Coping With Grief and the Shipwrecks of Life

Lookas PHT

Photo Credit: Lookas PHT via CC Flickr

Grief. Despair. Pain. Suffering. These are just a few words that describe the feelings and emotions that millions of people experience everyday around the world. The death of a family member or loved one, the loss of a job, a separation from a spouse, personal injury, loss of a job, the passing of a pet, sickness, cancer…the list goes on and on.

 Grief and depression can sometimes be overwhelming and lead an individual to suffer from a variety of physical problems such as fatigue, headaches, sore muscles, heart and chest pains…just to name a few. People can also experience emotional stresses such as numbness, bitterness, detachment, inability to show or feel joy, etc. Like I said, grief and depression can be downright devastating!!

 If you have experienced times like these or are currently fighting through a difficult time in your life, the following story might, very well, be just for you. It tells of a great approach that you may be able to use to help you deal with grief in a positive fashion.

 I read the following short story that I felt would be a fantastic post for my blog. It is my hope and prayer that this illustration might help you, even in a small way, to change your outlook and perspective on your life and help you heal a wounded soul and a broken heart!


Someone on Reddit wrote the following heartfelt plea online:

 “My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.”

A lot of people responded. Then there was one old man that wrote an incredible comment that stood out from the rest that might just change the way that we approach the turmoil of life, death, and other negative experiences.

“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here is my two cents.

“I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever someone I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter.” I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep…so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. All you can do is float. You find some piece of wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it is a physical thing…a happy memory, a photograph, etc. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. staying alive.

“In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing…but in between waves…there is life.

“Somewhere down the line, and it is different for everybody, you will find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging onto some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

“Take it from an old guy…the waves never stop coming and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you will survive them. And other waves will come…and you will have to survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves…and lots of shipwrecks.”

  30 comments for “Coping With Grief and the Shipwrecks of Life

  1. meexio
    July 10, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I had absolutely enjoyed reading this! Words of wisdom right here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. July 10, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    great read..vw

    Liked by 1 person

  3. July 10, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Wow. How profound and touching. A new perspective for me. One that I will not soon forget. Thanks for sharing Coach.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. July 10, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. July 10, 2016 at 4:47 pm


    Liked by 2 people

  6. July 11, 2016 at 2:41 am

    Another Classic from Coach Muller ! Standing Ovation !

    Liked by 1 person

  7. July 11, 2016 at 8:37 am

    did the article say who wrote this? it is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2016 at 11:41 am

      No it didn’t. I actually found it on Face Book.


  8. July 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Well said!


  9. July 12, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    I appreciated the description of grief being illustrated as enormously powerful waves crashing over us, again and again, leaving us battered and bruised, but how we learn over time to recognize and trust that we will survive the grief, no matter how many times we find ourselves triggered by grief, in whatever way it might cross our path. We are survivors. Thanks for sharing the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. July 15, 2016 at 2:25 am

    This describes grief rather accurately. It has been 92 days since my infant son died and the waves come and go. Thank you for sharing; lots of heartfelt wisdom here–

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 16, 2016 at 9:33 am

      Thank you for your kind words my friend! Please know that my heart goes out to you and your family I am glad that this little story could help you 🙂


  11. July 24, 2016 at 12:07 am

    this is amazing. maybe you can read my posts and give me friendly feedback

    Liked by 1 person

  12. July 25, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    This is absolutely beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. September 20, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks Coach. Had to put down my old dog that was 13 years old this morning. It broke my heart but ended his suffering.
    The only place I have ever gotten unconditional love in this life was from my Grandmother and my dogs. Hope to see them all in a much better place than this.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. September 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Reblogged this on John Barleycorn and commented:
    Thanks again for posting this.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. September 21, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Reblogged this on Hope Shack and commented:
    “Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.”

    Liked by 1 person

  16. May 18, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    The metaphor of a shipwreck amidst giant ocean waves offers perfect imagery for grief. Thank you for sharing, Coach Muller. Praise God He chooses to be with us, supplying comfort, support, and peace as we hang on and wait for the waves to subside (Matthew 5:4; Psalm 23:4; Isaiah 26:3).

    Liked by 1 person

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