Saturday, December 19, 2020

Writing From a Grieving Heart

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

That beautiful time of year is upon us. Christmas. The holiday we all love. For Christians, Christmas is more than presents, gathering with family, and traditions that go back many years. It’s the celebration of the greatest Gift—our Savior Christ the Lord. 

While the overwhelming sacredness of God’s act of love is ever before us, Christmas is also a time of remembrance of Christmas past. A time when we look back at tender moments we shared with those we love. It’s also a time of profound sadness when their seat at the table is empty. And that can affect our writing.

Some are experiencing the sadness of fresh grief, some the anniversary of the death of a loved one, or, perhaps, the impending loss of a family member or friend. In addition, Covid has drastically reduced or eliminated our gathering. Instead of the comfort of others, our grief may be compounded by loneliness and despair. 

What are we to do with this half empty fragment of ourselves that lives on when one who was part of us is suddenly gone? Their absence becomes a chilling reminder that life is not the same. We are not the same. And we wonder, Who am I? What am I to become? What can I give the world apart from them?

For the writer, these emotions can paralyze our writing. As I commemorate the first year anniversary of my husband’s passing, work on my novel has temporarily shut down. My mind instead unlocks the sorrowful memories of the weeks and days leading up to his passing. The holidays encroach upon my grief as memories of past Christmases parade before me.

Grief may also intensify when we lose that which has grounded us and made our world secure. Covid restrictions have transformed our very existence. We are denied touch and fellowship as we carefully distance ourselves from others. Being geographically apart from family and loved ones often brings isolation as travel is denied us. Live streaming of many of our churches has sometimes prevented us from being aware of the needs of the body of Christ. We often suffer in silence, mourning the very presence of those who help feed our souls. Human to human contact is limited and loneliness ensnares us.

As we attempt to rebuild our lives, we must allow ourselves all the time it takes to grieve. Journaling allows us to pour out our true feelings and receive God’s perspective. God will heal your broken heart in time. Your departed loved one will always be a part of you—a beautiful part that God sent to weave into the beauty that you are. Embrace who you were together. Embrace who you are now. Embrace who you will become.

Find someone you can talk to. Be it a family member, friend, or grief counselor. It is essential that you release your emotions. Just talking it out will bring some release of anxious thoughts. You are not alone. You will get through this, but allow yourself to move through grief at your own pace. 

I offer a portion of My Heart Cries Out, by Paul David Tripp, which was sent to me recently by a dear friend.

You do not need to be nervous about whether God really has the power, whether He really knows your need, whether your petition has really reached His ear.
God has guaranteed all this. This should not and need not be your worry.
The Gospel teaches us everything we need not worry about.
We need not worry about whether we shall be saved.
We need not worry about whether we gain peace.
We need not worry about knowing what is coming, 
About whether some way out of this utterly hopeless looking political situation will be found.
None of this is our concern; 
All has been taken care of ever since it pleased God to become our brother in Jesus Christ . . . suffering, dying, and rising again.

From now to the end of days this Jesus Christ wills to be with us in our little ship as the waves run high. It is simply not our concern whether we survive the waves and reach the Last Day. This is all taken care of by Him who slumbers in our ship and in whose hand the ocean is but a quiet pool.

The Lord is faithful and is very present, whether we feel His presence or not. We will write again. In time, we will begin to heal. Our words will have new meaning because part of our soul now abides in eternity. 


Emme Gannon is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write stories that stir the heart. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Focus on the Family magazine, several anthologies, and numerous newsletters. She just completed her first novel.


  1. As much as we might think we'd like it to be, grieving is not accomplished alone Ms. Emme. Thank you for reminding us that God is with us through the process. Please know we continued to pray as you're nearing the "end of the firsts"; and we are confident that when you emerge you are going to be stronger and better than ever before ma'am; for that's what refining does. God's blessings; and thank you as always for sharing your godly heart with us ma'am.

    1. Your kind words are always comforting, J.D. They come from a place of profound dedication to the Lord and are always a blessing. Thank you for taking the time to bless.

  2. What a beautiful and timely post, Emme. I'm joining J.D. in his prayers for you, for Edie's family, and others who are experiencing fresh grief this Christmas. Your words offer much hope and encouragement now, and for the days ahead. Merry Christmas, sweet friend.

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers for all of us who rejoice in the coming of our Savior through tears. It is because of Him that we all have a future and hope. A very blessed Christmas to you also, dear one.

  3. Your words are so well written, Emme. I grieve for my daughter who was taken so suddenly and tragically three years ago, but I thank God for the years I had with her and the happiness she brought to me. My heart goes out to you, too, in your loss. Thank you for your beautiful writing this morning. It is heartwarming and helpful.

    1. Dear Diane, I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter. Please know I hold you tightly in my prayers, as well as all those who have lost a loved one. May the Lord, who conquered death, give you a sweet peace this Christmas.

  4. Emme, your words are a balmy of comfort and hope to those experiencing grief this holiday season and I offer up prayers to you, Edie's family, and Diane who commented above.

  5. Thank you, Barbara, for your kind words and prayers. Prayers sustain and strengthen and are so appreciated. A very blessed Christmas to you, Barbara.

  6. I also wanted to mention that the next to last paragraph of this piece is part of the poem by Paul David Tripp. While I wish I'd thought of those beautiful words first, they are his.

  7. Emme,
    Thank you for your wise words. I prayed for you and for those I know who lost spouses this year. May you find comfort in His arms during this year of firsts.

  8. A timely reminder, Emme, and one that hits home for many of us. Thank you and praying for you.

  9. I'm so sorry for your loss,Emme! I'm sure your words of encouragement will be a comfort to many of those who are grieving this year.