This is a blog that I've thought and prayed about for quite awhile and so I thought I would let you know  both a bit about myself as well as the path that has led me here.

 Most often when we introduce ourselves, we begin not just with our name (Jennifer Boyd) but also our occupation (Lutheran Pastor).  These two things connect us to family as well as to what makes up a good portion of our day to day lives.

As a pastor, I have walked alongside many people over the years as they lived amidst grief and sorrow. I have helped them to honor and celebrate the lives of loved ones.  I have sat with them when the grief was so overwhelming that mere words were inadequate.  From planning funeral and memorial services to praying with and for them as they walked through these difficult times, it has been my humbling privilege to be with many in their time of mourning.

In the midst of my own personal life, grief has been a companion from a very early age.  The loss of my twin at birth and my father before I was 4 years old, taught me that grief is an inextricable part of life.  The death of too many family members and friends over the years often burdened my psyche and took hold as an ever present depression (since managed through medicines).  The words "why so many" and "why me" framed my days to the point that my life felt like one marred only by regret and fear of loving as they too would most certainly leave.

I met a man who by his very existence challenged this perspective.  Michael Boyd not only lived with Cystic Fibrosis - a disease that previously saw the death in childhood.  By the time that I met him, he was 49 years old and had had a bi-lateral lung transplant 12 years previously.  He looked at death square in the face.  Through the sorrow of another family, he was given the gift of life.

While his life took on new meaning and purpose, it was not a guarantee of "happily ever after."  Between the anti-rejection drugs and numerous infections, he knew that there was always the danger of death.  When we met, I had the choice of going back to my life before him or taking the risk in being with him for whatever time we might have together.  I chose the latter!

We had 10 years and 10 days of loving each other.  In and since that time, I have learned the gift of mourning  - yes, gift!  I have come to new understandings and appreciation for grief.  While we may each experience and approach grief differently, we will all encounter it in some form throughout our lives - not just through the death of others.

This blog as well as a Facebook page will offer my own reflections - pastorally and personally.  I will share various resources - from books, music, articles as well as memes and quotes from others.

I hope and pray that it may help in each person's journey through those dark valleys.

Peace, Pastor Jen Boyd

In the summer of 2022, I was certified as a Grief Counselor by the American Academy of Grief Counseling (a division of the American Institute of Health Care professionals).  I am available for individual counseling if you or others are in need of someone to walk with you.