Bad things do happen

Grief changes us quote
Grief Toolbox

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself. – Walter Anderson

I saw that quote earlier today. First, I would say that my ‘most precious’ gift is my faith. As for the rest of the quote, I guess it depends on where you are in response to the ‘bad things’, and what the ‘bad things’ are, that determine the ability to choose.

When my husband died, some time later, a dear friend said to me…

“Geoff’s death was God’s gift to you.”

No, I wasn’t offended, hurt, nor angry. I thought about it. I did a bit of a stocktake.

Statue of grievingWhether you have lost a spouse, a child, a parent, sibling or very close friend, you might know the horrible, tearing pain that accompanies the loss.

As the grief overwhelmed me, my closest comfort was God. I took the pain to Him, many times a day in those first weeks.

As my stocktake continued, I realised that without my dearest, earthly friend to talk about spiritual things about, I talked with God. My dependence on God increased. A closer walk with God has to be something to be prized.

Heard In a sermon…

“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting,
Ecclesiastes 7:2a

That made sense to me. In the ‘house of mourning’ a great deal of reflection is done. Why did the person die before me? What do I have to change?  How do I grow from this?

I was blessed that I could mourn, and have family support. There were times in the Bible when God said not to mourn.


Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the Israelites, may mourn for those the LORD has destroyed by fire.
Lev 10. 6


God’s prophets were called on to do many hard things, but Ezekiel was about to be given one of the hardest tasks of all. God was going to take away his beloved wife. He “spoke to the people in the morning” (verse 18)—evidently giving them the parable of the cooking pot to describe the siege of Jerusalem that commenced that day. And at the end of the same day, when “evening” or sundown came (same verse), his wife would die “with one stroke” (verse 16)—the Hebrew term used elsewhere of plague or disease (see Exodus 9:14). Yet in the face of this devastating personal blow, Ezekiel was not to mourn. We catch a very small glimpse here of Ezekiel’s private life when God calls his wife “the desire of your eyes” (verse 16). This was to be no easy task.
Ezek 24: 15 – 24;-Parable-of-the-cooking-pot;-Ezekiel’s-wife-dies/


The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you–O Absalom, my son, my son!”
2 Sam 18: 33

I have many regrets, but as one friend used to remind me regularly, “There is no such thing as ‘should have’… you did the best you could.”

No, an on-going sadness is that I truly did not understand the pain of becoming a widow, until it happened to me.

Then there is Psalm 56: 8

tears in a bottle


You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56: 8 NLT


Treasuring my gift,




3 thoughts on “Bad things do happen

  1. Patty B

    You read into my soul, thank you for these beautiful words. It has nearly been 2 yrs since Tom died and I have recently just started saying “widow” – but your post encouraged me and reminded me of the hope that is found in our Lord. Hope for a future. Blessings!

    • susanprestonbooks

      I think it must be the souls of all who have lost a beloved spouse. I still hate the word ‘widow’ but make myself use it. I still see myself as Geoff’s wife :). I am glad you were encouraged by what I wrote. And yes, I hang on to that hope although at present so much seems to be crashing around me.

      • Patty B

        I still consider myself married and still wear my rings. I know some who take them off, which is fine for them, but for me I will always see myself as Tom’s wife. Hugs!

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