What I’ve Learned…A Year After Death

My brother has been gone for a year now. When I think about him, I always wonder what he is experiencing in his consciousness. I know his body has been laid to rest here on earth, but his soul is with the Lord. And as much as I miss him, I have never said that I wish he were still here.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:8

Why not? Because when I think about heaven, I think of a place where Tyrone is now complete with no more tears, no more pain, and where he desires nothing. He now has everything he has ever needed. I believe he is in a constant state of euphoria and heavenly bliss, where since April 13, 2020, he has not experienced pain, anguish, fear, anxiety, worry, agitation, frustration, or any one of the negative emotions we may experience each day here on earth. I honestly can’t think of anything greater than that.

While he’s in heaven living his best life after death, I’ve had to adjust. This week I decided to write about things I’ve experienced after the earthly loss of a loved one, and I hope to encourage someone else who may be dealing with death and struggling in some areas.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

Psalms 34:18a

If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, just remember you’re not alone, and God is close to you. After a year, here’s:

What I believe…

I believe that if he had the choice, Tyrone wouldn’t want to come back – we know from the Bible that on the day they both died, Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Paradise is a place filled with joy, ecstasy, and complete delight. I liken it to a perfect Utopian society. After experiencing that, why would anyone want to come back to a world plagued with sin?

What I’ve learned…

  1. Sometimes families change after loss. A family circle is broken, and lives are irrevocably changed. Death can change relationships, friendships, and the family dynamics of those left behind. And that’s ok. Sometimes in addition to the loss of life, we must also mourn the loss of those close relationships. It’s best to figure out and define what those connections will look like going forward, and how you can best relate to those people in the future.
  2. Everyone grieves differently. We can’t judge a person by what we think they should or shouldn’t be doing during their grieving process. People have to deal with grief in their own way. We all are different and have no right to judge how someone else should be grieving.
  3. Grief counseling or therapy is extremely beneficial. If you are stuck and need to talk to someone, then do it. There are some things you won’t be able to figure out or work out on your own. Don’t waste another day, get a professional to help you.
  4. A strong support system is a must, you weren’t meant to get through this alone. Let your support system know what you need, if it’s a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to just sit in the same room. (If you are the Support System – refer to #2)
  5. A thoughtful text, call, or card goes a long way. This isn’t just for death, but for tough situations in general. If you know someone is going through a difficult time, when they cross your mind, it is for a reason – please reach out to them. It means so much to hear that someone is thinking about you out of the blue.
  6. Meals are a blessing. In those initial days when I couldn’t get out of bed, much less feed my family, my sorority sisters blessed us with gift cards that fed us for over a week. If you are looking to bless someone who has recently experienced a loss, bless them with a home-cooked meal, takeout from a local restaurant, or a gift card for them to order on their own. Trust me on this one.
  7. Memories allow our souls to smile despite the pain. Memories allow us to hold on to those special times that we spent together with our loved ones and keeps them alive in our minds.
  8. Tears can come from anywhere at any time. Let them fall, acknowledge the moment, and then keep going on with your day. Just be sure not to get stuck in the moment.
  9. Pictures are also a blessing. When we take pictures, we allow our loved ones to have physical reminders of us. Pictures also leave a connection for our future descendants that we may never meet. So don’t think you’re too fat, and even if you don’t like your outfit, or your hair, still take the picture.
  10. Grief is a reminder that your love for that person is still inside your heart. Again, embrace the moment, and then try to move on with your day. Refuse to stay stuck.
  11. Children are affected by death, sometimes in different ways than adults – don’t be so consumed with your own grief that you forget about them. Let them share their memories with you and talk when they need to. And if they need to talk to a professional, find one for them too.
  12. Every day is precious. Choose to honor each hour of the day you are blessed with. No one ever regrets that they didn’t work more hours or make more money on their death bed. Make those memories, spend time with those special people in your life, and take all your vacation days at work. When you die, your job will hire someone else to take your place. But your loss will be felt forever by those who love you.

What I know…

As a believer, I have the promise of seeing my brother again one day. It lessens the sting just a bit knowing that this is just a temporary separation and that after we are reunited, we will spend eternity together.


Dear God,

Thank you for the life of my loved one and for blessing us with time together on this earth. Thank you for the promise of everlasting life with both you and my loved one because you gave your only son Jesus to die for us.

Please teach me to how comfort others that have experienced a loss so that your love can be shown through me to someone who is hurting.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

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16 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned…A Year After Death

  1. This is very profound and powerful! Thanks for the transparency and be genuine with us about you and your feelings.

    1. Tonya this is awesome ! You touched all the bases . I continue to pray for you guys as I know you do the same for us . Love ya much

  2. This was extremely helpful. Made me look at a couple things differently. Thank you for sharing

  3. Great article. I needed that. The loss is so final, but Jesus has sent us a Comforter.

  4. So thoughtful Tonya. Your words are heat felt, real, and relatable. So, thank you for your transparency and allowing yourself to be used while on this journey.

    1. Thank you Sharon. This has been a difficult road, but many of us our on it, and definitely wanted to be a source of encouragement to let people know that they are not alone. Thank you for supporting me.

  5. Thank you Tonya for allowing God to use you when you penned this. I read it in its’ entirety and it blessed me. My Mom’s one year is fastly approaching and my thoughts are everywhere. Again, thank you and please know that you and your family are in my prayers!

    Love and hugs…


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