Talk to a Pastor about your loss

All it takes is one phone call to change your life.  

I remember the day just like it was yesterday when my dad called me. Let me start with saying my dad doesn’t just call to chat over the phone, our conversations usually happen out at lunch or hanging out at my parents house, so a phone call was strange to get in the middle of the day. I answered the phone in my chipper “Hello!” and I was met with “hey i’ve got to tell you something that just happened…” My heart sunk, I knew this couldn’t be good news, but I had no idea that his sentence would end the way it did. “Your uncle has just passed away in a logging accident.” In disbelief I sat there on the phone not saying much. I had so many thoughts running through my head. Thoughts about my aunt who just lost her husband,  my cousins who lost their dad, and how one of my cousins wouldn’t have her dad to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. I couldn’t stop thinking about how my grandparents lost a child and my mom and her siblings lost a brother. With all these thoughts and his memories racing through my mind, I stood still in silence with the occasional “ok” because I had no other words. After what felt like forever I hung up the phone. I took a deep breath and tried to recompose myself. I was trying to find the words to say to my husband, let alone explain what happened to my children and how they also just lost someone they loved.  I stopped for a minute and prayed “Lord, give me the words to say” then continued into the next room to let my family know that my uncle is no longer with us. That was one of the hardest conversations I have had, explaining death to a 5 & 3 year old. I mean how do you even start that talk and how am I supposed to explain it just enough for them to understand how their world was also flipped upside down by one phone call?

I don’t have all the answers and honestly I don’t remember the words I said to my children that day; I was processing my own grief and trying to make sense of everything. If you are navigating grief right now as an adult and/or trying to help a child cope with loss. We have compiled some books and podcasts that can help. There is a section specifically for kids too. 


For Children:

Heaven for Kids by Randy Alcorn

Heaven for Kids is an excellent resource for helping children understand God’s truth about heaven. This book is an adapted version of his book, “Heaven,” which is for adults. 

It’s a wonderful resource to help answer questions about death — based on scripture. 

God Gave Us Heaven by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Little Cub listens as Papa Bear describes Heaven. There is no sadness or tears there and God warmly welcomes those who love Him. 

The book gently answers those questions young children have and can find comfort in knowing that God gave us heaven. 

Are You Sad, Little Bear? A Book About Learning to Say Goodbye by Rachel Rivett

Little Bear feels sad after the death of Grandma Bear in this sweet book. His mother suggests asking his woodland friends what saying goodbye means. 

Little Bear learns that just because you can’t see Grandma Bear, it doesn’t mean she isn’t there. 

Are You Sad, Little Bear? opens up a conversation as your child deals with bereavement. 

Always and Forever by Alan Durant 

Always and Forever shares the story of animals who lose their friend named Fox. It walks through his death and the feelings each of the animals have. 

Fox’s friends miss him dearly but remember all the good things they loved about him. Talking about Fox makes them all sad — a little too sad to do anything else.

Squirrel comes to visit to remind them of the funny and fun things Fox did. Through the fun memories, their friends realize Fox is still with them in their hearts. 

The book captures a healthy way to grieve and can help a child who has lost someone.

The Memory Box by Joanna Rowland 

The Memory Box answers these questions: Will I forget my loved ones? What do I do with my feelings? 

Children often struggle with how they will remember those they have lost. The book walks children through the idea of creating a memory box to help remind them of their loved ones. It helps them through the grieving process and helps them find comfort. 

For Adults:

The One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie

This book is a one-year devotional designed to be picked up and read a little each day. 

The book provides daily scripture and thoughts to help you through the grieving process. The scripture offers a reminder of God’s presence and gives examples of those who grieve in the Bible. 

Guthrie’s words encourage those who are grieving to grow in Christ and walk closer to God. 

Holding on to Hope: A Pathway Through Suffering to the Heart of God by Nancy Guthrie

Guthrie has experienced two devastating losses of her own — her two children. She shares her losses and specifically guides you through the Book of Job in this compilation. 

Studying Job through grieving eyes will give you a new perspective on death and hope, suffering and loss. 

You could walk through this devotional as a group study but it also works well when you read it straight through. 

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young 

Young’s book isn’t necessarily a book about grief. It’s a devotional that can help you grow closer to God through daily reminders that He does love and care for you.

Young grew closer to God through journaling and shares her writings in Jesus Calling.

A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss by Jerry L. Sittser

Sittser lost his mother, wife, and young daughter in one car accident due to a drunk driver. 

A Grace Disguised walks through Sittser’s grief process. He shares all the ways God has comforted him and helped him grow spiritually through it all. 

His book illustrates how dealing with loss can slowly allow you to feel joy through pain.



Getting Through Life’s Losses- Part 1 Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope

Grief is the only healthy response to loss because it’s unhealthy to deny a loss. Join Pastor Rick as he explains that, if we don’t grieve, we get stuck, unable to move forward.

Getting Through Life’s Losses- Part 2 Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope

Join Pastor Rick for this message on how God suffers with us.

How We’re Getting Through- Part 1 Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope

You’re not alone. God is with you and God loves you, and that’s why you can have peace even when life doesn’t make sense. Join Pastor Rick and Kay Warren as they teach that we can always rely on the promises of God. “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you pass through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned up. It will not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2, NLT).

How We’re Getting Through – Part 2 Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope

In this message, Pastor Rick and Kay Warren teach that, although everything on earth is broken, we can still have joy because we know God is good and he’s got a greater plan!

How We’re Getting Through – Part 3 Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope

We are in a battle against hopelessness. When something happens, and we have a major loss in our lives, we sometimes think, this is the end of the world! In this message, Pastor Rick and Kay Warren teach that it’s not the end of the world; it’s only the end of the moment. To everything there is a season. And God gives us hope through Jesus Christ.

Grief Out Loud The Dougy Center

Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise! Grief Out Loud is hosted by Jana DeCristofaro and produced by The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families in Portland, Oregon.