I was at a gas station a few mornings ago, in Holt, Florida. The sun was shining. I sat on my tailgate, eating a honey bun. My father liked honey buns.


This morning, my sister and I made the decision to have our mama taken off of life support. It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made. She’s my best friend and the most self-sacrificing mother. I only hope I can be half the mother she was.

I was wondering if you could write something about grieving?

Thanks so much,


I was at a gas station a few mornings ago, in Holt, Florida. The sun was shining. I sat on my tailgate, eating a honey bun.

My father liked honey buns. I never cared for them when he was alive. Everything changed when he died. I changed.

Two weeks after his death, I walked to the service station a few miles up the road. I was twelve. On the walk, I kicked dust. I hummed to myself. I felt guilty for not sitting in my bedroom and crying.

That’s grief. You feel guilty for doing things other than crying.

I had a pocketful of cash. I wanted to spend it and be happy. I wanted to smile—even if only for a few seconds.

I bought Coke and salted peanuts. Something came over me when I saw the honey buns. I bought nearly every one in the display box —$.35 per bun.

I carried them all home and never ate a single bun. I couldn’t bring myself to.

Until the other day, I hadn’t tasted a honey bun in years. Usually, when I walk into a gas station, I’ll only glance at the mass-produced pastries, then walk on by.

But a few days ago, when I wandered into the mini-mart to use the little cowboy’s room, I saw them. A big cardboard case. $1.69 per bun.

Inflation has really done a number on honey buns.

I bought one.

It was impulsive. I haven’t bought a honey bun since age twelve. I peeled the plastic. The thing tasted like a lump of cardboard that had been left underneath a kitchen sink. It was exquisite.

And I grieved. I didn’t cry. I wasn’t sad. I smiled and looked at the sky. Grieving isn’t all tears and sleeplessness, you know. As a matter of fact, after enough time passes, grieving can feel pretty damn good.

It did that day.

A woman wrote me a few weeks ago. Her name was Scotty. Here’s what Scotty said:

“Sean, you dwell WAY too much on your late father and his death… You’ve about slung all the sympathy out of it. Maybe it’s time you let it go.”

Let it go, she says.

Well, I have no insight on grief. But I do know enough to tell you that it doesn’t work that way. I’m a grown man, I have grieved all my adult life. It is a piece of me, a limb on my body.

I don’t want to let it go. Not now, not ever. Not even if Scotty is sick of reading about it. I didn’t write this for her.

I wrote this for a twelve-year-old boy. For anyone who misses a loved one so bad they’ve lost weight. For you. For your mama—God rest her soul.

And for a man who used to like honeybuns.


  1. Pat - August 14, 2017 1:22 pm

    I read this somewhere, and find it true;
    “grief in me is a kingdom”.

    • Leslie - August 14, 2017 4:02 pm

      I lost my husband 22 years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. That grief is part of who I am today. He is part of who I am. Thank you for your story.

  2. Laura - August 14, 2017 1:26 pm

    Sean, I too grieve daily but not in traditional ways. This daily reading spoke to me. See, my ex-husband and son’s father committed suicide on Halloween last year. Halloween, of all days! He was my ex but we were close friends, co-parents, ex-partners in crime. He was a deeply flawed man. But he was my friend. I grieve him more than his widow and much more than I ever thought I would. I don’t cry daily. I grieve when I think of a funny story or joke we shared and no one else got. I grieve when I watch our son at football practice for the first time ever. I grieve when I drive his truck that is now mine. I grieve when I talk to his mother who is struggling so hard to come to grips with his senseless and tragic exit. I also grieve when I lay down at night and replay that awful, awful night it all happened.

    Grief is healthy and I am getting accepting it. I will never be over it. No one ever is. It’s all in how you face it.

    Thank you for your words. I look forward to them each morning. They always make me smile, think, and reflect.

    Taylors, SC

    • Mary Hauth - September 28, 2017 4:47 pm

      My situation is not the same as yours, but I have similar feelings. I lost my husband 16 years ago to heart failure as a result of a minor motorcycle accident, alcohol and tobacco use,sleep apnea, and being overweight and too sedentary. I always felt it was just a matter of time before this happened. It really hits me hard when I am trying to remember something that only he and I would know, or when an ‘inside joke’ pops up and there is no one to share it with. I miss him every day.

    • Kathryn - January 11, 2019 2:05 pm

      Grief is the price we pay for loving, and it’s always there, sneaking up on you when you least expect it. Keep eating those honey buns, Sean, whatever works for you, do it.

  3. Al - August 14, 2017 1:26 pm

    Sean: I am 68 and my Dad’s been dead 30 years. When we talked he would always say “send money”. Even now, I wish I could.

  4. Catherine - August 14, 2017 1:34 pm

    Grief. You may not think about for weeks, months, years even. Then it will come in waves, triggered by something as small as a honey bun. Grief never truly leaves when you love someone, it just takes a break from your every day world. I enjoy thinking about my parents and still grieve that I cannot hug them one more time, even after 36 and 21 years. Thank you Sean for this story.

  5. Jo Ann - August 14, 2017 1:34 pm

    You are correct, Sean. Grief doesn’t work that way. It’s a permanent part of us, an adjective to our life story. My son died 19 years ago. I will always be a grieving parent, period. I accept it, I live with it, but it’s always there. It means we were lucky enough to have loved.

  6. Mary Leach - August 14, 2017 1:37 pm

    I am a new blogger on WordPress and your blog came up one I might enjoy. Regarding Scotty, I am not looking forward to the unsolicited advice that will surely come my way!
    I love, love, loved your post apologizing to women. I wanted to send it to every woman I know.
    But this today on Grieving, well it was just so beautiful. Simple, sincere words for a subject that everyone will struggle with eventually. I love the idea of it being a limb, now just a part of who you are. Beautifully expressed.
    Thank you for sharing your voice with us! I look forward to reading more by you.

    Mary Leach

  7. Roxanne - August 14, 2017 1:38 pm

    My Granny died when I was 16. She would be over 100 years old, but I still wish she knew my kids. Years still grip me at odd times–read now–and I let them fall. There is no expiration date on love. And that is what grief is. You have grown, married, built a life…and your Daddy is as woven into your DNA in his absence as he would have been in his presence. Keep telling us about him and you and your niece and your lovely wife and your dog. It’s all love. And that’s all you need.

    • Jayne - August 14, 2017 4:52 pm

      “There is no expiration date on love.” That speaks to me. Thanks for saying it.

  8. Todd Bonin - August 14, 2017 1:45 pm

    Thank you for addressing that recent comment by Scotty. I had read it and was feeling really badly. You see this past week was the five-year anniversary of my brother’s cancer diagnosis. He only lasted a few months … and I still grieve so much. When I read that comment I felt really ashamed and just bottled up my pain. Your reply was comforting. I still don’t know why people feel free to be mean on the Internet, when they have the power to do so much more damage from the security of their little screens. Anyway, thanks for helping me not feel so ashamed.

  9. Susan - August 14, 2017 1:46 pm

    My daddy was an auto mechanic, a good one too. My husband and I went to pick the car up after an oil change and the smell of that shop brought waves of grief pouring over me like a monsoon. I sat right there in that shop and cried like a baby because I wanted to smell the oil, grease and Gojo on my daddy again. I want to tell him about the grandbabies, the garden, my big bass I caught, and more than anything I want to tell him I love him and appreciate all the sacrifices he made for us. I will let my grief go as soon as I enter The Pearly Gates and see my daddy again.

  10. steven - August 14, 2017 1:55 pm

    Good stuff. Thank you for doing what you do.

  11. Shirley J Brown - August 14, 2017 1:56 pm

    That’s a love that grief just doesn’t know how to handle. God gives us strength to get through a lot that life throws at us, but deep love will live within us as long as we have breath in our body. We adjust, we live, we laugh but we never lose the memories and the love for those few special people God hand picked to be a part of our lives. I can live that but I don’t think life would be as interesting if I found a way to live without the grief.

  12. Jennifer Moon - August 14, 2017 1:58 pm

    Apparently, Scotty has never lost someone or maybe she has a heart of stone. We should all probably pray for her.

  13. Margaret Scott - August 14, 2017 2:02 pm

    My mother went to her reward almost 2 years ago having had at least 2 strokes, one in my presence. I manage my grief by caring for my father to whom she had been married for 63 years. Her careful parenting guides my behavior to this day and I am almost 64 years old, having been born 13 days before their first anniversary. Even at the age of 80, she was a dynamic force in her community and her church and is widely missed.

  14. Anne - August 14, 2017 2:05 pm

    Thanks for this and for every other day you touch our hearts.
    Grief is the scar left from the exquisite pain of loss.

  15. Esteban Rudman - August 14, 2017 2:06 pm

    Grief is a process of feeling and expressing in words and actions our reaction to loss. Without grief, life is cheapened. We become Bic pens, thrown in the trash when used up. Like everything good, sex and love for example, it can morph into something unwholesome– a sick depression in which life for the grieving person becomes desolate, meaningless, and hopeless. How does one tell if grief is good or bad? By its fruit. If it affirms life and enriches it, as it has your life, Sean, it is the good kind. When I relate to your comments about your Dad, I am reminded of my own losses and have to work through some complicated stuff. This is a good thing, as it makes me appreciate life and my loved ones even more. Keep doing what you do. And thanks.

  16. Martha - August 14, 2017 2:11 pm

    Love. Again…

  17. Mishelle Camino - August 14, 2017 2:18 pm

    Beautifully said. As for Scotty or anyone else who doesn’t like what you write…Why do you keep reading? Let it Go and move on Scotty!!!!

  18. Sherry - August 14, 2017 2:20 pm

    Sean, thank you. I understand my grief for my parents…that’s “Mama and Daddy”…I will always miss them and often weep. But I struggle with the grief for my brother and sister. I lost them both, at the same time last year and I don’t know how to describe this…part of me is missing! If I were a writer, I would encourage Scotty to unsubscribe…I will be dealing with these missing limbs for many years…maybe for always. It was always the three of us…what do I do now? But I have learned to talk, laugh and remember them and not always through tears. I want to savor all of those feelings, and even those tears, and feel no guilt. I loved my brother and sister, my best friends, so much…I will continue to always talk, maybe even write,about them…no apologies!

  19. Connie - August 14, 2017 2:22 pm

    There’s no time limit on grief. Anyone who thinks there is has never truly felt loss. God bless you for always writing what’s in your heart. Whether it’s about sadness or joy, you bring it to life and make it easier to bear.

  20. Anne - August 14, 2017 2:34 pm


    I don’t think that you talk about grief or grieving too much. My mother lost her mother in 1990. She thinks about her every day. She doesn’t cry. She isn’t sad, but her mother is in her heart and on her mind every day. I don’t find your columns sad, although they frequently make me cry.

    I look for your column in my inbox every day. Your message is always good and your writing is great. Keep it up.


  21. Linda - August 14, 2017 2:58 pm

    Lost my mom in 1982 and still have days that I’d love to talk to her. Still grieve at times like her death was just yesterday.

  22. Jack Quanstrum - August 14, 2017 3:03 pm

    Your story is so full of Godly Wisdom! You have written on the subject of grief that a paster, priest, Psychologist, or Pychciatrist could not explain in such a understanding way.Thank you for your beautiful and wonderful explanation. In my lowly estimation skin sheds but the heart doesn’t. All our experiences stay with us. Thank God they do, for they influence the type of person we are. That’s why your stories are so profound. What you talk about can’t be found except in the past experiences that mold you. Everybodies trauma at the basement level or foundation is unique and is unlike any others. Because each one of us was uniquely created . No two snow flakes or fingerprints are the same. That’s what gives each and everyone value. That’s something I get from the stories you write or speak about. That’s why what you say has value and pertinence to each every one of us. And you value us in the same way. Shalom!

  23. Bobbie - August 14, 2017 3:03 pm

    THANK YOU….from the bottom of my heart, to the very top!

  24. Lynn - August 14, 2017 3:22 pm

    Love! And a good one for me to read today as its the 4th anniversary of my husband’s death. It’s a donut day for us. Donuts because life without that loved one is like a donut, there’s a hole in the middle of your heart. So on the milestone days my son ( who was only 10 when his daddy died) and I remember my husband/his daddy with donuts. The last donut day, which was my husband’s birthday, my son picked a creme filled donut that had a Walmart looking smiley face all over it. I think that said a lot right there. He misses his father so much but that smile leaked out. He’s ok and there still is life to experience, amidst the tough days. But I understand . I just was wondering why my husband didn’t get to experience more awesome days, like I just had this past summer on my hiking and camping trips. And when I catch myself enjoying something a lot like my summer trips, I feel like I shouldn’t be.

  25. Sandra Marrar - August 14, 2017 3:22 pm

    It’s been a hard couple of days…grieving does that to a person.

  26. Norma - August 14, 2017 3:50 pm

    And you wrote it for me…the lady who lost her son when he was 21. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  27. Melodie - August 14, 2017 4:03 pm

    ….and, for me, as well. I grieve daily, but like you, not always gloom and doom. Everyone has their own way of grieving. I just feel Blessed I had all those loved ones in my life. I’ve spoken the exact words of, ‘Grieving for Mama.’ I’m the last one left in my family, so, naturally, it’s going to be sad, at times. Thank you for your inspirational writings. I swear, every one of them pertains to me. It’s kind of like when you haven’t attended church in a long time, and when you do go, you just know the sermon being preached, is intentionally, directed at YOU! 😉

  28. Jo - August 14, 2017 4:08 pm

    “Death ends a life, not a relationship.”
    From Tuesday’s with Morrie by Mitch Albom

  29. Karen - August 14, 2017 4:22 pm

    I was 12 when my father died and six weeks later my brother died. That was 45 years ago. Grief is always present. I have people tell me you just need to move on or you should be over this by now. Really? What does that even mean? The ending of their lives forever changed mine and living without them is HARD. A big part of me is missing!On most days the grief doesn’t result in tears. But sometimes the tears come out of the blue – by hearing a song, watching the Braves play baseball, or the smell of boiled peanuts. Most days the grief is just sweet, sweet memories.
    I’m so sorry you have to go on without your mom. You have my deepest sympathy. It will be hard, but time is your friend. One day at a time, one step at a time, and you will find the tears don’t come as often and the memories are sweeter.

  30. Trudy :) - August 14, 2017 4:24 pm

    How interesting you’d write about grief, today. I live with grief every day of my life….about my parents (’97 and ’01) and my husband whom I refer to as “my Beloved” (’11). All three enjoyed lemon pie. I didn’t care that much for lemon pie; cherry had always been my favorite. On their birthdays I eat a piece of lemon pie to celebrate their living. Each of their deaths threw a bitter lemon into my life. As the saying goes, “When life throws you lemons, make lemonade,” in my case it’s lemon pie.
    Thank you, Sean, for your sensitivity and insight.

  31. Dolores Fort - August 14, 2017 4:59 pm

    Thank you, Sean, you are so right! You don’t “get over” grief. You work through it, live with it every day, but you go on with life. I will never forget the love of my life. I don’t want to “get over” missing him, because he was, and still is, so very important to me! And I will continue to live day by day doing what he wanted me to do. And I’ll remember while I’m doing all that.

  32. Debbie Galladora - August 14, 2017 6:00 pm

    I am 64 years old. I miss my Mom and Dad terribly…

  33. Kris - August 14, 2017 6:09 pm

    Sean…my wife took her last breath on May 31 of this year. Her body couldn’t overcome the cancer. She was just 39. Being 2 months into this, the roller coaster of emotions that myself and daughters have are sometimes unbearable. As I tell them we will grieve forever but we have somehow find the joy within our grief. So we talk about memories of Mom that make us smile and hold those close to us. She had a friend write this about her…A southern bell with sometimes a foul mouth, who used cloth napkins and drank beer from a can. That’s my wife, mother to my daughters and we miss her so much.
    Kris-Auburn, Al

    • Melanie Tighe - August 15, 2017 1:41 am

      I am so sorry for your loss.

  34. Elaine - August 14, 2017 6:09 pm

    You are “right on” with this story. Grief has no expiration date. Only those who grieve deeply understand this. If we live long enough, most of us will know this before we leave this earth. Loss changes us. We are never the same.

  35. Laura Young - August 14, 2017 6:44 pm

    I’ve been a nurse all my life- well since age 3 when my Mother was pregnant with my brother and throwing up all the time. I took care of her to start a long nursing career. In my life I have seen more grief in families of patients than I even want to think about. I have also lost both sets of grandparents, two brothers to a drowning accident, a father, numerous other relatives and friends I loved, dogs dear to my heart and cats who filled a void when I lost my husband in divorce. I have grieved for them all- families of patients whom I never knew (some arrived DOA in the ER but families followed to hear the bad news), families of patients I have cared for and loved over many months, a father like no other that ever existed (Yes, I am prejudiced about that), brothers I didn’t have enough time with, pets who were like children, and even the divorced husband (you can grieve loss even when someone does not die- it might even be worse since the wound is re-opened at times after the divorce and rekindles the grief once more). What I know is that everyone grieves differently and that, though time might lesson the depth of grief, it does not take it away. Comfort may come from hugs, talking, praying, crying, or even eating something a departed loved one enjoyed. And what is good for one is not for another, and what works at one time for you may not next time- there are too many emotions that are all linked differently to different people. Trying to rush someone or guilt someone into “letting it go” or “being strong” often makes it worse. I remember when my brothers died that a relative told me as I grieved, extremely distressed at the loss of the young boys, that I should buck up and be strong for my parents. It left me feeling not only sad, depressed at their death, but also ashamed I must be weak and uncaring to not put aside my grief for my folks. I became inconsolable until a doctor friend came to see me, sat on the bed beside me and cried with me. Later when I thanked him because it had helped me so much, he said “How many times have you cried when a patient has died and you hardly knew the family you cried with? Knowing you and how you loved your family, I felt your grief.” Our grief is personal and no one should ever tell us how or how long we should grieve.

  36. Carolyn Huggins - August 14, 2017 8:20 pm

    Apparently “Scotty” hasn’t lost anyone she’s loved. I’ve lost 8 in the last 2 years…and I lost my mother when I was only 3 years old. I’ve read many things about grief, but this one is the one that touched me the deepest:
    “I believe the hardest part of healing after you’ve lost someone you love, is to recover the “you” that went away with them.” (not sure, but think that is by the Christian speaker Chondra…and I can’t think of her last name)
    When one loses a parent, as a child…their is a hole in your heart that remains your entire life time.. You only had one father…you write about him as much and as many times as you please!

    • theholtgirls - June 5, 2018 2:01 pm

      I believe the hardest part of healing after you’ve lost someone you love, is to recover the “you” that went away with them. – Chonda Pierce


  37. Mary C - August 14, 2017 8:22 pm

    I lost my entire family by the age of 35. You never get over loss. You just learn to live with it as each day passes.

  38. paula jones - August 14, 2017 8:30 pm

    Absolutely perfect.

  39. Mary Crenshaw - August 14, 2017 9:20 pm

    i lost my youngest son, on 9-11-95, in a car accident caused by a drunk. Let me assure you, there is no and never will be a time limit on grieving the loss of someone important to you and your life. My heart-beat as gotten easier but will never recover. If someone thinks “I’ve about slung the sympathy out of it” when i remember him, well…being a southern lady, I’ll just say “Walk away fool and stop listening.” But sometimes I’m just not a southern lady I say “Kiss my…I think you get the jist.

  40. Linda acres - August 14, 2017 9:25 pm

    You’re absolutely right about grief Sean, it never leaves.

  41. Deborah Bundy - August 14, 2017 10:53 pm

    I’m sharing this because I have many friends struggling with grief. Thank you for putting things in perspective.

  42. John Jay - August 14, 2017 11:03 pm

    Sean, Don’t worry about the lady that says you talk too much about your father and his passing, she needs to go to a cardiologist, obviously she has a problem with her heart. Pray for her! This Christmas eve 46 years ago my father died in my arms at the local hospital from a massive heart attack! I still grieve for him, he was my hero, my best friend, my teacher, my coach, and the best example I ever had to follow….it would be totally wrong to stop loving him, and I think that’s what grief really is, loving someone we know we won’t see for a while. Now some people will think I’m a primitive, a half wit, and any number of adjectives that might describe me as someone that isn’t one of the intellectual elite, but I believe with all my heart I’ll see my daddy someday, my mamma to, but in the meantime, sometimes I’m be lucky enough to grieve for them. Lord I am Blessed, and so are you.

  43. Billy Joe Nunn - August 15, 2017 12:18 am

    Sean, it has been good to meet you at the Jazz Society at the Place. When I read the comment about you should let your father’s death go, I can’t help but think that can’t happen. I lost my son who died at the age of 33. I found him 4 days dead. Someone wants you to forget that? Are you kidding me? Sure the world keeps turning, but forget a tragic experience like that? Not hardly. I guess the point is to not let it turn you sour. We will never understand a Master Plan and in fact there may not be one. But we can understand that there is good, there are a lot of good people out there. There is no better feeling that knowing you caused someone to really have an adrenaline pump that comes with something good that happened or a good memory or seeing a good caring act or deed. Keep the good uplifting stories coming.

  44. Bobby Hamil - August 15, 2017 12:37 am

    I love honey buns, as well as peanuts in a coke bottle. That’s why I like your columns. I’ve been on this planet soon to be 64 years, with my most cherished years spent in the Deep South, where I currently reside. Most all your columns trigger some fond memory. Keep ’em a comin’.

  45. Melanie Tighe - August 15, 2017 1:37 am

    Grief never leaves you. Ever.

  46. Alice - August 15, 2017 11:49 am

    I love your stories Sean that lady has no business saying that!she is clueless!God Bless you thank you for writing such heartwarming stories your forever fan Alice

  47. Julianna Farmer - August 15, 2017 12:42 pm

    Agreed. You have an outlet, you should be able to speak of your daddy. Not for pity, but to keep remembering his whole person. You are anything but pitiful, sir.

  48. jamie - August 15, 2017 1:08 pm

    Each person handles grief differently. I started a list of those close to me who died in the late 1980’s. The AIDS epidemic was in full swing and I was caught up in the middle of it all. I stopped adding to that paper when I passed the 50 mark in the early 1990’s. 1992 was the watershed year when it seemed there was a funeral or memorial service to attend weekly. It is really painful to reread my journals from that time. Witnessing my friends and partner die horrible deaths in the prime of their lives amid hatred and ignorance at the time has forever changed me. I think I physically survived the plague unscathed to keep the memory of those friends alive. If talking and writing about those who are gone is considered excessive greiving, I guess I’m also guilty of that crime.

  49. Debbie - August 15, 2017 1:37 pm

    Grief…I’m so glad to have learned that our grief doesn’t go away we build our life around it…missing my mom, dad and sissy…

  50. Katy - August 15, 2017 1:53 pm

    Once, again, you have hit the nail on the head. Grieving is a process and we all do it differently. I still grieve my grandfathers who I lost (both of them) in November of 1993. Thank you for taking a complicated topic and simplifying it so eloquently.
    Blessing to you ~

  51. Wanda - August 15, 2017 10:08 pm

    Sean, keep on keeping on! There is not a time limit for grief, there is not a right way nor is there a wrong way to grieve. There is only what is right for the particular individual going through their own journey of loss. A play for sympathy, I think not. When you have loved deeply as I know I have, the grief Never goes away, it changes. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  52. Sandra - August 16, 2017 4:28 pm

    Sean, I lost my dad when I was 13. I know what you mean about grief. His death changed my life. I have never been the same. Do you know the poet John Donne? He wrote several of my favorite poems. One, “Death Be Not Proud” is very famous and reflects on the Christian view of eternal life. It’s been a fav of mine since I was a teenager who read and wrote about death because I lived with death daily once my father was gone. Donne’s other poem “Valadiction Forbiding Mourning”, is about love. Donne compares love to a protractor with its point firmly planted in the center of one’s soul and the arm swinging out in a perfect circle around the point. That’s my grief for my dad. His death 57 years ago is the center and I am always connected to that loss. Yes, now the grief is different and I,too, can have honeybun memories, but I never can be free of it as Scotty suggested for it is the center of who I am. I was drawn to your writing long before I knew of your loss. Your loss has given you a great voice. I love your compassion for those around you who suffer, those who have been altered by some great loss, and for everyday heroes. Thank you for your heart.

  53. E M Dickison - August 17, 2017 3:18 am

    I am grieving today for a friend I lost earlier this week. I worked with her husband for 13 yrs. and we all became friends. It saddens me for his loss and his hesitancy in communication. I lost his phone number and can’t call and am waiting for him to respond to my request for his #. it’s important for me to hear his voice and see how he is doing. This article spoke to me. i will wait for him to be ready to talk.

  54. Lucretia - August 18, 2017 6:27 am

    Grief is a part of living. Yes, I think it is a part of our life experience. Thank you Sean.

  55. Mickey - August 22, 2017 7:22 pm

    I’m not very good at sharing personal feelings, I guess I’m always expected to be the strong one. I have been grieving my grandfather’s death since 1986, not always tears, sometimes with a smile.
    This year, between the end of April and the middle of June, I lost a sister-in-law, an uncle, my father and my father-in-law. I will grieve their deaths (in private) until I to shall pass from this life.
    Grief is now a part of who I am.

  56. Pamela McEachern - August 25, 2017 6:44 am

    I am a cry baby, I don’t know when it happened but I promise you grief has been a part of me for most of my life. I aquaint it to the same action as taking a breath, it’s not a measurement of how long but to me how deeply I have loved. I don’t need approval or disapproval to feel it. I am a better person when I respect it, be it your’s or mine. Peace

  57. Vanda Porter Lee - September 28, 2017 10:37 am

    Green peas & maple nut goodies = my daddy who passed away from cancer 19 yrs ago. Stevie Ray Vaughn songs = my fiance who I lost in a car accident in ’87. I love these triggers, they make me smile & appreciate the time & love I shared with them. My momma & I canned beets this spring & throughout the process she told stories of how Maw maw canned & that mom’s job was to wipe the rim of the jars for a good seal. A wonderful memory that made another memory for me to relish when momma is no longer with me. It’s a wonderful comfort that never leaves. I love your stories….they trigger good thoughts of the ones I currently love, the experiences I’ve survived & the ones whom I’ve lost…keep them coming.

    • Pamela McEachern - September 28, 2017 3:19 pm

      That is exactly how I feel too, thank you for putting it in such a beautiful tribute. God Bless!

  58. Pam Schwartz - September 28, 2017 11:33 am

    I just lost my father this past Saturday. How touching you would reach out to me through your writing, touch my heart, and let me know my grief will ease in time. And most important of all it is ok not to cry all the time.

  59. Judy - September 28, 2017 11:58 am

    It was a year ago September 2. I got the call from the doctor – that if I wanted my Mama to pass away at home, I needed to get moving. I had no idea that I was to lose my Mama that day. I shifted into power drive and with the help of my husband, brother and the doctor…we got her into the same bed my Daddy passed away in 3 years earlier. She left us within hours. It had been a hard and emotional struggle that led up to my sweet Mama’s passing. I sobbed dirty tears. Then I washed my face and found I couldn’t cry for months. That is my grief. Each of our grief is expressed differently.
    My Mama was my best friend as a teenager and as a young mother. She was my prayer warrior. She was a huge part of molding me into the person I am today – especially the good parts. I don’t see me not missing her … not grieving for her … ever. And that is OK. Grief shows how much you care. And we are created to care.

  60. Joyce Crook - September 28, 2017 12:06 pm

    People who truly care about you want to share your feelings and your grief. I think you are a great writer who speaks from his heart. Don’t change. Ignore negative comments.

  61. Janet - Valrico, FL - September 28, 2017 1:12 pm

    I’ve lost my mother and father. Think about them often, smiling at the memories, wishing I had just one more day. They both lived long, inspiring lives. I lost my sister unexpectedly 2 years ago in October. I think about her everyday, the grief of loosing a sibling, has far outweighed loosing my mom and dad. Their deaths were expected. It was their time. He was 89 and she was 75. My sister was 55, so much time we lost being so different. We had just began to realize the value of sisterhood, this grief overwhelms me some days. So for Scottie, I hope she understands, grief doesn’t have an on and off switch. It comes at times when you’re living your life, and not even thinking about it. To the young lady who asked you to write about grief, my heart goes out to your family, may you find peace in the memories of the wonderful woman your mother has been.

  62. Jimmie Roberson - September 28, 2017 1:56 pm

    “Grieving isn’t all tears and sleeplessness, you know”. Your words immediately sent me back fourteen years ago to the September Sunday afternoon after Dave, my thirty one year old son had died suddenly. Friends and family were sitting on the deck and Steve, his best friend since seventh grade, began to tell us all the hilarious escapades they’d pulled off in high school and beyond. One involving an old car and Old Hickory Lake. We laughed so long and loudly I wondered what must the neighbors be thinking of us. Steve’s humorous stories have become a loving memory during an incredibly devastating loss. The grief never goes away.

  63. Deborah Norris Collins, Pensacola, FL - September 28, 2017 3:15 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I was 8 years old when our Pastor and his wife came to our house to tell my grandmother that my grandfather had died at work. He was my life. My mother said that he cried when I was born. I have a picture of him sitting in his chair with his feet on a stool reading his Bible. That picture is on the table next to my chair and I have my feet on that same stool. Every time that my mother and I talked about him we both would shed tears. There are many other people that I love that have died including my parents, but nothing will ever equal the grief that I experience when I think about my grandfather. It always takes me back to being an 8 year old little girl. Thank you for your writings, for your music, and for your heart.

  64. Patti Yelverton - September 28, 2017 3:40 pm

    I lost my mother December 17,2016… this week for the first time I have been mad at her! She left my 45 year old mentally ill brother for my sister and myself to take care of… what a handfull!!! But I sure do miss that woman… she loved college football and we always talked during MS STATE games and when BAMA played… she pronounced Alabama with er on the end ! ALABAMER!!! Don’t know why but she always did! Anyway I love reading stories about your dad! I lost my dad 14 years ago! So keep em coming! Great writing my friend!

  65. Donna - September 28, 2017 3:51 pm

    After my husband of 38 years died, I struggled to find peace in the midst of the grief. I read these words by Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy “It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” Thank you for your words…

  66. Lovie - September 28, 2017 4:07 pm

    Ben Hall….16 years old….first child,….only son…..big brother….born on our third anniversary….killed in a car accident in front of his high school….I will grieve until the very second I take my last breath on this earth…and draw my first breath in Heaven…I hope you eat many more honey buns Sean!

  67. Lisa - September 28, 2017 5:04 pm

    Grief is an ever present page in my story.

  68. Dianne - September 28, 2017 5:26 pm

    I enjoyed that. I’m glad that grief never goes away. Grief can be comforting in a strange way, it’s a reminder of that one we loved and brings back so many memories. It’s just part of our day to day life and I like my life.

  69. Sarah - September 29, 2017 12:57 am

    My dad died when I was 11 and my mom died just last year. I think child grief plays out differently than adult grief – especially when the thought torments me that now I’m an orphan, that a huge part of my history is lost to me, that early memories are not easily remembered thanks to mom’s memory. I think I have grieved more for my dad this year than I have in a long time. I have found that there are cycles to grief, some more intense than others. I was so thankful growing up knowing the Father of the fatherless. Now I just sometimes feel lost. I still know and trust and rest in my Father’s love and plan for me, but there is a kind of emptiness in my life that I honestly hadn’t fully experienced before.

  70. Susan Buckelew - January 2, 2018 9:49 am

    Thanks Sean for your insight. Grief can either consume you or accompany you as you go about living the new normal. I lost a son 4 years ago to a drug related suicide. My ex husband let me find out in a FB post. Please dear readers, don’t do that to someone. If the mother hasn’t posted something, call her personally.

    I was able to work, only because it was almost automatic. In every other part of my life, I was nearly a zombie. Thank God I had amazing friends who insisted I go out to dinner and go places. Eventually, I could let grief remind me of what I loved. Now I am in the season of realizeing what he missed and his siblings seem to be in a similar stage of grieving. The birthdays, new babies, holidays, vacations happen without him.

    My mama also lost a son. Our brother died when I was 15. Mama told me, “ you don’t get over it, you just get on with living”. Now, I find myself smiling over funny things I remember and thanking God this kid was a part of my life. Grief turns into little ceremonial honors. I go to basketball games at the high school for unknown kids, because my son loved the game.

    The suicide part is still hard to sort out. Either I’ll come to understand, or my son can help me understand once I’m on the other side.

    Thanks Sean for keeping us honest.

  71. Eunice Anne Fowler - January 2, 2018 12:30 pm

    My son commited suicide. I loved my son with every fiber, every breath. Grief is the price you pay for loving. Therefore I will never stop grieving…… no, you don’t turn it loose. You don’t move on. You learn to walk beside it….

  72. Booker - January 4, 2018 1:54 am

    I suspect that Scotty has deep grief of her own, amd has been told to bottle it up, instead of making others uncomfortable by being real about it.

    I’m still grieving for my dad and little sister, who both died a couple of years ago, just a few montha apart. This weekend is the anniverary of my sister’s death, and it is hitting me pretty hard about now. She took her own life, and I constantly wonder if there was something I could have said or done to turn her aside from that choice.

    Thank you for being a voice of compassion. I don’t ever want to forget my loved ones, or “let it go,” because the people who love us shape who we become. They’ll always be a part of me, and there will always be an ache for all the things I’m no longer able to share with them.

  73. Carolyn K - January 11, 2019 11:47 am


  74. Grace Slagle - January 11, 2019 12:03 pm

    I lost my father in 2001 3 weeks before his birthday and also mine. Our birthdays was 3 days apart but we celebrated together as I got older on the nearest weekend of them. My birthday has never been the same since because I’m missing that time.. I miss him everyday and grieve everyday. No I don’t cry but I think of something and I grieve even if it’s for a few seconds or a while longer. I’m never going to let memories of my father go. I wouldn’t even try . So for the lady that says let it go. It ain’t gonna happen .

  75. Nona Martin Stuck - January 11, 2019 2:06 pm

    Sean, in 2000, I lost my mother and my 16 year old daughter six months apart, my mom in February, Ella in August. That year was, in many ways, a crash course in grief. I learned things I never wanted to know, but which have changed me forever. Grief is not something you try on for a while, then discard. For me, it has been more like a tattoo, so painful in the beginning but, slowly, slowly, becoming a part of you, of your new reality. It is a permanent reminder of the people you love, and will live in your heart and memories forever.

  76. Helen Allen - January 11, 2019 2:29 pm

    Dear Sean, this about grief was just what I needed this morning. It sure hits home for me. Thank you for putting into words what some of us feel in our hearts. God bless you,

  77. Steve Blackmon - January 11, 2019 2:35 pm

    As a Christian 63-year old guy, I have been through the deaths of both of my parents and both of my in-laws. I was by my mother’s side when she breathed her last and slipped into eternity. Through all of this, God has taught me that death is not something that happens TO life, stopping it in its tracks. No, physical death happens IN life, simply changing it from the physical realm we know into the eternal spiritual realm of God’s creation. Our traditional words of sympathy are, “I’m sorry for your loss”. I choose to believe otherwise. When you lose something, you don’t know where it is. I know right where my parents and in-laws are, where I can, and will, find them. They are in Heaven. I may not physically have them with me here, but they are not “lost”. I miss them….terribly at times, but that is just temporary.

    My keys……now that’s another matter entirely.

  78. Anthony Posey - January 11, 2019 3:12 pm

    Yesterday I spend some time at a tire shop. The smell of a tire shop reminds me of my Dad.

  79. Sharon J - January 11, 2019 3:58 pm

    I’m wondering if this particular writing of yours, Sean, received more comments than any other! You really touched all who have grieved and continue to grieve. It does change as we live life but we never forget our loved ones or get over them.
    My dad had been dead for about 10 years and I was at a family reunion – I looked outside at the group of men gathered around talking….and I was trying to pick out my dad in that group! – momentarily forgetting that he was not there.
    Thank you for your writing.

  80. Shelby Brazier - January 11, 2019 5:34 pm

    This was meant for me to read today. My mother died 14 yrs. ago today. Grief is not a word I think of when I think of her. We were very close & I celebrate her life as my mother everyday because everyday I see somethig, hear something, feel something that lets me appreciate that she loved me Yes I miss her but more than that I miss all the things that would have brought her joy that she has missed.

  81. Tom Cole - January 11, 2019 9:04 pm

    Grief is an emotion from God given to humans…Grief occurs anytime you have a loss, whether it be death, divorce , loss of job, pets, anything you value and love… There will always be a hole in your heart…As time goes on, it will get smaller, but it will always be there…Be a good steward of the emotion…
    I enjoy your articles…

  82. Ellen - January 11, 2019 9:29 pm

    Thank you. I needed your words. I’m still grieving. I will always grieve and that’s okay.

  83. Ruth - January 12, 2019 8:38 pm

    I’m not sure why anyone would have the audacity to tell you to “let it go”. If she’s sick of reading it, skip it.

    I lost my daddy when I was twelve, too. I didn’t cry much, either. I didn’t know what to do with that. I do know he loved fish fries. It was one of his favorite things; fish with cheese grits. It was some number of months after his death that we were at my aunt’s house. She fried some fish and made cheese grits. I cried all the way through eating it.

    I think about him a lot; things he said, things he did. There is no letting it go. It’s good to remember.

  84. Carolyn Matjasko - January 16, 2019 7:14 pm

    Every time I cook fried chicken, NC Southern style, like my mama, I talk to her and think about moments in time. Every time I cook in the cast iron skillet she used, I think of her. Yes, it is grief and memories all in one.

  85. Steve Winfield (Gus) - January 23, 2020 2:55 am

    Bachelor’s breakfast special. Just try it. By far best with a Krispy Kreme brand honey bun. Melt some butter in a skillet then put the honey bun in. Medium-low heat. Flip it over a time or two so it’s good & warm & buttery. Will absolutely change one’s opinion about honey buns.

  86. Martha Martin Black - January 23, 2020 3:00 am

    It’s been 15 years for me & I’ve lost a few acquaintances due to me never going a day without thinking or mentioning something that catches my attention and reminds me of my husband. We were truly in love and I never WANT to forget our time together. I don’t WANT to forget how his hand felt in mine and I don’t WANT to forget how we laughed! So, I don’t. I don’t cry every time I think of him but sometimes I do & that’s alright. We were happy and that’s worth remembering. It’s not often true for some, but when it is, you won’t WANT to forget it either.

  87. Anne Arthur - January 23, 2020 3:28 am

    Grief is what we become when the seed of love grows into a plant. We struggle to push through and, when we have shaken off the anger that we were left behind, we learn to appreciate the gift of remembering the good, the bad, the funny, the sad, the hilarious, the peculiar, the amazing, the honey buns … – all that has shaped our life, and still is. Grief will always be our faithful companion. Which it’s good. Because otherwise, we would be the ones who are dead.

  88. Ann - January 23, 2020 1:07 pm

    Well said!

  89. Lori Neumann Pollock - January 23, 2020 2:09 pm

    Never be ashamed for grieving for a loved one. It shows they were and are an important part of your life and their love lives on in your heart. I said a prayer for you today.

  90. Angela - January 23, 2020 3:04 pm

    I am divorced. Not my best accomplishment but grieving occurs after divorce, too. I was talking to my grandmother one day and the subject of being alone came up. My Pa died in 1975. She had been alone for 37 years at that point. . She was independent and appeared happy. She encouraged me to start dating when I felt ready. Then she said, “ I dated some after your Pa died. Met some nice men but I could never love anyone like I loved Theo.” She grieved for Pa and thought about hime every day. Everyone handles grief in their own way. People should mind their own business and be supportive not critical!

  91. Judy Register - January 25, 2020 8:11 am

    Sean your thoughts on grief are yours to share and I am moved by your ability to express your thoughts and I’m positive that many others feel the same. I’m no expert but I’ve grieved and witnessed grief as a Hospice Nurse and not everyone grieves the same and there is definitely no time limit.
    I’m proud of your southern roots and your ability to paint a picture with words. From one southerner to another, please keep painting words.


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