nancy howell erika graham kit hinkle parenting through grief a widows might widow support group

Parenting thru grief

Grief stinks.

There’s no other way around it, sisters.

We’re all here, trudging down a road we didn’t ask for and didn’t plan.

And in the midst of the pain and loneliness and loss of a spouse, many of us are thrust into a whole other dimension of suffering:  watching our children deal with the unspeakable tragedy of losing a parent.

Many widows recount that their most difficult day was burying their husbands.  For me, that was unbelievably hard, but it was by no stretch of the imagination my worst day.

My worst day?

Coming from the hospital as a widow, tossing and turning for four hours, dressing myself, then driving to a friend’s home.  There, I had to tell my sons, ages eight and nine, their dad had died.  He was their world.  Funny, sweet, patient, hands-on.  Gone.  In the blink of an eye.

No parent should have to convey that news.  Ever.

Even now, over three and a half years since that awful, horrible, worst day, I can replay the imagery, the raw emotions, the reactions of my boys.  As long as I live, I will never forget that pain.  How it changed them.  How it changed me.  How it changed our family’s dynamic.  Forever.

So, how do you parent through this early, raw, jagged edge of grief?

You rely on God. Period.

It’s not easy.  Healing takes time and work and prayer and mercy and grace.

But your children can again find joy.

Next month, during our Dallas conference, Erika, my session teammate and mom of three, and I will share what is working for our families.  We’re not perfect, and we will always have bad days.

Grief changes children.  When our kids lost their daddies, much of their innocent, carefree childhoods died along with them.  We couldn’t change the circumstances.  So we decided to embrace them.

Come join us for the discussion.  We’d love to get your thoughts.  We can learn from each other.

Just because grief stinks doesn’t mean your child’s life has to.


Won’t you join us February in Dallas?  Please take a moment and register here.

register here


For more information, watch this video, and see you soon!

carmens video


4 replies
  1. Tori
    Tori says:

    I have just discovered this website tonight and this particular post really speaks to me. My husband passed away August 24, 2014 (almost 6 months ago). Telling my boys aged 8 and 5 (at the time) was even more heartbreaking than watching my husband breathe his last breath. And now it’s all the things that Daddy isn’t here for that continue to break my heart. My 8 year scored in his sports game this afternoon and Daddy wasn’t there. My now 6 year old got an excellence award at the school prize giving and Daddy wasn’t there. Gosh it’s so tough.

    • Nancy Howell
      Nancy Howell says:


      My heart breaks for you & your sons! I’ve been there. And I’d love to tell you it gets easier. But I think, for my boys, there will always be a void in their lives. Just this weekend, my 13 year old & I had a good cry, standing in the kitchen. He was readying for baseball practice. His dad always coached him. It’s tough stuff. All I can tell you us that God is there, right alongside you & your sons. He will supply you with strength you never thought possible on your own.
      For us, with no family geographically close by, I rely on male friends & Big Brothers to give the boys the extra testosterone boost when needed.
      But you are enough, sweet sister. As long as God’s beside you.
      So glad you found us here. This community of women is growing & we aren’t going anywhere.
      You and your sons are in my prayers.
      Blessings to you,


  2. starla birky
    starla birky says:

    i really enjoyed this blog! in April it will be 6yr since my husband passed away! i had a 11month old and was pregnat with my son which was born 6 weeks after my husbands death!!! my daughter now 6 and my son 5 watching them grow up with out there daddy has been so hard! this year my son greived his dad and it has been one of the toughest years as a young widow, to watch him try to figure out who this “daddy” is that we talk about!! my children have definatly had to grow up and are more mature in alot of areas that other children due to the path that God has called them to!! thanks for this blog!!

    • Nancy Howell
      Nancy Howell says:

      Starla, thank you for your sweet words. So glad our words touched you. The job of mother is the most important one we’ll ever have. As widows parenting young children, the responsibilities are daunting. Praise God for His filling in the gaps. Blessings to you and your children. ~Nancy

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