Letter of Grief & Hope

May 5, 2024

Dear Mitch,

When I think about us,

I always think of the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’.” I was a small town girl who lived in the Turtle Mountains, ten miles from Bottineau. You were the boy who lived in the “big city” of Bottineau, North Dakota, on the south side. If you look up Bottineau on a map, you’ll have to venture to the north-central part of North Dakota. It is located on the prairie, with the Turtle Mountains providing shelter from the north. We reside so far north, just 30 miles from Canada’s border, that many of us speak with a Canadian accent.

February 26, 2022 was the first anniversary of your death. And now, I have had two years without you.  When you think of an anniversary, you see a happy occasion. This was far from it. I feel as if my anguish over losing you is starting all over. The only difference is that I don’t have the numbness to put my pain away in order to complete the funeral arrangements. The grief does not take my breath away, yet it is profound nonetheless.

Psalm 42:3 states My tears have been my food, day and night. For many months, this has been my sustenance.

It is easy to think God has abandoned me during my grief. You died; three months later, our son was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. I felt as if God were punishing me or using me for His amusement. I sensed His presence strongly prior to your death, to the point where God told me to prepare for your death, then to inform me that death was approaching, and then to tell me the day of your death and funeral. So where is he now?! Why wasn’t He assisting me through my pain? I know deep down in my heart that He is carrying me, but I am too hurt to accept it.

 It all boils down to never giving up hope.

God is with me. He’s not punishing me. This is not retribution for something I did in the past. He is not laughing at my suffering. I have to believe that there is a plan behind all of this agony. I have to trust that lighter, happier, and brighter days are ahead, where I may carry both pain and love in my heart. The happiness and affection will lift me up.

Grief, I’ve heard,

is beautiful because it represents the love we shared. When I’m feeling too much anguish, this is what I need to remember and begin believing. I need to start believing that God is with me and trusting in His plan. I have to remember that I grieve because we loved deeply. Don’t stop believing in the love I have for you.

With all my love,
Nicole

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