to help…love…encourage…prevent tragedy…console…save…and protect those I love deeply. I’ve wondered a hundred times how we got here…my dad had been to the ER a few times and was hospitalized twice as well…how did nobody catch this?🥲 Questions like these are futile. My dad told me to focus on the “here and now.” Although this all took us by surprise…this did not take God by surprise. And God is sovereign.

My dad said the battle isn’t mine…that I need to be still and know that God is God. He also said not to be upset with God…that God is good. My dad’s right: The battle isn’t mine. And God IS always good. He isn’t just good…He is 100% faithful…capable…loving…kind…and He is for my dad and our family.

Now that I’ve had a few cry-fests, I’m learning how to better shift my emotions, perspective, thoughts, and focus from an earthly perspective to an eternal perspective…to take (like my siblings have advised) “one hour/day at a time” – which isn’t always easy.

We always say, “I trust God”…and times like these reveal the contents of our hearts…they are also an exclusive opportunity to prove that we do indeed trust God.

So I need to remind my heart: We walk by faith not by sight…God can do more in a moment than I could ever hope to do in a lifetime…God’s Perfect Will – even when we don’t like or agree with it – is exactly what we all would want if we knew ALL the facts…God doesn’t need my help. At all…God is God – and I am not…sooo…I lovingly place my dad, his care, and his very life into the hands of the One who loves him most.

Anyone who has been through this gets it – our family, sadly, is not the only ones to go through this. Millions of people experience this every year. Two other family members are experiencing cancer as I write this. My heart goes out to all who have – and are – experiencing illness.

My focus is on God, my dad, family, and others who are grieving a loved one or battling cancer.

Instead of focusing on the cancer on the toughest days…what could or could not happen…what may or may not be…I will turn my focus – in faith – onto God.

Instead of crying in the car and shower…I will turn these times into deeper times of prayer and praise to the One who loves us most and best.

I will love and enjoy God…my parents…my spouse and kiddos…my entire family…to the very best of my ability.

Yes, I will absolutely still lift my dad and family up in prayer every single day…but my focus will not be on the storm…my focus will be on my God who controls the storm.

And I know I’ll get to know God at a much deeper, richer, and more treasured level through these trials. Like my dad said, this is a blessing in disguise…and God will create good from this situation — because God never wastes a hurt.

I’ll do what my dad has requested: turn my tears into prayers…my worries into praise…my fears into trust…and believe this trial holds a greater purpose.

I. will. not. quit. praying…and I will help my dad stay positive as his treatments become more intense and painful. He said this type of chemo (FOLFOX) made his first cancer treatments feel like a cake walk. I’ll continue to encourage, strengthen, and help him.

I pray anyone who has been affected by cancer will be comforted, encouraged, and healed. And I pray fervently that my dad – and your loved ones, too – will make it and will be healed.

Please pray my dad and all who are battling cancer will win their fight starting today…and may each and everyone of us experience a brand new facet of God as we walk – and continue to love, trust, and praise Him – through the storms we all face. 💗

No matter what storm you’re facing today, always remember you are loved and I am praying for you!


©2021 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

⭐️For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God:

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

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

❤️Kim’s blog:

❤️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:

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas:

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!:

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus:

⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

Grief Bites

“Grief Bites.”

Such a simple sentence…yet complex and filled with incredible pain.

My sister called me one morning in 2010 to ask how I was doing.

“Grief Bites” is all I could say through my tears.

Little did I realize how such a little sentence would transform my grief.

That one random phone call, one question, and those 2 little words would eventually develop into 2 published grief books, a local grief organization, a grief ministry that would encourage & give hope to people through 5 church campuses, as well as 3 Bible Reading Plans on YouVersion that offer encouragement to millions of people.

The morning my sister called me in 2010, I was in the middle of experiencing a lot of grief. I was sick of grief…and sick of life.

In the 3 years leading up to that phone call:

  • my son had several consultations and surgeries for tumors throughout 10 months…we were in three different medical facilities in two different states
  • 3 of my son’s good friends died
  • my grandmother died
  • 2 family members died on the same day
  • my marriage crumbled to the point of divorce
  • I had a cancer scare that required 2 surgeries
  • my sister’s fiancé died suddenly (this was her 2nd fiancé to pass away..her 1st fiancé died a few weeks before our other sister’s death)
  • we lost our entire retirement savings due to a person’s foolish decisions
  • key relationships I dearly loved deeply changed
  • my son’s father died
  • I was diagnosed with a lifelong autoimmune illness

I felt incredibly defeated and depressed.

To go through several deaths, my son’s illness, my illness, heartbreaking marriage issues, relationship losses & changes, among other losses within 3 years was very challenging…but I knew I wanted good to come out of it. I wasn’t about to allow life or grief to defeat me, and I wasn’t going to sit down and remain a depressed mess. I had already done that when my sister died and that wasn’t going to be my reality again.

It was almost a “saving grace” that I had previously been through grief when I was younger. Grief had been second nature in my life pretty much since I was a child.

While growing up:

  • my dad was killed by a drunk driver
  • my favorite grandmother (who lived with us after my dad passed away) died a few years later
  • I lost my grandparents (and later 2 uncles and an aunt) to cancer
  • the pipes in our home froze and bust, flooding our entire house…we lost everything…and lived in a motel for several months
  • A traumatic event happened when I was 12. I was hospitalized in ICU and almost died.
  • my boyfriend died in a car accident while in high school
  • a friend was murdered
  • I went through an illness and was in ICU
  • two friends committed suicide
  • one of my best friends died after being in the hospital for a year…then a few weeks later…
  • I saw my 22 year old sister die after only being sick for 3 weeks

All of this before I was 20 years old…so I knew what grief could do. I understood the heartbreaking days and nights, as well as how difficult it could be to get through.

BUT 2010 was different. I didn’t want to just “get through” my grief. I was desperate to understand. I didn’t want to just be mad at God and life…I actually needed to deeply & heart-wrenchingly question God so I could come to peace with Him and find a new way of life that made sense.

Majority of the grief experiences we go through will never make sense…but I found that good can come out of any circumstance if you allow life…and yes, even grief…to teach you lessons. They are not fun lessons…but they do have value.

And eventually I learned, ironically through my grief, that God IS good. He healed my heart from major grief and heartache.

The reason I share my grief is not to solicit sympathy or pity. Absolutely not. It was through everything I went through that I found my purpose in life: I get the privilege of helping hundreds of thousands of people through their grief so they are able to live better lives.

So why blog about it? Why talk about grief? Because grief has a huge need to be more commonly talked about so that everyone can understand how to help those in grief.

And because grief doesn’t end on the day of the funeral…in fact, grief never goes away. Unfortunately, grief velcroes itself to your heart. It’s. there. for. life. And the greater the love, the greater the grief. Grief typically doesn’t stay as strong as it is in the first few years…but it lingers and can come back full strength at the oddest times.

Some grief experiences are minor, while other grief experiences are major. There is hope for major grief…but it takes a lot of self work and grief recovery to get to that point.

I also talk about grief because there is a great need for grievers to share their experiences to help others who are going through grief. It is also helpful for grievers to help others who have never been through grief to understand.

This blog is for anyone who has been through grief or loss…anyone who has been through a sleepless night…anyone who has had a broken heart and still wants to live the best life they possibly can live in spite of any circumstance they face.

I hope something I write encourages someone. I hope it allows someone to obtain the hope they need to move on press forward in spite of the heartbreak they have been through.

Notice that I drew a line through “move on” because anyone who has been through deep grief knows how frustrating that phrase can be.

I say “press forward” because if you are going through intense grief, it has to be a personal choice to press forward with everything you’ve got. I am NOT suggesting forgetting about your treasured loved one(s). In fact, I am a HUGE advocate of honoring a loved one’s memory… I’ll write more about that in the days to come.

By pressing forward after you have thoroughly grieved, you’ll prevent additional loss, guilt, and regrets from entering your life. If you stay still or stagnant in your grief, or ignore it, more loss develops…and then you will have so much more to deal with later on…and grief will have damaged your life further than you wanted it to.

Don’t allow grief to choose for you how you are going to live the remainder of your life. Grief does not deserve to make that decision for you. The only thing you should allow grief to do is teach you lessons on life…and the lessons are certainly there.

Choose TODAY to thoroughly go through your grief so that you are truly able to create the life you want to live in the years to come. Pressing forward allows you to grab hold of it though. It will NOT be easy. There is no such thing as “neatly” grieving or one-size-fits-all-cookie-cutter-style grieving…there are no rainbows, unicorns, or cotton candy in grief recovery…nope, it is messy. It will most likely be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do…but one day you’ll look back and be so very grateful you worked through your grief and embraced it.

Life is too short to not live to the fullest every single day. Life is too good to not find joy in it…especially the “little things” in life. You only get one life…and you never get time back. Redeem the time and enjoy every moment life has to offer you as much as you can…in time…when you are able to.

Life is a canvas so throw all the paint on it you can so one day you will have the ability to look at the amazing picture you created in spite of heartache & grief.

That is the very best way to get back at grief…to get your breath back after grief & life have knocked it out of you.

It will take time and you will know when your heart is ready.

Grief bites…but we ALL have the power within us to bite back.

©2014 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

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

For more encouragement:

Kim’s blog:

Connect on Facebook by “liking” page:

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

Making peace with God: