How to Cope with Loss and Change

I don’t love change and my heart has felt fragile and thin with it lately. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that way — when the tears come easily and parts of the day seem colorless and sad. Just when my broken heart had somewhat mended from the death of my dad a year ago, it broke again with the unexpected passing of my father-in-law just 10 months later. Add into that the myriad of changes brought by the pandemic, my first son moving out 6 months ago, and now the announcement that my second son will be moving out at the end of the month, and I just don’t want to face any more adjustments!  


While my sons’ moving on are not losses of life, there is a profound grieving of the loss of what was “normal” for our family. And in a way that defies logic, it feels like I’m losing my role as a mom. I’ll still be my son’s mother, of course, but not in the everyday kind of way.  



When my kids were young, I craved a break from the constant pull of motherhood. (And with no family in the area to help us, that break seemed nonexistent at times.) However, now that the fabric of my life is shifting and changing in a way, it feels completely uncomfortable. My role is being redefined as the adjustments come faster and faster. Did I mention that I don’t like change?! Perhaps that is why this is so hard.


There are a few things that are helping me during this season of constant recalibration that I wanted to share with you:


I read the Psalms.

David encouraged himself in the Lord. I can go to the Psalms for comfort knowing that David felt things intensely. He processed things intensely. And despite all of that, he was still a man after God’s own heart! God put my emotions within me for a reason and he isn’t turned off by them. 


Psalm 61: 2 “From the end of the earth I will cry to you, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”  


I can follow David’s example by pouring my paper-thin heart out to God and letting him lead me higher. During these times, I picture my Father leading me to a rock where we sit together with his arm around me. We can linger there because he isn’t in a hurry. He speaks words of comfort and life to me. And when I’m ready, I can move on with my day.


I feel all the feels.

My therapist encouraged me to let myself feel all of it. So I do. And it’s messy and incredibly inconvenient, and I go through a lot of tissues. It takes a significant amount of time but it’s probably the shortest and healthiest way to navigate this season. 


I lean in to what’s to come.

I will have an empty bedroom. I might set it up as a dedicated craft room or something else that can be enjoyed. I’ve started developing areas in my life that were put on hold for so many years and that is really fun to explore!


I trust in God.

Just as the Lord has led me to be a hands-on mother, he will lead me in this next season of “influential motherhood”; and let’s be honest, the hands-off-praying-a-lot season of motherhood will be different, but God is trustworthy so I can rest in that.


I share my story.

I have told two people who are ahead of me in life about my son moving out and they both had the same compassionate response. The pain of their own kids moving out fills their eyes for a moment and they understand. They bring comfort and help me see all of the hope in what’s ahead.


My heart will heal. I’ve had a lot of things to care about lately, and just like muscles get stronger with exercise, my heart will get stronger too. I will be more resilient in the end. And perhaps someday when one of you comes to me with tears in your eyes because your kid is moving on with life, I can give you a big warm hug and let you know all of the wonderful things to come.


Tami Glendenning is a wife to Jonathan and mom to Ian, Max and Ben. She is also a piano teacher, crafter and avid book reader.