Who Is Your Grief Partner?

The Giveaway

I think, “I can sneak by this time. Maybe she won’t notice.

If my voice is calm and my words are coherent, who can tell?

But within minutes after sending my Marco Polo video to her, I receive a Polo in return.

It is from my older sister. She can tell. I can’t get past her. She’s known me too long.

The red nose is always a giveaway. She spots it, even in a grainy Marco Polo video.

And it tells her I’m not doing as okay as I wanted to show.

She Is One

My sister calls me out gently. She says it looks like I’ve been crying.

She’s right, of course.

Minutes before I’d recorded my video to her, I had been crying. About many of the same things as the week before. And the week before that.

Some griefs don’t ease up with time.

And thankfully, neither do some people.

I count my sister as one of my Grief Partners. She’s one of a handful of people who have proven to be an in-person safe haven for me. I can fully share my heart with my Grief Partners. They’ve been here with me through it all.

I don’t expect them to feel the same things I feel. But I’ve learned they care that I feel those things.

Marisa Renee Lee says this about her Grief Partner in her beautiful book, Grief Is Love:

“A Grief Partner isn’t about sadness as much as it is about support. …You need your Grief Partner to be nonjudgmental and actively supportive. …I don’t expect him to share all of my feelings, but I do request and expect that he meet them with empathy, understanding, and love.”

Image: Who Is Your Grief Partner

Not Everyone

Has someone been your Grief Partner in a season of sorrow? It’s not always who you expect. And those you expect may not be the ones. Additional losses, even of friends, can multiply during grief when you aren’t at your best.

Many friends may want to help. Their intentions may be wonderfully good. But they have their own sorrows, too, their own joys, their own legitimately busy lives. (And perhaps even their own discomfort or genuine lack of empathic skills.)

While hearts are sincere, presence can be inconsistent. Sporadic texts or emails can feel too draining to reply to.

Not everyone can be your Grief Partner.

Partners Are Gifts

But to those who can be your Grief Partner, who are available to initiate regular check-ins—and who dare get close enough to see if your nose is red—these are true gifts from God.

Ultimately, I believe God is our grand Grief Partner. God understands our every ache of the heart and body.

But I also believe God’s in-the-flesh love arrives through people. God uses humans to distribute the hugs, conversations, and casseroles. God partners with us through each other’s grief. What a responsibility for us. But also what a privilege.

May you be blessed with your own Grief Partners when needed.

And may you be a Grief Partner when someone needs you.


Who has been a Grief Partner to you? Are you currently helping someone else through a season of grief? Share in the comments.

sharing with Paula and Corinne

12 thoughts on “Who Is Your Grief Partner?

  1. PaulaShort

    Humm… Interesting a grief partner. I never looked at it that way. It’s such a treasure and a blessing to have such people in our lives.
    Visiting from Let’s Have Coffee #25&26

  2. Linda Stoll

    It made me smile to see Marisa’s book here today, Lisa. Her parents were friends of ours and I was at her home the night her Mom died. I really appreciated her book.

    And yes, what a gift Grief Partners are. I’ve been blessed to have a few with each loss that’s come. Sheer gift.

    I continue to pray for you.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I didn’t know you had a personal connection with Marisa! I really benefited by her book and reading her story. I’m glad you’ve had your own set of Grief Partners this year as well, Linda. They truly are blessings.

  3. Jean Wise

    Wow what a heart breaking yet blessed post to write. WE all need people to come along side of us especially during grief. I find comfort in your words that not everyone is the right grief partner. I pray all people find that companionship when they need it. May it be so.

  4. Lois Flowers

    Oh Lisa … my red nose gives away my crying too–100 percent! And I love the term “grief partner.” My sisters have filled this role in different ways, as well as friends who gave me the gift of listening more times than I can count. As I think about it, I would also include several blogging friends in this category too … dear ones who stuck around through all my writing about sad things and encouraging my heart simply by commenting.

  5. Lisa Blair

    I appreciate the term ‘grief partner,’ Lisa. It really brings home the depth of empathy needed when walking through sorrow with someone. Big hug to you for the pain and sorrow you are feeling right now. Smiling that you couldn’t get past your sister. Rejoicing that you have dear ones to walk with you in this valley you are treading right now.

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