Todd Hiestand is one of my best friends from seminary.  I was privileged to meet his mom, Carol Hiestand, at a graduation party, and I shared with her what I do, and she shared some of the story of how she lost her brother.

Carol writes about the following poem and the death that inspired it:

My 49 year old brother (my only surviving sibling) was hunting  in the Montana Mountain Wilderness early November 2005 and failed to show up later in the day after what was to be a brief “I’ll meet you down over the hill at the end of that road.”   What followed was a 32 hour search and when found, he had already succumbed to hypothermia.

We were in Illinois helpless and praying and hoping.  I wrote this a year later, right around the first anniversay of his death.

This poem represents a “Holy Saturday” experience that so many of us go through when we’re in the middle of death.

To Those Who Would Comfort Me

Don’t tell me you know how I feel
even if you have lost your brother!
You didn’t lose mine.

Don’t tell me how I will grieve,
even if you’ve journeyed through grief.
Your grief is not my grief.
Your journey is not my journey.
Instead, let me tell you how I feel.
Then hold me as I weep.

Don’t tell me God is Sovereign.
I know that.
Give me time to believe it once again
for myself . . .
for this time in my life.

Don’t ask me if I’m glad
my brother is in heaven.
Of course I am glad he’s in HEAVEN.
But right now I want him here with me.
And don’t talk to me yet of all the things
he is experiencing there.
I miss him too much for that to comfort me.

Someone wrote:
“For the believer, grief is not
about the one who has died.
It’s about the ones
who are left behind
who must redefine their lives
without the one they love.”
This will take time.

Don’t casually quote Romans 8:28.
I believe that too,
but I need time to internalize it
for myself.
in this situation.
This too takes time.

God, Thank you!
for the people in my life,
who walk beside me on this journey,
allowing me to travel
at the speed I can manage,
And cheer for me when I make it to
another milestone
they knew I would reach all along.


Death has an odd way of producing silence even when so much wants to be said.  Carol did such a great job at putting into words what so many of us feel or have felt.

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