|  Blog Post   |  To love hard means to grieve hard.

To love hard means to grieve hard.

I have a lot of people in my life, both personally and professionally, in grief right now.

Some really loud grief and some a bit softer grief.
All traumatically hard grief.

So here are some lessons I’ve learned along the way…

“I’m sorry” doesn’t usually help us feel better or seen.

Saying nothing usually hurts worse than saying something stupid. Although that stupid shit like “God needed an angel” or anything starting with “at least…” hurts real bad too.

Say their name. Bring it up.
You can’t remind us or make us sad. We live with it every day.

Grief doesn’t get better. It gets different.

Any grief triggers all grief.

The waves of grief will come. Sometimes in tsunami-like waves. Sometimes it’s in slow ripples. Either way, the waves always come. We can ride them in. Be crashed to the bottom by them with a mouth full of sand. Or even try to beat them back with our surfboard. Either way, they’re coming, always and forever. It’s how we know we loved.

To love hard means to grieve hard.

Our grief doesn’t get smaller; our healing, life, and joy grow bigger around it.

Not sure what to say? Then say that.

Or here is a bit of a script.
“This is brutal. I can (NOT can’t*) imagine you feel utterly heartbroken and sad. There aren’t words to make this even a little okay, nor do I know what to even say except I see you, I love you, I’m here.

And then show up.

*I can’t imagine is not empathic. We can imagine. Our brains are made to imagine. We just choose not to because it’s vulnerable. Choose to imagine and sit beside us.



Justine is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 25 years of experience in traditional mental health and personal and professional development. Justine has been certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown for ten years. Justine is the author of eleven books, including five Amazon bestsellers covering subjects such as infertility, faith, and grief. She has been honored to do two TEDx Talks, The Permission of the And and The Donut Effect. She travels nationally and presents virtually to global audiences delivering keynotes, workshops, retreats, and trainings on topics such as leadership, courage, resilience, mental health, preventing and coping with burnout, and courageous and curious conversation, especially in creating cultures of belonging and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justine lives in St. Louis with her husband Chad, their three dogs, and for four months of the year hundreds of monarch and swallowtail butterflies.

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