Posts in Grief

Unexpected Grief Waves

Recently, I’ve been having a series of small unexpected waves of grief. The waves show up at the oddest time.

I’m sitting on the couch watching episode 4 of the final season of “This is Us” and I’m crying my eyes out. I know, I know. That series in and of itself is a recipe for tears and emotional trauma. But honestly, it pulls me in when I know I need a good cry. 

A couple Sundays ago the worship team sang “Great are you Lord” and I fought hard to swallow the large dry lump that had formed in my throat. The tears didn’t start in response to worship but rather the memory the song sparked. You see, it was his favorite song. Hearing it brought me back to standing in a pew of purple chairs, seeing his hands stick out of the sound room while he belted out the song from the depth of his soul. I brought my attention back to worship and the wave subsided. 

The waves have kept coming – many little ones – unexpected like the tremors before the major earthquake. They show up with Matthew’s quizzical expressions, Isaiah’s 100 questions or inquiries about how the boys are doing. These invariably lead to thoughts of “I wish he could have seen the boys now”.

The irony is, I am at a place of genuine happiness and peace in my life. So it may seem quite strange, in the midst of this satiated state, that grief comes gently knocking. I am sharing this to remind you; it is not strange. Unexpected waves of grief are normal.

I love this quote pic I found on twitter:

I believe, like Scribbles & crumbs, that because love “never ends” (1 Cor 13: 8) we will live with the impression of those who have gone before us. Always. Love may change how it expresses itself, but real love doesn’t just go “poof”.

Allow your heart to feel and then release pangs of “I miss you”. There is no shame in it. Embrace and release. It doesn’t matter if it has been 10 yrs, 10 weeks or 10 days. Embrace and release. Understand dear that grief is a natural response to change or loss of any kind.

Losing a loved one is the most permanent loss or change. No matter how long it has been, that change will be inscribed in your heart forever. Learn to expect unexpected grief. Does that make sense? I hope it does.

There is a “but” though. Grief is not an excuse to stay stuck. Cry when you need to, but get up. 

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Nelson Mandela.

I leave this word with you: The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 . Lean in to the one who is close and willing to save.

Here is a bonus…

Seven Scriptures that Help to Comfort Me in Grief

7 Scripture references to help handle grief
7 Grief Scriptures

These are my personal favorites:

  1. Psalms 73:26 – My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
  2. Matthew 11:28 – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
  3. Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
  4. Isaiah 41:10 – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
  5. John 14:16-18 – …the Holy Spirit of Truth, who will be to you a friend just like me—and he will never leave you. … “I promise that I will never leave you helpless or abandon you as orphans—I will come back to you! ‘
  6. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2,4 – ‘For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; ‘
  7. John 16:33 – ‘I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.’

Write Fully Yours,

Lady Kavan

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A life well lived

On my dresser sits a ceramic green and brown breadfruit. For my non- Jamaican readers, a breadfruit is a round green fruit larger than grapefruit but not quite the size of a whole pineapple. It has a bread like texture that can be roasted, baked, boiled, fried, or dried and ground into flour. This piece of art prominently placed on my dresser was given to me by a person I did not know deeply but whose kindness managed to light up my heart in a very dark time. She was an encourager who gave herself fully to whatever she committed herself to. I could tell as we danced and travelled together, that her passion was for helping others. She passed yesterday, but, I have no doubts about where her soul is resting and how pleased God must be to welcome her home. Holly-Rose’s life was well lived, and I didn’t need proximity to know that. She shone brightly. 

So, with everything that strikes my heart deeply I ask the Lord what lesson I should learn from this experience.  I can think of a few things. First, be a giver, not for your own glory but out of gratitude for God’s many gifts to you. You never know how deep an impact, even something small, given at a Kairos – divine /just the right – moment sends ripples through eternity. I remember how Holly contributed to purchasing school supplies for my sons shortly after Christopher died. It was one of the ways God showed me He hadn’t forgotten me and that He still going to provide. To this day when I struggle with “what if”, that testimony is among the ones I use to encourage my soul to believe God will handle it. You know what the best part was? She never bragged about it. Her generosity was known by those who experienced it. FULL STOP. 

Second Lesson: people don’t need to be up close and personal for you to have impact. A light shone brightly illuminates any room. People will see your good works and glorify God. As I said Holly and I ministered together, travelled together but we were never close enough for me to know her personal life intimately. Yet I remember her generosity, I observed her faithfulness and I sensed genuine joy from her when we interacted. I was challenged by it, and I grew from it. You don’t need a platform with a large audience to have eternal significance. 

Lesson three is more of a reminder. I believe I wrote this quote on my WhatsApp status circa 2016 and I never changed it: “If you only had today, what would you do with it?” I wrote that as I pondered the brevity of the breath we take for granted. Absolutely no one knows for sure the date they transition to the other side of eternity. We are not guaranteed another moment, so we remain grateful for each one. This year, within my small sphere I’ve heard of the passing of the old, the young, the sick and the seemingly healthy. In none of the cases was it expected. We are transient passengers on life’s flight. We don’t know when it is our turn to disembark. So as the cliché goes make the most of today because tomorrow is not promised. 

I leave this bit of scripture with you. Read it slowly and meditate on it: Now, because of your obedience to the truth, you have purified your very souls, and this empowers you to be full of love for your fellow believers. So, express this sincere love toward one another passionately and with a pure heart.  For through the eternal and living Word of God you have been born again. And this “seed” that he planted within you can never be destroyed but will live and grow inside of you forever. For:  Human beings are frail and temporary, like grass, and the glory of man fleeting like blossoms of the field. The grass dries and withers and the flowers fall off, but the Word of the Lord endures forever!  And this is the Word that was announced to you!  1 Peter 1: 22 – 25

Write Fully Yours, 

Lady Kavan 

Worth the wait

Last weekend we celebrated thanksgiving in Canada. As a Jamaican, the concept of a thanksgiving day is still new to me but one I deeply appreciate. Gratitude is one of the things I speak about perhaps ad nauseum. It is a command (1 Thess 5:18) but more important is how much thankfulness is an awesome perspective shifter, emotional balancer and mental stress reliever.  My point is thanksgiving made me pause to reflect on my marriage and how the shift from a long distance marriage to living in the same space was worth the wait. Lest I lose you because you don’t have context let me backtrack a bit and give you the Cliff Notes version.

In 2015, I lost my first husband and the biological father of my boys. In 2017, I officially started dating Carlton who I married in 2018, 6 months after I migrated to Canada. The filing process took us another two and half years which meant a long distance marriage and very little physical connections in between, exacerbated by all the stresses related to a pandemic. In January of this year (2021) he was able to join the boys and I. We have been navigating this new phase since then and can I tell you it’s been a school girl giggly, old soul deep kind of wonderful. Caught up? Good. Now to my thanksgiving reflection.

Our three years apart took us through a wide gamut of human emotions. We were happy to connect daily on video chat, angry that the process felt as slow as cold molasses dripping from the mouth of a jar too small for a spoon. We were sexually frustrated, annoyed that we couldn’t be in the same space physically and exhausted from having to be painstakingly intentional about connecting because we truthfully had to lead different lives. The interesting side effect though, is that we deepened our friendship in ways we would not have imagined we needed. We only had our words, so we had to learn to fight fair, to communicate, encourage, joke around and laugh hard. We learned to trust our intentions for each other and that we were doing what we said we were. We learned in the distance that love is a choice and to remain together we had to choose each other every day.

I think crucially though, we needed space to heal from our individual grief and traumas. I can only admit this in retrospect because  we all have blind spots and neither of us saw it that way. I listened to a sermon recently that pointed out God loves me enough to say no. Ultimately, His goal is my growth into the image of Himself that I already am but haven’t discovered yet. Carlton and I each needed to discover things about ourselves and our relationship with God. God knew it and we didn’t. 

As I reflected on this thanksgiving, I was grateful for this new phase in our relationship. I felt blessed for the steadiness of our  vessel on the sea of marriage. I am grateful for the giddy waves and what feels like a trip to the beach most days. I am overjoyed by how we coordinate and work like a team. But what gives me the urge to scream hallelujah? The time when God said no and allowed us to be apart for three years because He knew we needed it. Selah. 

I want to encourage someone today who is  absolutely frustrated by the “no or not yet” season. I know you have heard it a dozen times and maybe right now if we were in the same space you would throw something at me. I get it. God loves you enough to say no.  ‘For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.’ (Psalms 84:11). So if it is withheld there is a greater,  more important good that He is working out in our lives. Trust Him and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. (Prov. 3:5 -6). God will reveal your “greater good” when you least expect it. 

Write Fully Yours

Lady Kavan

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Last week, my passion for poetry awoke, almost unexpectedly. I had parked poetry writing because I thought I lost a collection of them I had stored away. The truth is any piece of work that flows from your soul remains with you in a sense.I was grieving them. I resigned myself to simply starting over when I heard an internal whisper. “Check your old hard drive again.” I had searched before and came up empty. In obedience, I searched again and as you can predict where this was going I found a folder labelled “poetry” buried 4 levels down in the archive. As I re read the pieces with gratitude I was amazed at how concerned God is with the little things. I remain in awe of how he lovingly restores what was lost. I rejoiced. I cried. I made another copy of the folder and put it within reach. 

There was one piece that stood out as shareable for this season. It is a poem I wrote in 2005; 15 years and a whole lot of life experience ago.


Tears streaming down my face

as volcanic emotions rupture the seams of this frail earthen vessel

and as molten fears roll down hardened cheeks

they remind me of broken cisterns

trying to carry the burden of 

precious water to thirsty souls

Tears streaming down my face

flow from a place dark and cold 

beyond the surface smiles 

and feminine guiles

lay a pain waiting to explode

it’s been brewing for years

and the threads of this patched soul

can’t conceal these putrefying sores anymore

And so they flow with the passion

of rivers on a quest to find the shore

seeking answers mystic as ancient folklores

corroding tightly concealed dungeon doors

waking painful dreams untold

Yes these tears stream down my face

and this time I’ll let them go

let them flow upon diseased waters 

bringing purity and wholeness 

like HIS Blood that has saturated dirty sheets

I’ll let them caress this pain

rain washing this soul clean

I’ll let them remind me of where I’ve been

my tendency to sin

the hope I can only have in HIM

I’ll lay myself upon HIS brazen altar 

pour these tears upon HIS throne

Allow this cistern to be remade whole

sweeping away the dust and the cold 

I’ll come home

to that place of rest in YOU

KLD 30-Oct-05

 My friends, take it from someone who has lost much; God can and will restore what you’ve lost and often I’m more magnificent ways than you can imagine. I leave this encouragement from scripture with you:

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.  Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me.  For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.” Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 TPT

Write Fully Yours,

Lady Kavan

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Imposter Syndrome

I’ve had the title of this post in my draft for a long time. When I say a long time I’m talking about more than a year. It started during the process of designing the cover for my second book. My coach reminded me to use my best selling author title and I cringed. I stared at the evidence, I shared it with the designer but I still felt inadequate and undeserving. I struggled and I still struggle with balancing the concept of humility with the fact that I have a God given message and mandate that I need to have heard. I know for sure that I am Worthy of Life and Love yet my insecurities whisper… “imposter”.

But what place does an imposter syndrome have in the heart of one called chosen by God? God says I am royalty even before I wrote the first word in my books or started a blog page. As a daughter of the God who calls Himself Love, I am loved immeasurably, immensely and immutably. Shouldn’t that be enough? It should be. It is. So why struggle Kavanaugh? Immediately my mind recalls a quote from Marianne Williamson. It’s a popular one. I remember I printed it and had a copy posted on my desk some years ago. It speaks to being intimidated by the light and power within us. Christ is my light. Why would that cause me to retreat or feel insecure?

As I grapple with these thoughts I realized a truth in my own heart. I’m afraid to be different. I’ve always felt “not like the others”. I was either too young, too smart, not smart enough, too small, too quirky, not rich enough, not poor enough. I spent lots of time trying to blend and to be a part of. My special skill is bringing people together, assimilation and finding that middle ground. If I am all things to all people then it increases my chances to be loved by many. Alas my heart needs more healing. So grateful to Holy Spirit who heals in layers. While my skill is usable by God, motive is always the heart of the matter. A good thing can become a bad thing if the motive or rationale is rooted in wrong thinking. I must unlearn any wrong thinking that inhibits me from being who I am called to be.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” M. Williamson.

Here’s my challenge to myself. I’m putting it out there because I need you to keep me honest.

  • I will embrace my different
  • I will not dim my light or retreat to safety
  • I will speak up more frequently

What promises do you need to make to yourself? What wrong thinking is keeping your light hidden? I leave this scripture with you: “So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that your commendable works will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭TPT‬‬
Write Fully Yours,

Lady Kavan

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Grief and Gratitude

Just over a year ago I wrote about my friend Liz (Elizabeth Stanley) who would post a fresh “up and thankful” message every morning as a daily gratitude ritual. Those messages were even more special because I knew they didn’t come from a place of comfort. She was battling cancer again and this time the doctors were less hopeful. Not Liz. She fought hard, she fought well and what was most inspiring for me is that she fought with joy and worship. Liz went home on March 20, 2021. I imagine her hailing her friends, worshipping extravagantly and reasoning with the elders. I feel that familiar sting… the dichotomy of being happy she is resting and sad that she had to leave.

I met Liz at church almost 10 years ago. At the time she was a new convert excited about the word, grateful that Jesus snatched her from the pits of hell and cancer. She was in remission. She reminded me of the woman at the well who at the discovery of living water went and told everybody. Emphasis on the everybody. Liz always invited people to church but more so invited them to see the Jesus she met at her own well. She was a city on a hill that could not be hid. She had discovered a fresh spring and new joy in Adonai and everyone who knew her knew it. Liz was bold.

I already miss her up and thankful posts. Liz was an inspiration to be grateful and to worship through it all. Can I truly say that I am like that naturally? I mean in the way Liz was. I confess, I sometimes get internally “complainy” and weighed down before I start making my gratitude list. Getting back to that place of gratitude and worship always takes my eyes off the circumstance and squared on the Giver of All Good Things. When I reflect on Liz I think of Phillipians 4 and I am challenged and encouraged to increase my resolve to “Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One !” Philippians 4:4 TPT

I know I talk about gratitude and grief a lot. Loss reminds me of the brevity of life. It reminds me that we are but a whisper reverberating through the waves of time. I must make my whisper count. Gratitude keeps me grounded and focused on what matters; God, the relationships he blesses me with and the opportunities to help someone else feel less alone and less pain. While I live the purpose is Christ when I die it’s gain for me. Liz has gained her crown and I am happy for her. I just miss those up and thankful messages. Her light continues to encourage my heart to worship. 

Write Fully Yours,

Lady Kavan

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