The Balance Between Joy and Grief


I had a post mostly written a few weeks ago, then scrapped it. Our family has been on a roller coaster of sorts for the past three months or so. I haven’t had much time alone to think, much less write.

My brother is terminally ill with cancer, and my parents have moved their camper up to our property to be closer to him. We’ve shared some great times together, savoring every moment we can with him. He’s growing tired; the pain, and disease are taking their toll.

I wrestle with my own selfish thoughts, wants and so-called needs. I want to spend more time with him, but there’s another part of me that only wants to remember my strong, funny big brother like he was before this horrible thief of life took that away from me. I want to stay away, I want to hide in my own selfish feelings, but I know that’s not fair to him.

My folks are older, and this is wearing on them as well. I try to be strong for them, but all of our nerves are starting to fray.

Two weeks ago my brother’s oldest grandson passed away. He was 18, his 19th birthday would’ve been this month. He had been in a horrific car accident last fall. He had worked hard and rehabbed back, learning to walk, talk and he even moved back home. We were so optimistic for him and his future. Then suddenly, his mom found him in the middle of the night at his desk…Gone.

In my other post, I had all sorts of rants about who to blame for things going wrong in this world. The shootings, kids in drunk driving accidents, the breakdown of the family, I had it all. I threw it out, because none of that can change anything. My heart is still broken, our family is still barely hanging on, and the world continues to spin out of control, it seems.

What I can change is how I handle each of these things in my own life. My family has a huge support system surrounding us and lifting us up in prayer constantly. Without that, we would be much less able to cope with these things that are piling up around us.

A couple of weeks ago, I brought my grandkids home with me to give their daddy some time to study for a test he’s going to take soon. As we were driving up our dirt road, they asked why I want to live out here.

I think about this a lot. Especially when things are hard. The constant wind is annoying. The heat of the summer is oppressive. The water leaking through the window in our bedroom is depressing. The lack of money to finish our house is discouraging, but….

What I told them is the quiet is one of the things I value the most. I love the animals, birds and even the critters that we live with in harmony.

To be able to look out and have an unobstructed view in any direction is priceless. I look out our window at night and I can see the stars, billions of them.  I try to find beauty and joy in all things, even the smallest blossom on a weed. We’ve been given such a wonderful opportunity to live here, for however long. I’m not talking about my property. I’m talking about all of us.

We need to connect with whatever love and beauty we’ve been given. Find joy in the everyday things. Love when you can, grieve when you need to, and live your life with as full a cup of joy as you can every single moment.

“…Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10


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16 Responses to The Balance Between Joy and Grief

  1. Judith says:

    My heart strings go out to you. Someone once said to me that God never takes something away without giving back even fuller. We have so many blessings and I can see you have found the real value in your surroundings. Yep, things aren’t perfect but your cup isn’t half empty, it’s half full as they say! I remember when my granddaughter once ask me if I was poor and my reply was money was only a tool and I was as rich as I could ever want in everything else I cherished. Our pain, sorrows, and joys abound for our souls growth. I look back and wouldn’t have changed a thing in my life because God has the big picture and he doesn’t make mistakes. We make our choices which is wonderful in itself. I look everywhere near me and far away throughout the world and am truly blessed. That’s the core of our existence.
    Love and light on your every pathway,

    • vickieknob says:

      Judith, I know you know how hard all of this is. Thank you for your encouragement and love.

  2. visne2015 says:

    Whew, Vickie, you and yours are dealing with quite a bit.

  3. Dwayne Reeder says:

    Oh, VickIe. I am so so sorry for the loss of your nephew and the cancer that your brother is suffering from. You and your family are in my prayers. You know if you need anything I will be there. I know you have great support system, but sometimes justi a hug can help. I miss you and Dave.

    Please keep me informed. And I’m serious. If you guys need anything I will drive there and do what I can.

    May God carry you when you no longer can walk on your own. May it comfort you knowing that there are many friends who care about you, Dave and your family!


  4. I’m sorry for your loss. Remember that you feelings are not unusual nor are the immoral, nor are you alone. We all experienced the same thing with my mother’s passing in my family. Reach out to any local caretakers support groups if you can and don’t forget to eat, drink, bathe and do your chores. Take care of yourself.

  5. Beth Morey says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts, Vickie. I wish I could take your pain away, and I hope everything will get better soon. I’m sending hugs and love…

    • vickieknob says:

      Thank you Beth. You know how all of this feels. <3

    • vickieknob says:

      Thank you Beth. You know how all of this feels. <3 You have been through so much yourself and you have given me the courage to keep on going. Love and hugs to you.

  6. Geoff Paddock says:

    Our families have been so intertwined for years. I spent many hours at your Grandmother Hollet’s house just down the street.. she was such a sweet lady. Through IBC, our parents and extended family were intertwined in ministry and missions. Your uncle Vernon, David Scates and my dad were like brothers. As kids growing up, we were intertwined through church, camp and life.. My heart is breaking as I watch from afar Tim’s life fleeting from him. And to have the loss of a grandchild add to that, seems almost unbearable except for his great faith and his family and friends holding him up in prayer, makes it bearable. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Much love to you and all your family.. You have our prayers as well..

    • vickieknob says:

      Thank you so much Geoff. We would not be able to handle all of this without the love and prayers of all of our friends.

  7. Trish Wilkerson says:

    Vickie, I’m so sorry for all that your family is going through. Life is so tough at times and you are in the thick of it right now. I know it helps to know others are praying and I will continue to pray. The losses you are enduring are staggering and I pray God will speak to your heart words of comfort and peace. Thank you for your transparency and sharing what is going on with your family. I feel for your parents and know the toll it is taking on them is hard on you, too. If there is anything I can help you with, please let me know. You hold a special place in my heart as a praying friend and you will be in my prayers. Love and prayers to you.

    • vickieknob says:

      Trish, your words bring such comfort to my heart. I know without the love, support and prayers we would be floundering. God is so good to us and we can feel his presence all of the time. God bless you my friend.

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