How Do I Survive Trauma?

by Roger Barrier

I received the following letter from a thirteen-year-old girl in the UK. What’s happened to her breaks my heart. What would you say that might answer her question? How might you ease her pain and heal her heart.


I’ll share my letter to her and then give you a chance to help her, too. Use the “Comments” section to writer her a letter. I’ll forward your counsel to her. Thanks for your help. I know she will appreciate it.


By the way, I get way too many letters like this one. They remind me that it is a hard world out there. Thank God for a Jesus Christ who cares and can heal the deepest recesses of the human heart.


Dear Roger,

My mum died 11 years ago and I’m now 13 and my dad ran away and my grandparents won’t tell me how it happened. All I can remember is her ringing the door bell. then I answered it and she was on the floor, dead. (Name withheld)”  

Dear Name Withheld,

I read your email and don’t know what to say. No words can ever approach the depth of the pain you are suffering. I grieve for what you’ve experienced. No one should ever go through that. I can’t imagine the shock and pain of seeing what you saw–no matter who was dead–and especially for it to be your mom. Life was never designed to be this way. I imagine that Jesus was grieving as He watched what happened to you mom and also as He has watched the pain and grief that I know you are experiencing. I am so sorry for what happened to you.


I would imagine that you would love to know what really happened. Perhaps some day you will. However, some things are better left alone. I would recommend that you pray and ask the Lord Jesus to let you know at just the right time and in just the right way what occurred when you were two. If it is best for you not to know, then trust that the Lord Jesus will help you put the tragedy behind you and then to help and strengthen you for a great life ahead.


Try not to obsess with all sorts of imaginings while trying to put the pieces together of what happened to mom and dad. The Bible says that a lot of empty speculation can bring on more misery than it is worth.


You might pray for Jesus to protect you from any long-term emotional hurt and pain. You also might consider asking Him to help you heal the hurts inside. It sounds to me that your grand parents are raising you. If so, thank God for someone who cares enough to take you in and care for you.


By the way, it is so easy to focus on your own pain and miss the fact that your grand parents are also in great pain. Was your mom their daughter? The pain of losing a child is incredible. I know. I lost one. Was you dad their son? If so, then they have lost more than you can now imagine—a broken relationship with your own child has its own peculiar pains.


Pains and hurts are healed by receiving comfort. Jesus said, “Blessed are they who mourn for they shall receive comfort. Perhaps you have some friends to whom you can open up and share? I hope so. Their comfort can bring much healing. You might consider mentioning to your grand parents that you know that they are hurting. Comfort them. Tell them how sorry you are for their loss. As you comfort them they may open up and begin to comfort you. Deep hurts need much comfort to get well.


Finally, you might consider getting some professional counsel from people who know how to lead you to get well. I hope you can find a good counselor, I’m praying that Jesus will help heal the emotional and mental wounds, protect you from scars and give you a great life ahead.


Again, I hurt so much for you. At times like this in my life, I pray for the Lord Jesus to pour in the power and give me live victoriously no matter the circumstances. As I write this, I am praying the same thing for you.


Again, I am so sorry.


Love, Roger


Dear Readers,

Now it is your turn. Please write a word of encouragement. I know she will be blessed by what you say and the advice you give.

Thank you, Roger

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