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America, You Are the Worst…

Land of the free.

Home of the brave.

The American Dream… Happily ever after.

You are literally the worst at grief.

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I first had this thought about a month ago. Our oldest son John has a dog named Bosco.  Bosco, is a Rat Terrier, Pekingese, Basset Hound. To say he is one of a kind is an understatement.  In a two generational breeding mishap, Bosco’s grandfather, a purebred  Basset mingled his prize seed with the neighbor’s award-winning Pekingese. Their daughter, a wayward tart, grew to be a lovely malady of wandering nonsense with a taste for purebred studs. Her wanderlust led her to the breeder down the street and earned her a small litter of pups. Three males, two red headed Pekingese looking lads with big ears and … Bosco.

John was 7 when we brought Bosco home. He was less than a pound and… Ugly.  But they loved each other, still do. Bosco and John have been inseparable since 2006 (pictured above effectively homeschooling.)Alas, Bosco’s genetic makeup affords him some trials. The most prevalent: an underbite. As of late Bosco is having trouble eating. John tries new foods, he mashes, grates, steams, and purées in an effort to prolong the deterioration.

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Something he is just not ready to face.
In spite of the fact that John is 18 and about to begin pre-med studies, he asks me often, “Mom, what will I do when he’s gone?”

And it occurs to me, I haven’t had a good answer.  Why? Because I don’t want to tell him the right answer. Because the right answer is:


You will grieve.

You will hurt.

You will cry.

You will miss that little friend of yours.

On every hike, on every full moon on that rickety old porch, on every frog hunt, your precious man-baby heart will break. You will tell tall tales of his loyalty and friendship. Someday, you will tell your son about a pup named Bosco – who you grew up with by your side. Your greatest comfort when your uncle died.  Your loyal pal when you had that ugly break up, and your very best friend, none other, none like him, not to be repeated.

You will just grieve.

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A couple of weeks ago I ran into an old friend who was recently and unexpectedly widowed. The young widow and I chatted and she vented some of her trials. One of which was being asked, “what will you do now?”

And people don’t like her answer; they want her to have a happy plan. They want the dream to have a destination. Certainly you, a privileged, educated, independent woman has a plan???

As the casket lowers to its final destination…  What now?

Again,  two days ago I saw a Facebook post. A young family mourning the death of their two-month-old son.  The comments left me speechless (obviously, I have recovered.)

“It’s been two years, when will you try again?”

“What’s the plan for your family now?”

First, they weren’t trying to win a race only to trip at the finish line?  They buried their boy. Try again?  Attempt happiness?  They didn’t fail or mess up? Their infant son never woke from his nap.

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And then, I met a woman in the grocery store, and she asked about my baby. The conversation warranted my explanation, that the baby is our foster daughter. She gasped. “What will you do when you lose her?”

And I said it:



I will cry.

My heart will break.

I will sit on her bedroom floor and smell her little clothes and rub them on my face. I will beg God to protect her… And carry me through.

I will intentionally breathe in and out, and then I will heave ragged wails desperate for the weight of her sweet cherub self to be back in my arms.

Flustered, the woman bolted.

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America, free, brave, dreamers of all that is good, prosperous, and comfortable – I pray you read this for what it is. Not a criticism, but a free pass, to grieve.


Be broken.

Wail and gnash your teeth.


Men were killed.  Police officers are distrusted. Gun violence. Sex trafficking. Liars, thieves, and rapists walk free. Planes fly into towers. Drugs destroy us. Our food and water poison us. We are bankrupt. Our babies are faced with that which we couldn’t have imagined.

But by all means, chin up, get some white strips so your smile will look most shiny! Suck in that gut, squeeze into some spanx – don’t let them see you cry.


Please stop.

Stop and grieve.

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Stop putting a band-aid on it. Stop stuffing it with Prozac, vodka, and Rocky Road. Stop. Stop asking what is next, and grieve. Have you seen news reports with mourners in other countries?  They fearlessly lament their suffering. Here, we tell our kids, “don’t let them see you cry.” Or “Calm down, we will do this at home.”

Perhaps, if it were ok to mourn in the streets, to cry out, fall to our knees and beg for mercy, every protest would be assumed: peaceful.

Granted, bad guys claim to be performing “justice.” And we are afraid.  But fear can’t stop us from doing what must be done so that we might heal.


For such a time is this, a time to cry out, to submerge ourselves in the break., to bathe in the hurt. Wave after wave, let the memories flood – let the breath of agony drown us – no plan. No, “what will we do next?” Just let the nature of hurt – hurt.

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That’s the plan.

Not to wallow in self-pity or die on the hill of mourning – but America, it’s okay to let go. Let the flood gates open, let the cries be heard.  And yes, everyone has to do it their own way, but must we beg an excuse?



Crumple to your knees. Lament that which you’d hoped for and lost.  It’s isn’t a sign of weakness. It isn’t the last straw.  It is here on the payment of our destruction we lie face to face and nose to nose with others who are suffering too.

Land of the free, home of the brave, the next time you are hurting, the next time the unthinkable occurs and someone asks you, “what’s next?” Just be honest.

“Next, I grieve.”

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

You might also like: The Color of Heartbreak 

Where You Sit At… and What if We REALLY Believed Jesus?

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  1. TAMMY CLARK on July 12, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Spot on, Jami! This comes on the heels of a bible study session that I attended last night. So, we were asked the question “what if your worst fear came to pass?” ( death of a child, what if your spouse had an affair, what if the very thing that you think you can’t live through happened, WHAT IF _____, then ________. (What) so many things could go in that first blank. The mind can sometimes go places that the heart can’t go. My mind was wandering to very dark places. I was thinking of things for that blank on my paper well after our session ended…but the one thing that we were meant to see in our session was that, yes, bad things can and will and ARE happening. We live in this fallen world , this temporary home; so, what IF _____? THEN GOD. In our human fashion, we will wail, cry, be face down on the floor, think that we can’t go on, not be able to see the next day, BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL! And it came to me that the command that is written the most in the bible ,DO NOT BE AFRAID, is one that I almost daily break. I get paralyzed with fear of the worst things that could happen and I break HIS command daily in big and small ways. So I appreciate your words and thoughts here. And to live in faith and in HIS word is where I need to stay. Because no matter what comes, He WILL PROVIDE. AMEN.

    • jami_amerine on July 12, 2016 at 7:02 am


    • Jenny on July 12, 2016 at 8:35 am

      I’ve experienced the worst “what if” when I lost my beautiful 25 year old daughter 3 1/2 years ago to a horrible, incurable genetic disease. People would tell me that I have to be strong for my other children and my grandchild. I was in grad school and I worked full time. Society doesn’t allow us to fall apart and really grieve so it leaks out in small amounts over time while we are expected and must go on. I was off work for one week not given bereavement leave just handed a plant and told “We are so sorry. Do you think you will be back after the holiday?” we buried my oldest child on the Tues before Thanksgiving. I was even out delivering food baskets to the families from our program that I worked with at the time two days after I lost her. Life has to go on, or so we believe. What if I had been allowed the time I needed to actually grieve? Might I not be suffering like I am today? I hide it well but as I looked at the gray roots in my long, dark hair this morning, I contemplated how I had seemed to gray overnight, certainly a lot more in the past 3 1/2 years. We SHOULD be allowed, even ENCOURAGED to grieve and allow ourselves that time. If only society could accept that. The world we live in might be a more peaceful place. Thank you Jami. You always have such insight but this one really hit home.

      • jami_amerine on July 12, 2016 at 8:37 am

        Bless you.

      • TAMMY CLARK on July 12, 2016 at 9:09 am

        My heart goes out to you. And to all of the people that have lost loved ones…the world doesn’t stop for even a second…and then it feels like the loved ones are so soon forgotten. Peace be with you.

  2. Glenna McKelvie on July 12, 2016 at 8:11 am

    “And in this life there will be tribulation..,”. It may be against the very nature of things to bury a child but it happens. And those tears were given to us to help us heal. I believe that to be true. Grieving for a parent or a puppy may be different but it is still grieving!

  3. Leah Frizzell Bright on July 12, 2016 at 9:34 am

    I love this, dear Jami. So beautifully written. Thank you.

    • jami_amerine on July 12, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Thank you. ❤️

  4. Regina Sullivan on July 12, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Yes! Grief has no rules! There is no right or wrong way, emotion just is. It makes others uncomfortable. They want to fix us as in “Here honey I know you miss your Daddy, have a Pepperidge Farm cake.” I can eat the cake but I still feel empty. It seems our society wants to hide grief or put a time limit on it. There is no time frame for grief.

    • jami_amerine on July 12, 2016 at 10:37 am


  5. Debbie Rowland on July 12, 2016 at 10:54 am


    • jami_amerine on July 12, 2016 at 10:56 am


  6. Abel Josephson on July 12, 2016 at 11:36 am


    Well…….what would Jesus do?

    In the upper room he said I chose you 12 and one of you is a Devil~!

    Next stop….the Fabulous Garden of revelation…..the Garden of Gethsemane.

    I have heard so many sermons on that “Garden” it would make your head spin….

    Oddly enough…..when Jesus came out of that Garden he had a change of heart….

    Judas arrives leading the men with pitch forks and torches to get Jesus and…..Jesus makes the oddest statement…..
    Matthew 26….49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
    50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him.

    So Geee…..Judas went from “Devil”….to….”Friend”~!
    Everybody “accuses” this “Devil” of all of this mayhem…..why?

    God himself said….. Isaiah 45:7…I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do ALL these things…..THERE IT IS…the truth~!

    God creates darkness and creates Evil….He said it himself and man refuses to come to this truth….Mankind is like they are because they are made in his image after his likeness but their image of him is a lie…..

    It takes TWO hands to form clay and Gods hand is in BOTH gloves on both sides but man teaches themselves not to believe this…..

    Peter was called “Satan” for even considering preventing the crucifixion.

    Judas was, in the end, by Jesus……called his “Friend”…..see the difference in the viewpoint of Jesus?

    If it was not for Judas…….there would have been NO crucifixion….no salvation as you know it.

    To this day Judas is scorned and “Accused” and he was one of the brethren….

    To this day Peter is a “Saint” but Jesus called him “Satan”….and Peter too betrayed Jesus from his own mouth….

    He called Judas friend and Peter Saint….man might still have things backwards….

    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do ALL these things.
    Without the prison on the isle of Patmos…..John, age 93, would have never come to the Revelation of Jesus Christ~!

    If God wants all the glory….let him have credit for ALL the works…..Only then will you “understand”…..and peace will be your portion~!

  7. Terry K. on July 13, 2016 at 6:01 am

    I am presently looking forward to having the opportunity to grieve. My husband passed away in February, leaving me with two little boys and sole responsibility for caring for them. I was back to work in two weeks, but that time was used for making arrangements, settling accounts and comforting babies. I am planning to take early retirement starting September first, the first day I am eligible, and then maybe I can fall apart during the day while they are at school. I would appreciate prayers that I make it that long, because I am starting to feel like very thin glass. Just the right tap and I am going to go to pieces. It has been nearly six months and the world has gone on without him. Everyone thinks I should be over this, but I am still holding on for the chance to start to grieve. Thank you, Jami, for just the right words. I’m so glad I stumbled onto your blog when I did. You are such a blessing to me.

    • jami_amerine on July 13, 2016 at 6:04 am

      Oh Terry. I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my prayers. ❤️

  8. Jeanette Hanscome on July 22, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    This is so good, Jami!
    When my husband left, I was determined to be a good example–to show everyone how strong I could be. I cried, but I put my best face on in public whenever possible (expect that time I fell apart at choir practice . . . and after singing with the worship team the day after what would have been my anniversary . . . and that time in the car with my friend . . . and . . .). Ladies at church told me, “You are a reflection of God’s grace,” and I took it as a compliment because I knew that meant I was doing a good job of getting through the biggest crisis of my life without falling apart. People told me I looked great, and who doesn’t want that?

    As a result (and probably also because I was in survival mode and needed to power through sometimes), I went through a delayed grief process. Like almost two years later! Suddenly I was crying at Bible study and with friends and felt like anything but a reflection of God’s grace. I remember thinking, why am I not handling this well anymore? Then I thought about that statement about God’s grace? If I hadn’t looked great during that first year, and if I had burst into tears while leading worship once in a while, or if I’d cried in front of my ex-husband during our first meeting with the judge instead of keeping my promise to a friend and myself to not let him see me cry, would people still have told me, “You’re a reflection of God’s grace?” Why must me look great and limit our tears to the bathroom floor in order to be “handing this so well”?

    I did not start healing until I started grieving. And when I wrote my book I grieved some things all over again. Several months ago a hurt from the past came back to bite me, and I learned that that thing kept returning to trip me up because I’d never admitted it hurt long enough to be really sad and angry. Once I did, that hurt lost it’s power.

    I just don’t get why showing up with a smile and perfect makeup = Handling it Well. Maybe that should be an indication that someone is NOT handling it well. In my book, someone who grieves IS a reflection of God’s grace.

    So, like you, I’m learning to be accept grief as a very healthy and good thing. Thank you for the reminder! I love your blog!

    • jami_amerine on July 22, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      This means so much to me Janet. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for your ministry and for your grace. Hurt just hurts, thank God He never leaves or forsakes us. Bless you my friend. ❤️

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