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After losing someone close to us we are usually told about the five stages of grief and how each of them will show up. But grief often shows up differently for everyone, skipping and cycling through stages in unique ways.

My guest today is Sara Ward, and she knows a thing or two about grieving. After unexpectedly losing her father to a heart problem as a teenager, her 9-month-old adopted son was diagnosed with a rare and terminal disease and given a very short time to live.

Instead of choosing to focus only on the hardships of grief, Sara committed to looking for unexpected gifts in her journey. Since then, she’s written a book titled, Made for Hope: Discovering Unexpected Gifts in Brokenness, which is aimed at helping others navigate their grief journey. She’s sharing her story on how community, faith, hope, and gratitude got her through some of the hardest challenges of life.

This episode is perfect for anyone who’s in the thick of their grief journey or knows someone who is to feel less alone in this very difficult season of life.

Key Takeaways with Sara Ward

  • Processing grief as a child or teenager
  • Dealing with a sudden and unexpected loss
  • How the stages of grief are unique for everyone
  • The anticipatory grief that comes with terminal illnesses
  • Seeking help through grief groups
  • The importance of rest for caregivers
  • Leaning on faith & community
  • When parents have different coping mechanisms
  • Feeling guilt after the loss of a child
  • Focusing on the blessings in the midst of pain

Sara Ward Tweetables

  • “Grief is always with you. You learn to find a place of joy again in your life but you always carry that little bit of sorrow with you in your life.” – Sara Ward
  • “The exhaustion and burnout from being a 24/7 caregiver wears you down. So take those moments when someone volunteers to get those little bits of rest so you can go back to loving that child well.” – Sara Ward
  • “Understand that how you process things like grief might be different from your spouse. Giving them the space to process things differently is so important.” – Sara Ward
  • “You get stronger and you carry the grief more easily. It doesn’t mean the grief’s diminished.” – Jamie Freedlund
  • “The pain of life will take away all of your joy if you let it, so you have to be super intentional about focusing on the joy, the gratitude, the blessings, even in the midst of pain.” – Sara Ward
  • “People don’t want to be forgotten: however you choose to acknowledge them and their pain, it will be meaningful to them.” – Sara Ward


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