A Letter to Vanessa Bryant — From One Sudden Widow to Another

Dear Vanessa Bryant,

I’m so sorry for your loss. To lose your husband is a devastating loss, but to lose your precious daughter also…it seems unbearable.

I was 43 when my husband and the father of our three children was killed in a tragic snowmobile accident. One moment we were saying “I love you” and enjoying the day…the next he was gone. The shock was so palpable that it was as though I had fallen into the icy cold of the glacier’s deep crevasse.

I don’t pretend to know what you’re feeling or experiencing, Vanessa. I’m praying for you and your children and all of those around you. And I hope my words will give you some comfort in your sudden grief. 

Every morning is a reminder…for a time. 

In the first few weeks that you awaken, you will experience losing your husband and daughter again and again. You will open your eyes and for a few brief seconds, you will have forgotten. Then the dawning will fall on you and your heart will break anew. I spent so many mornings crumpled by the sadness of again coming face to face with my husband’s death almost as if it were the first time. This “twilight grief” will go away. I don’t know how long it will be, but by God’s grace…you will not hurt as much as you do now.

You’ll long for your husband.

No marriage is perfect, but you and your husband chose marriage continuously. Through all the ups and downs, you hung in there and bravely chose commitment every.single.day. Death took that away from you. You didn’t want to stop being a wife, a lover, a best friend, a companion. It was ripped from you suddenly and you’re left longing. Longing for his smell…his touch…his voice. Aching to make love again. To feel his body against yours. You will ache for him.


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Loss will deliver compassion for others.

Losing my husband suddenly and the shock of grief that came with it taught me to never judge how someone grieves. After Mike’s death, I had family members who went off the deep end of alcohol abuse and negative choices after losing their spouses. And I got it. I understood that they were doing WHATEVER it took to soothe their pain. It’s very hard to judge another’s grief after sudden loss. It hurts so much.

Do whatever you need to do to feel better…with boundaries.

Listening to the loudest rock music soothed my angry spirit for awhile. Weeping as I watched episodes of “A Wedding Story” helped at other times. Shopping, redecorating, taking classes, reading voraciously…they all had their place in my grief journey. For a time. Support groups didn’t help me, but that’s just me. I felt propelled to move from the “camp of death” and to pursue life. My children needed that from me.

I learned just “to be.” To be present with myself. Be present with my grief. Be present with God as He lovingly carried my children and me through such deep loss. Listen to your spirit and do what soothes you. Avoid the “shoulds” right now. Avoid the people who all of a sudden want to become your friend to support you. You don’t have the energy for new friendships. Just be with those who have loved you before this day.


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Christine Yount Jones
Christine Yount Jones
Christine Yount Jones is Content Director for Outreach Media Group. She has published several books and hundreds of articles about ministry in the last three decades. Before his death in 2003, Michael Yount and Christine had three children. Now, she and her husband, Ray Jones, together have five grown kids.

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