Navigating Grief and Loss

Navigating Grief and Loss


Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

Lisa Sleezer, M.A., L.P.C.


We have all experienced grief and loss in our lives.  We have all struggled and felt the pain of differing kinds of losses; from job loss, divorce, death, trauma, transition, and more. God graciously tells us that ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted’ – Matthew 5:4Yet, how can we be ‘blessed’ as we mourn? How will we know comfort?

My husband and I were married in 1994, and gave birth to a baby girl, Emily, in 1998.  From the moment she was born, she struggled. We experienced desperation as we went to many doctors and specialists.  They all told us the devastating struggles she would have throughout her life; she would not walk, talk, eat, and would die well before adulthood. I always had equated it to being in a ‘snow globe’ of emotions, swirling around me, from all directions.  Emily went to be with Jesus in 2001. How could I possibly receive comfort in this?  How would my husband and I be ‘blessed’ through this?  Why would my daughter suffer so?

Many others experience similar situations:  the agony of losing a child, a bitter divorce, a tragic accident of a loved one, and so much more.  Notice the word ‘similar’ — experiences of grief are unique to each human.

Threads of grief are woven with culture, past and present experience, relationships with others, religion and spirituality and much more; far from similar.  This creates an absolutely unique, distinctive, and exclusive experience in grief and loss.

How then do we as friends, family members, care providers, therapists, and others provide comfort those who distinctively grieve as they experience loss?  It is just that.  The uniqueness of our grief can be the similar bind that ties. We all have suffered and lost uniquely.  We are in need of something bigger, something stronger than our own perspective of the grief process. We are in need of a Savior, a wonderful Counselor. In Him we can gain our strength and our comfort.  Jesus is the tie that binds – for He experienced our unique grief and loss as He died on the cross, just for us; just for our suffering.  Jesus Wept. (John 11:35).

We can choose hope.  We can choose a greater reality – one that experiences grief and loss through the lens of God; knowing that grief is a reminder to us that we need Him.  It’s not simply about the destination to ‘get over’ grief, but it’s the route of travel.  It is navigating the course, and as a result, supporting others by walking alongside them in their own journey of grief and loss.  We have a perfect example of that in Christ.



Lisa Sleezer, M.A., L.P.C., is a Clinical Specialist at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.

Timberline Knolls is a residential treatment center located on 43 beautiful acres just outside Chicago, offering specialized Christian-based programming and a nurturing environment of recovery for women and girls ages 12 and older struggling to overcome eating disorders, substance abuse, mood disorders, trauma and co-occurring disorders. By serving with uncompromising care, relentless compassion and an unconditional joyful spirit, we help our residents help themselves in their recovery.  For more information, visitwww.timberlineknolls.comor call 877-257-9612.