Speak Up, Show Up

A conversation about death, loss, and what you can really say and do to help grieving people.


Good Grief

“Hope was with us for 199 days and then she was gone.”

Nancy Guthrie has had to live through what many dread as the worst of all experiences of death – the death of her child. And she had to go through it twice.

“I had lots of questions. There were things I thought I understood about God that this brought to the surface – maybe I didn’t understand as much as I thought I did.”

As a Christian, Nancy turned to the Bible for answers. It wasn’t easy, but she eventually found herself in a place where she could believe that “somehow, [this experience] is going to accomplish God’s loving purposes for my life, and for my family”.

Then she fell pregnant again, unexpectedly.

“It felt like there were grey clouds gathering in the distant horizon that were getting ready to sweep through my life again,” she says.

Her son was diagnosed with Zellweger Syndrome, the same rare genetic disorder that had taken the life of her daughter, Hope, prematurely. Gabriel lived for 183 days.

“You have to make a decision about whether or not this grief is going to continue to define you, to be dominant, if you’re going to keep giving it a lot of power in your life, or if you’re going to be able to find a place for it in your life.”

In this episode, Nancy shares more of her story of loss, grief, and hope – and how she’s found a way to turn her pain into something helpful for others facing similar situations. She also gives great advice on how to really help grieving people.

First, speak up: “When you speak to them about the person they love who died … you didn’t make them sad, they’re already sad.”

And show up: “You remember who is willing to stop the busyness of their life to enter into that sorrow with you.”

For Nancy, it’s her faith that has shaped the way that she has been able to grieve well, and help others grieve well.

“Faith informs loss, but it doesn’t make loss hurt less by any means. So I would say what faith instilled in me [was] this sense that this loss wasn’t random or meaningless, and it filled me with a confidence that this life is not all there is.”