Give Grace

My brother, Larry, lost his valiant 2-month battle with cancer early this morning. I was fortunate enough to be there when he passed. Hearing his wife visually walk him “home” to heaven where other friends and relatives eagerly awaited his arrival and seeing how that led him to his peaceful final breath was something I will never forget. I feel very privileged to have witnessed the moments I have in the past 24 hours.

My brother was a good man. Most importantly, he was the most amazing father and helped to raise 3 incredible kids. My heart aches in ways I didn’t know possible seeing his kids try to grasp the reality of this loss. There will be a void there that can never be replaced. As a mom, we want to shelter our kids from hurt. Knowing that there is nothing any of us can do to take this hurt away is almost unbearable.

Larry was out of the house by the time I was born, so needless to say we had a different relationship. It wasn’t a typical brother / sister relationship I guess, but honestly… I don’t know what is typical anymore. Yes, I reached out more in the past two months to Larry than I ever have before. I imagine he would have done the same thing had the tables been turned. When you are faced with a loved one dying, I can only think that is the natural thing to do.

You might expect my message to everyone out there is to hold on tight, give more and don’t let time get between you and a loved one… and although I think that is extremely important, I have an even bigger message I want to share.

Plain and simple, give grace. Give grace and accept each other for what you are. I know in the end my brother and I were accepting and at peace with our relationship. No, it wasn’t a perfect relationship. We have faults, we’ve both made plenty of mistakes over the years however as my friend Wendy so eloquently put in a recent blog post:

“And I pondered how life isn’t perfect. How I’m not perfect. How those I love aren’t perfect. But how loving them…fully loving them warts and all…is somehow perfect, especially when faced with the possibility of not having them.”

As you are contemplating your own relationships… your own life with your friends and family, please take a moment to forgive and give a stretch of grace to those who haven’t lived up to your expectations. In our heart of hearts I know that we are all simply doing the very best we can.

I have a greater appreciation for my brothers and sisters, my parents and the rest of my family because of going through this. We’ve opened up and had conversations with each other that very well might not have happened otherwise. We’ve loved, laughed, cried and most importantly, we have forgiven. I hope you will reach out to the ones you love and do the same.

I am touched and humbled by the outpouring of love from all of you. It has lifted me up in a time full of sorrow. I can’t begin to express my gratitude in a way that will convey how much it has meant to me. Thank you…I feel so blessed.

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  1. says

    I love this post, Kristen. It’s such a good reminder to all of us. I wish I could reach through the screen and hug you. Moving, touching, beautiful.

  2. says

    Oh, Kristen – I am so sorry for your loss. When I saw you at EVO, I could see a deep concern and pain in your eyes when you spoke of your brother. It was clear to anyone there how much you loved him. You are in my thoughts.

  3. Annette Friesen says

    Kristen, I remember writing a comment on a post around a year ago after you lost someone else, a wonderful woman. I was going through my own trauma with my daughter at the time. You showed me grace then when you took the time to write me a very kind note. I don’t often get a chance to visit my favorite food blogs, but I did today and I was glad I did. Thank you for sharing such precious thoughts at such a difficult time.

  4. Cousin Richard says

    Just read “Giving Grace”
    Thank you and your mom so much for telling us about this posting. Your words help during this time.
    We appreciated so much being included yesterday in the family talk.
    Love Richard and family

  5. Mikki Jordan says

    Have never read your blog & thought I would check it out. I am soooo sorry for your loss of your brother. My heart aches for you, your mother & family.
    Lots of love to you & know you are in my thoughts & prayers.

  6. MaryKay says


    I stumbled on your blog through another, and I am so very sorry about Larry. You loved him and he loved you, and that’s why it hurts so much when we lose someone.

    I will keep you and yours in my prayers.


  7. says

    A beautiful post. Thank you for sharing such wise words during a sad family time. Very sad to hear your brother lost his battle with cancer.

  8. Pat Wogan says

    Kristen, I just re-read this post. Thanks so much for writing it. And thanks to all your friends for their loving comments, as that is what makes the world a better place to live.

  9. says

    This blog post probably contains one of the most important messages you could ever convey to your readers. Well said Kristen, and I am so sorry for your loss. Sending you warm hugs from Cape Town. God bless xx

  10. Karen says

    I am so sorry for your loss, and pray that you are constantly wrapped in the arms of love and support from your family and friends. My husband passed away unexpectedly a little over a month ago; I know your heart is broken but please take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. We are truly blessed and fortunate to have the support and love of our family, friends, coworkers and others, even those who do not even know us personally.

  11. says

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss Kirsten. Your blogpost has moved me in so many ways since we recently lost Tom’s mom to cancer too and so every word you said was double meaningful, Wishing you and your family strength in these times. Hugs Simone

  12. says

    Kristen, so sorry to hear about your loss. It is never easy to lose a loved one, especially so young. Thank you for sharing what you learned about forgiveness and grace, it is something I am working on day after day.

  13. says

    Kristen (also the name of one of my beloved sisters!), your post is so very pastoral and appropriate. We all go through terrible losses at some point, and this is a particularly difficult one, being rather sudden and, presumably, of someone not very old to begin with. One of the most comforting things to know in that loss is that we have been at peace with each other, allowed room for loving our imperfect loved ones and they in turn, imperfect *us*, fully. What a gift. We never know at what moment the end of any relationship will come and your words confirm that the only way through it is to acknowledge and prepare for it as best we can by making all our relationships as graceful as possible along the way!
    Your offering of this wisdom to us others is a generous gift and says that you will go through this with good support yourself, and for both of those things I am very grateful.


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