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Healing Through Analogy


Grief is like a ball and a box. Have you ever heard this analogy before? I read about it several years ago, and I have found it to be incredibly helpful. I've shared it with others grieving, with the hope that it will resonate with them as much as it has with me. God equips us to help others where we once were, which is why I have a heart to share. It’s an opportunity to turn something painful into something purposeful. Back to the ball/button/box analogy. The idea is that your grief is a ball in a box. When your grief is fresh, the ball takes up the majority of the box, and as time goes by, your ball gets smaller and smaller. The box also includes a button inside, representing your pain. Early on, your large grief ball constantly hits the pain button, but as time passes, it will hit less and less. But then, every once in a while, though your grief ball might be small, it will occasionally hit the pain button. And, out of nowhere, you are transported back to the time of grief, and it hurts just as much or even more as when you were going through it.


I have found this analogy to be helpful in my (and my family’s) grief journey related to our daughter Izzy’s cancer experience. Recently, I was chatting with someone who was sharing about a family illness and how they didn’t have many answers and were so consumed by all the things going on with their loved one and unable to help. I immediately felt that same sense of helplessness as I remembered what it felt like to be in that situation. I think my grief button was pushed just a little bit that day. It’s a good reminder, and it goes to show that we don't just “get over grief.”


I hope you find this analogy helpful. Below you will find the original post I read several years ago. I hope it will help you or those you are close to understand why sometimes their grief feels very present and other times not. Thanks for reading!


Amanda Sullivan is a faith-driven mother of twins, one of which is a childhood cancer survivor. She has turned her pain into purpose by sharing her family's experience, telling Izzy's story, and supporting other moms who are walking a similar journey. She works full-time as a nonprofit executive, loves adventuring with her family, and in her spare time, fills her cup by pouring into other moms through her wellness business.


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