Navigating Grief Together

Posted by Beth Darling on Dec 8th 2023

Navigating Grief Together

Dear Friend,

I usually love writing to you; it's one of my favorite things. But today, I'm coming to you with a truly broken heart.

The past few weeks have been brutal for me as I mourn the loss of my beloved daughter, Kiya. Grief has been like a vice. It has changed me, and it's testing every relationship I have.

It’s commonly accepted that grief can be powerfully painful, but what’s often overlooked is how destructive it can be. And it can come from anywhere – losing a job, health issues, big life changes. It all counts. It’s unrealistic to think that it’s a solo trip, although it often feels like it. The reality is that great grief is pervasive. It overflows and affects everyone around. It has the power to make or break relationships.

I can already attest to how easy it is for grief to build walls that keep even those we hold most dear at bay. I’ve spent days sobbing alone on my couch, refusing all offers of companionship because it feels easier to be alone with my tears than to be witnessed. Worse, I’ve realized that giving the simplest response to kindness requires what feels like a herculean effort. I feel like I am drowning in pain, unable to acknowledge anything or anyone around me. Yet, there are moments when I am also terrified that I’m becoming a decimated island, totally cut off from others. It’s a catch-22 like I’ve never experienced.

But, I’ve also had glimmers of hope as I’ve seen grief become a bridge. It’s provided a way for people to get past issues that seemed huge, yet can’t compare to real tragedy. Sharing raw, unfiltered pain is not easy, certainly not pretty, but it creates emotional intimacy lickety-split. When acknowledged, it can build trust and a unique closeness you can't get any other way.

Yet, when both people in a relationship are suffering, it’s too much to expect them to be able to take care of each other. It's like trying to walk with two broken legs. Outside help is a necessity no matter how much one tries. We all need and deserve unfettered support so we can each grieve in our own way, without worry that we are hindering anyone else’s grief journey.

I’m finding grief to be horribly messy and unpredictable. It comes in sudden, uncontrollable waves with a consistent dangerous undertow ready to overpower me at any moment. I can only hope that if I stop fighting it (which is futile and exhausting) and learn to go with the flow when necessary, I will find my footing sooner than later. In the meanwhile, it’s my fervent wish that those who love me allow me the gift of time and the grace to forgive my inability to extend even the most basic of social niceties. It would be a huge gift if my relationships can strengthen through this terrible time. As a lifelong caregiver, it’s not easy to be on the receiving end of nurturing, yet I am trying to learn to appreciate it without imbuing it with a sense of obligation. I’ve never wanted to be an island unto myself, yet now I am forced to work hard to avoid it. In return, I’m already appreciating unexpected bonds and closeness.

I wanted to share my story with you because I know that the holidays often bring grief, both new and old, to the surface for lots of people. If you're one of them, please allow me to assure you that the best thing you can do for yourself and others is ask for help. Personally, I not only have my own 1:1 coach, but I’ve also joined a support group for mothers of children who have died by suicide. Expecting me to get through this alone would be foolhardy.

Here are some great free resources:

  1. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): They've got a helpline, support groups, and loads of resources. NAMI
  2. Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 988 for free, confidential, anonymous crisis and suicide prevention counseling, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Their National Helpline (1-800-662-HELP) is a confidential, free lifeline for finding treatment and support.

Sharing grief isn't weak. Seeking help, professional or otherwise, is a sign of strength. An expression of optimism, actually.

Even as I’m forced to continue this journey of grief, I can’t help but be amazed and grateful for the vast amount of love, kindness, and encouragement heaped upon me and my family. While it doesn’t overcome the grief, it does help make the journey less lonely.

So, please, whatever your relationship with grief is right now, reach out to someone for support, or to offer it. There’s no shortage of those in need of connection, even if they can’t express it. Also, know that even though I’m not likely to respond these days, you’re welcome to share your story with me anytime ( so I can send you virtual love while bearing silent witness to your journey.

In sorrow, but with love,



Suicide Loss Support Groups

  • Search for support groups nationally: support group locator
  • Houston Survivors of Suicide (SOS) Loss Support Groups (Locations: Galleria Area, Central Houston, Cypress, Katy, Pasadena, The Woodlands)
  • Survivors of Suicide Loss at Nick Finnegan Counseling Center (Houston)

Grief Support Groups

  • Alexander Jewish Family Service offers grief and loss related services including an online support group (Houston)
  • Bo’s Place offers ongoing grief groups (Houston)
  • GriefShare offers Christian time-limited grief support groups (global)
  • The Hope and Healing Center offers ongoing grief support groups (Houston)
  • Houston Hospice offers ongoing grief support groups (Houston)
  • Institute for Spirituality and Health offers an ongoing open bereavement group (Houston)Suicide Loss Resources
  • The Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors website has articles and forums, including a section focused on Suggestions for New Survivors
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has a section with resources for survivors of suicide.
  • The American Association of Suicidology
  • Suicide Prevention Resource CenterGrief Resources
  • After Talk – online grief support
  • Bo’s Place Resource Library - reading materials for kids and adults
  • Heal Grief – a social support network, including virtual support groups for young adults(18-30) and adults over 30.
  • Modern Loss – a compilation of candid personal articles about grief
  • What’s Your Grief – blog and online grief courses.Mental Health


  • Alexander Jewish Family Service (Houston) offers behavioral & mental health services
  • Bay Area Council on Drugs & Alcohol has mental health resources and reading suggestions
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: Central Texas and Greater Houston
  • Texas Suicide Prevention Toolkit
  • Trevor Project (LGBTQIA+ Young People)