Home / Grief Recovery Essentials / GRIEF RECOVERY ESSENTIAL #1: Total Honesty


Recovery in any area must be rooted in total honesty.

One of the first people to attend a Spark of Life Retreat, in 2010, came into our meeting room on Friday morning and announced to everyone within ear shot: I hate God, and if this is a religious retreat, then I am out of here. She and her husband had lost an 18-day-old baby a few months earlier. Her anger toward God was fully accepted. No one made an attempt to talk her out of this feeling. By Sunday, her anger toward God had subsided, not totally, but enough for her to state to the group, "I do not hate God any longer."

In 2017, a mother who had lost her teenage daughter to suicide a few weeks before the retreat, stated loudly: I am so angry at my daughter for doing this, that if I died tonight and met her in heaven, I would not hug her right away, but I would tell how angry I am with her. Total honesty.

When we give ‘voice’ to our pain--an honest voice--those feelings are lessened a bit. When I ‘give myself permission’ to grieve, to be honest, hope has an opening to seep in. There are days when that window is shut tight, but then moments when that window is opened a bit.

The mother who stated those words above obviously would hug her daughter in heaven. But by being honest with her feelings, she actually made a huge step in ‘living forward.’

‘Living Forward.’ I like those two words. At Spark of Life, our goal is to give hope, that though life can never be the same again after loss, life can be meaningful, rich, and fulfilling again. We can Live Forward.

And honesty, total honesty, is a good starting point.


--David Mathews, Co-Founder of Spark of Life


May 29, 2019 • Posted by Lina

Hi David I loved this article. It’s so true and real., I read nearly everything I can on grief, abandonment and healing from it. I went though a very painful divorce. . I need to come to your retreats. I have put my name on a waiting list and I will hopefully have a chance to work through this awful long lasting grief and pain. Thank you for making it available and for all you and your wife do to help those who are losing hope.

May 29, 2019 • Posted by Marilyn anderson

Yes yes total honesty is a breakthrough and so hard to really articulate. Two years after attending Spark of Life retreat I am still finding honesty I must grapple with and I am “living forward” —that is honesty,

May 29, 2019 • Posted by Jeanne Rudloff

Thank you for sharing the Grief Recovery Essentials. Good information for all of us!

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