What I learnt when I cried in church

I cried and ran out of church… only to find laughter.

We’ve looked at why it’s okay to cry in public and also how to respond. Now this is my story…

My story of public grief (and what it taught me about God and chronic illness)

I hesitate to share this. It’s personal. It’s ‘deep’… and this is in itself is normally an indicator that I shouldn’t post it on the World Wide Web.

Continue reading “What I learnt when I cried in church”

How to cope with grief in a public place

It’s one thing to say it’s ok to cry, and quite another to know what to do when you start crying!

I like practical answers. If something uncomfortable has to happen, I want to know how I can fix it (or, preferably, avoid it). And so, fellow Watchers, what do we do when we find ourselves crying in church?

Is this a silly question?

What do I do when I find myself crying? Is this even a question that needs to be answered? I think it is.

Why? Because weeping in public is not a common occurrence in Western culture. We generally try to avoid it – and so when we weep in public it is because we are overcome with grief. Tears take us by surprise; we are unprepared.

And personally, I’d rather not be. So let’s think about it now, before we find ourselves in that situation. What should we do when we find ourselves overcome with emotion in public place?

Continue reading “How to cope with grief in a public place”

Why I think it’s okay to grieve in church

Crying in a public place? You should avoid that. No one wants streaked mascara…

Grieving in front of people is not something we’re particularly good at in my culture. Weeping often happens behind closed doors, or in the arms of a loved one. Yet when a diagnosis of chronic illness enters our lives, or the lives of our family members, it’s impossible to avoid public places, and often just as impossible to avoid tears!

As Christians, church is a public sphere where we may find it hard to contain our grief. But should we be trying?

I don’t think so.

4 Reasons we grieve chronic illness in public

1. We grieve chronic illness in public because we care

Continue reading “Why I think it’s okay to grieve in church”

What to do when chronic illness makes you angry

Where do you turn when suffering makes you angry?

Perhaps your father has been diagnosed with cancer, or your mother with Alzeimer’s, and you’re angry. Angry at everyone: the doctors, yourself, the people around you, the sick person, and most of all, God.

So what do we do? Smash a few windows? Yell? Break down into tears? What’s the appropriate response? Is there one?

How do you cope with anger after a chronic illness diagnosis?

What happens when we’re angry at a situation but don’t want to be?

Anger is harmful

Continue reading “What to do when chronic illness makes you angry”

After a diagnosis: Why anger?

A chronic illness diagnosis is emotional. We may feel sad, guilty, overwhelmed… and we can feel angry. Sometimes this is short-lived, but mine wasn’t.

Why are we angry?

Why are we angry after a chronic illness diagnosis?

Coping with anger after a diagnosis is not simple

Chronic illness and suffering is a sensitive topic, so let me use another analogy.

Say I stub my toe. It hurts. It makes me angry.


Anger over chronic illness is a reaction to frustration

Continue reading “After a diagnosis: Why anger?”

4 reasons admitting we are sad is not that easy

Sadness… it seems so simple, so appropriate – but is it really?

Updated October 2017

It seems a bit silly to even have to say this, but when a Loved One is diagnosed with a chronic illness, it can make us feel sad.

It sounds ridiculous. Of course when someone is sick it is going to make us sad. But I genuinely believe it’s not that simple. At least it wasn’t for me. I actually found it quite difficult to respond to:

‘How are you?’

With, ‘Sad.’

It didn’t seem like an appropriate answer somehow. Here’s why.

Continue reading “4 reasons admitting we are sad is not that easy”

Wait! I feel guilty.

They are sick and I am not.

I can leave the house. They cannot.

I can eat anything I want. They must not.

Guilt is an emotion that it is easy to struggle with after a diagnosis of chronic illness. When we as Watchers see how the illness is impacting our Loved One’s lives, and envision how it will continue to impact their lives,… the guilt creeps in.


Continue reading “Wait! I feel guilty.”