recipe for raw grief

I’m reading a book by Joanne Cacciatore, Bearing the Unbearable. With her permission, I may from time to time post a passage that I find meaningful. I may write about my own grief as well, but right now my brain can’t fully compute and words are just jumbled in my head.

Grief is a tricky thing, and I’m finding that no two days are the same. My emotions are all over the place on any given day. I am not sad for him. I am sad for me and our girls and their families. My faith is strong, even stronger now as heaven seems more real today than it did three weeks ago. It is comforting as I think of him — not dead — but more alive than ever. I am happy for him.

However, it is indeed his physical presence that I miss beyond words. And I grieve deeply. My days are cloaked in sadness, a bit of despair, and moments of panic. From the soft-spoken words of others and unwanted books I am reading, I think that’s “normal” for now; the journey is new. A friend told me yesterday, “Think of grief as a tunnel, not a cave.” The tunnel is dark and very cave-like right now; I don’t see any light on the other side, but I will trust in her words as I keep walking.

Friends and loved ones are attentive. They keep asking, “How are you?” I don’t have an answer. I’m not okay. And I am okay. I would not choose to walk this road, but it is now part of my story. I don’t know what the future looks like, and I can’t bear to even think about it; today I just need to get through today.

This season isn’t looking as I thought it would, but still, I want to please God and honor my husband. I know the Lord is “watching over me” — and I hope that Jon gets a glimpse every now and then as well. I don’t know how all that works, but it gives me comfort to envision Christ with his arm around Jon’s “spiritual” shoulder as they gaze down, saying, “See? She’s going to be alright; She is strong and she can do this.”

Here is an excerpt from Joanne’s book, written by one of her students…


From the Kitchen of Theresa’s Heart

Serves: One


1 heaping cup disbelief

1 tablespoon reluctance to say goodbye

16 ounces excruciating pain

3 cups brutal sadness

2 tablespoons confusion (may substitute questioning)

1/2 cup constant obsessing

8 ounces anger (may substitute feeling misunderstood)

2 teaspoons agonizing guilt

3/4 cup embarrassment

1 quart loneliness

Dash of untimely and needless


Preheat oven to 1123 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix disbelief with reluctance to say goodbye. Next, trim platitudes from excruciating pain and discard. Use mixture to coat pain. Cook in scalding cast-iron skillet until blackened. Set aside. Fill large pot with tears and bring to a boil. Lower heat; pour brutal sadness into pot and cover. Allow to simmer for weeks. When sadness is numb, remove from heat and drain tears from pot. Stir confusion and constant obsessing into sadness and set aside. Use mallet to pound anger until tender. Cut into bite size pieces. Fry in pan over high heat with agonizing guilt and embarrassment. When anger turns red, remove pan from heat. To assemble, spread pain into bottom of baking dish. Layer on the sadness mixture, then cover with anger, guilt, and shame. Top with loneliness. Season with untimely and needless. Place in oven and bake until loneliness turns to intense longing. Let sit for a lifetime.

NOTES: Pairs well with absolute fear. Best served smothered in love and compassion (may need assistance with this step). Garnish with a sense of peace.

Copied with permission from Bearing the Unbearable, by Joanne Cacciatore, PhD

One thought on “recipe for raw grief

  1. Thank you for sharing “Recipe for Raw Grief” it is very rare that I read something regarding grief that really resonates with me. Thank you. I can’t imagine the tension you are living in of being okay and not okay. So very thankful for our loving loving loving Savior and brother who is walking with you.

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