Processing Grief & Weaving a Legacy

A few evenings ago, I met a sweet friend for coffee. Every time we got together, I saw more of her beautiful heart. This time, as we sipped hot tea at a frigid Starbucks, we shared a mutual burden for refugees. I asked if she knew of any local organizations that help them acclimate to life in America, and she responded, “Oh I actually know of a refugee neighborhood not far from here; let’s go visit together soon!” I chuckled and then realized she was serious. “You mean, just go visit? Like knock on doors and visit?” I asked, my cowardice apparent. “Oh yes, they will love to have visitors,” she replied. I drove home that night, thankful to have such a loving friend who could teach me how to step out of my comfort zone and love others, despite my insecurities.

Silje and I met early last spring, and since we both had two little boys who were the exact same ages, we were fast friends. Our boys enjoyed one another, making it easy for us to visit while they played. She had a vision and a purpose about her that was contagious, and welcoming eyes that made you smile no matter your mood.

Yesterday morning, my lovely friend was killed in a car accident, and her darling three year old son died in the hospital today. My grief is fierce, and though I know that those two beautiful people are hanging out with Jesus today, I can’t help but feel like the earth is a little bit less lovely without them. I am aching for Silje’s husband and for their 18 month old little boy. I am aching for her parents in Norway, who have now lost two daughters. I am aching for my little boy, who lost a kind and precious friend. And selfishly, I am aching for my own loss… the courageous, humble, encouraging friend who left an impression on my heart.

Life is so fragile and I don’t want to miss moments. Today I will live slowly and on purpose. I will breath in the life of my loved ones, and breath out the impressions they leave on me, weaving their legacies and stories with my own. And I hope that my son and I can do the same for our friends who are dancing with the angels today.


  1. Jo….so beautifully written. So sad…keeping you and all who loved them in my thoughts and prayers. Sending much love and peace…

  2. Praying for you, friend. I’m sorry to hear about your friend – but am happy to hear about the great memories and strong, positive, impression that she has left on your life.

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