I enjoy board games. When our boys were young, we played hours of Monopoly, Scrabble, and Life. Uno, Phase 10, Pass the Pigs, and Farkle have been favorite games we have played with my parents over the years. Dominoes was my mother-in-law’s game of choice. She was really good at it and could not be beat – at least not by me.

Several years ago I was introduced to Bananagrams, a fast-moving version of Scrabble combined with crossword puzzles. I like this game because you have to think on your feet and be willing to change your initial puzzle to adjust to the letters you acquire throughout the game. At a recent staff retreat, I talked one of my friends into playing this with me. He did great! I loved teaching him the game and sharing my passion for words and creating puzzles that Bananagrams requires.

As I have worked through my grief journey, I have discovered that playing games can hold a whole different meaning. It is easy to pretend that everything is fine and you are doing well when in fact your heart is still broken and the last thing you want to do is wake up each day facing your loss. This week has caught me off guard several times as I have realized anew that I am truly alone. Alan really is not coming back. My boys are married and have moved off to begin their own families. A planned life can be changed in an instant.

Grief is not a game. It is for real and in a way it is for keeps. Even after nearly five years, I can feel the loss of my loved one as if it had just happened yesterday. My eyes blur and my throat closes and burns with the unshed tears. However, there comes a point when you have to accept that this is how things are. Life has been forever changed and learning to adapt to it is the only wise option. But it is not easy.

While I enjoy the challenge of adaptability and change required in my favorite game, Bananagrams, I am not so fond of the challenges dealt to me over these past five years. However, I can hold my head high knowing that I have survived. While it is not easy, journeys can changes, plans can shift, and new courses must be charted.

When you feel as if you cannot possibly go on, stop, evaluate all that you have accomplished in your new life, and use those positives to fuel your ongoing journey of grief. I know that the only way I have managed to continue forward movement is due to my faith in God and His strength and direction in my life. It is a comfort to know that when I am tired, I can stop and rest, knowing He is still in control. I do not have to have each moment planned out and I do not have to be perfect, following specific game rules.

Trust that God will help you adapt and figure out the new things you continually encounter as you walk with grief. Keep plugging away and you might just find that you have enjoyed a moment more than you anticipated. The day you dreaded turns out to have been fun after all. You can and will learn to adjust to your new life.

Until next time –


With the holidays approaching, Grief Letters makes the perfect gift for those walking through loss and sadness. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!


Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.