top of page

The Elephant Of Grief

I first brought up the analogy of an elephant when I discussed learning of Pete's Stage IV diagnosis and later, I posted about combatting the elephant mid-journey Now, almost 4 weeks since he passed away, I'm ready to discussed the elephant of grief. A lot of its behavior is similar to the elephants that have been with me this whole time. It shows up and fills my bedroom, my car, anywhere I'm by myself. It likes to fill up the whole space, make it so I can't breathe, and oppressively affect my thinking.

Despite all of that, I am working hard to keep my promise to Pete that I would not just survive but thrive through this season. At every turn, I have received encouragement, through friends texting, calling, and messaging me. I have consistently attended more church services in a week than I have in a long time, wanting to grow closer to Him and others, in worship and seeking out hope. I have laughed, cried, mentored others through their grief about Pete or losing a loved one, screamed, wept, and been grateful for the life I had with him. I have sought out encouragement through counseling, mentors, widows, and pastors. I have attended a GriefShare meeting and found some really good podcasts and books. Some days, I feel like all of this is helping me maintain my relationship with God and keeping the elephant at bay. Then, other days, I feel like the elephant is winning.

I have learned so many lessons during this time and I hope that they can be of encouragement to you, whether your elephant is grief or something else.

This Sunday, my pastor spoke on how seasons will end but also what to do to get the most out of each season. He reminded me that current season of such heavy grief will change as Pete's death gets farther and farther away but also that I need to maximize the moments I do have in this current season.

Last week at GriefShare, I felt less isolated because I was in a group with two widowers who lost their wives with so many similarities to Pete's journey. I also discussed the feelings I had after leaving that group with some dear friends.

A widow of suicide recently mentioned to me that I need to walk and get out of the house every day.

I received Pete's ashes on Thursday night and could not emotionally function the next day at work. I gave myself the space to go to our spot in the mountains and scream, wail, cry, and yell. I was never so thankful for strong winds as I was that day so no passerby could hear me.

Another widow friend recently encouraged me that I will make mistakes but to give myself grace because it all is so hard and it sucks. She also reminded me that, whenever an invitation is extended to me, if at all possible, to take it. I had just done that after going reluctantly to a party with a lot of women at it, which was an amazing blessing to my life.

A podcast I listened to this morning talked about the origin of the five stages of grief and how grief isn't linear or logical like that.

A friend of mine who lost her husband five days after I lost Pete reminded me that grief is different 1) for every person and 2) ever-changing.

I thanked a friend for trying to say something to me the first time she saw me after Pete's death but the words wouldn't come out. I told her that it meant the world to me that she understood the levity of that moment, but also communicated how it broke her heart.

I've worked on meeting my daughters where they are in their grief journey. I haven't always done it well but I've asked the tough questions, said I'm sorry when I messed up, and created a space for each of them to grieve their way in any given moment.

Often, when I feel alone, I remind myself 1) that I am not, 2) that God has not and will not ever forsake me and 3) our family is one of the most loved-upon families I've ever known.

I say none of this to pat myself on the back about how "well" I'm dealing with the loss of my closest friend and husband. I just want you all to know that I am so grateful for your influence before and since his death and I am giving that elephant a run for its money.

Please continue to keep all of us in your prayers as they have carried us.


Mandy Lewis Fleming
Mandy Lewis Fleming
Mar 26, 2023

Prayers for you and your family, Shara. Be gentle with yourself...this is a very tough time yet God made you stronger than you know. But you are also going to have low times where you need to release tears, frustration and anger. Allow yourself to go through these times. If you ever need an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on or a virtual hug, there are many of us that would be honored to be there for you. Keep the faith, my friend.

Unknown member
Mar 26, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, friend!


Mar 14, 2023

Prayers for you to continue to find moments of grace and succor on this terrible road. You are in my prayers.

Unknown member
Mar 14, 2023
Replying to

Thank you!!




Hey - thank you so much for taking the time to read our Stages blog. The fact that you have made it to this page tells us you may be interested in more. That being said, if you want to know more of what Stages is all about, just click this button below and you'll be on your way.

Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
bottom of page