It’s ingrained in our culture to fix things, to try to make everyone happy and see smiles on the faces of everyone around us. But life just isn’t that way all the time. In fact, life can often become very dark. Kate Merrick knows that fact all too well. At 8 ½ years old her daughter Daisy passed from this life after a prolonged fight with cancer. Cancer. In a child. Can you imagine? But Kate says she’s come to the place where she laughs without fear of the future… even though for a very long season during her darkest days of bitterness and grief, she couldn’t laugh at all and had plenty of fear. It’s an amazing story and Kate is an inspiring woman. You’ll be touched deeply by hearing her story.
We are just practicing, we don’t have to get it all right.
One thing Kate knows from her experience of grief is that there isn’t a “right” way to do it. It’s as different as the person who is experiencing it. So when it comes to grief, we need to be careful that we allow ourselves to grieve and that we do it in a way that is honest to us. Kate says, “We are just practicing, we don’t have to get it all right.” That applies to our times of grief as much as it applies to anything else. The honesty with which Kate shares in this episode is both startling and refreshing. She’s comfortable with the darkness and struggle she had to go through to grieve over her dearly loved daughter, and she’s comfortable with the fact that the sorrow over her loss will always be present. But she’s come out unafraid. She’s come out able to laugh again.
The only way to be comfortable with someone’s grief is to be uncomfortable along with them.
Grief is one of those things that makes us all uncomfortable. We understand it. We know it has to happen and want others to be able to process it – but not around us. It’s too uncomfortable. But it’s also uncomfortable for the one who’s experiencing it. Kate Merrick says that while she was loved very well as she traversed the darkest season of her life after her daughter died, she also grew weary of the discomfort others had about her grief. They didn’t say it. But she could see it. And she felt it deep in her own soul, too. Kate has some powerful advice for friends of friends who are suffering through the pangs of grief. Please, listen to this episode to hear what she says. It will serve you and those you love well.
Learning to walk through suffering through the gift of writing.
Kate’s family is the epitome of “unplugged.” They don’t own a TV (never have) and only Kate has a smartphone. They simply don’t want the constant barrage of communication and media in their lives, and they’ve loved the disconnected pace of life that decision has made possible. But after her daughter, Daisy was diagnosed with cancer, being connected became very much a necessity for Kate. She simply didn’t want to have to recount every doctor’s visit, every diagnosis, every procedure, to every person who asked – so she started a blog. She didn’t even know how it worked, she just typed – often while lying in bed, with one hand, on her phone. And she discovered that writing was a creative gift she’d not discovered up until that point – and though it served others by keeping them updated on Daisy’s progress, it also served Kate by helping her navigate her own thoughts and feelings. If you’ll take the time to hear her story, you’ll understand why her story is your story, only the characters are different.
After the grief, she laughs without fear of the future. But she couldn’t have apart from the grief.
None of us want to experience the deep grief of losing a child, or spouse, or person close to us. But it’s likely going to happen at least one time in our lives. The loss of her 8 ½ year old daughter was tragic, yet it brought a newfound radiance to Kate’s world that was quite unexpected. She says after coming out of the darkness of bitterness and grief, the beauty of the world is brighter, the colors more vivid, the lines are sharper and more defined. And laughter is richer, more filled with joy than before. If all of that sounds strange to you, it’s a sign you should hear Kate’s entire story. What she’s been through provides the context and contrast that makes sense of such unbelievable statements. This conversation is a treasure. Be sure to listen.
Outline of this great episode
- [0:22] Why Kate is on the show: the issue of creativity in the midst of sorrow.
- [3:20] The story of Kate’s daughter Daisy becoming sick and passing away.
- [8:11] The surprising way Kate learned about her writing talent.
- [14:10] What happened in Kate’s darkest days and what came from it.
- [18:24] Why Kate chose to make her journey public when she didn’t have to.
- [20:48] What it took for Kate to be honest about her grief (going through darkness to light).
- [23:15] Facing her own bitterness through rereading an ancient story.
- [28:55] Kate’s description of her sorrow on the other side of the bitterness.
- [31:07] The fear tied to getting past the deepest sorrow.
- [36:09] What Kate advises to the friends of those who are grieving.
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