Monday, April 1, 2019

The Pain of Losing a Grandchild: Does it Compare with Your Child's Pain?

Grandparents suffer when a grandchild dies. But does their pain compare with their grieving child's pain?

Losing a child sucks the life out of you. Your heart’s crushed beyond repair. You have no strength for life, and you don’t care if life goes on without you or not. Most of the time it seems as thought it would be easier—and more merciful—if it did go on without you. Crawling into the grave with your child seems like a better, more bearable option.

But what about the grandparents pain? The mother or father of the son whose child has died? The grandmother and grandfather who also harbored hopes and dreams for their grandchild, looked forward to spoiling, encouraging, teaching and loving their once-removed progeny? What about them and their pain?

It’s a delicate act, grieving your grandchild, grieving for your child that’s lost their offspring. Should the grief attention be divided equally? What about the anger you—as a grandparent—feel about the loss?

Do you really understand what your child is going through when they’ve lost theirs?

My friend and fellow memoir writer, Mary Lou Forier, shares a beautiful account of her experience with being a grieving grandparent in her recently-published family memoir TALLAK! immigrant.

In the book, she recounts the matriarch, Ellen, Forier’s great-grandmother, loss of several grandchildren. Then Forier reminisces about her own pain.

“My own granddaughter Kaera died of leukemia when she was two years old. I stood by as my son and his wife struggled with weeks in the hospital, then home for a week, then back to the hospital for the next treatment. Kaera’s leukemia did not go into remission, treatment decisions mounted: increase dosage? consider bone marrow transplant? experiment? And finally, the hardest decision of all…stop. Just stop. My pain seemed multiplied, watching the heartbreak of my son and his wife, and feeling the heartbreak of losing my grandchild, but a grandmother’s pain is complex; my son lived, his child died. The grief belonged to him; to claim it for myself felt like trivializing his. In 1879, the death of a child was much more common than in 2012. We supposed, today, that because it was more commonplace, it was easier for the survivors to accept, and their grief was less than we feel today. I disagree. We grieved the same, Ellen and me.”

When I first read this passage during our memoir writers critique group session, I was overwhelmed by Mary Lou’s wisdom and grace in the face of her own pain. The selflessness of her attitude and actions. As a mother who has lost a child, I applaud her.

When you lose a child, shouldering and surviving through your own pain is difficult enough without feeling as though you’re obliged to share it with your own parents, even though you know their hearts are broken too.

Mary Lou got it. She’d never known the suffocating, crushing pain of losing a child herself, so she didn’t pretend she did.

If she had tried to make her pain equal to theirs, I think she would have robbed them of their parental grieving rights, to allow them to fully submerge in the ablution of grief, so they could be restored—body, mind and spirit.

To all of you grieving grandparents, I hear your heart. You are not forgotten. Your pain is real, and deep, and valid.

But know that it is different.

And cling to the truth that God hears your broken heart and grieves with you.


For more encouragement and help in living your best life—physically, emotionally and spiritually, head to my author website It’s your place for spiritual inspiration, hope and healthier living!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Depression (aka Dysthymia or Persistent Depressive Disorder)

It’s a holiday picture of a young woman, her husband, and their grinning three-year old son. At first glance, the woman in the picture looks happy. Her hair is well groomed, her makeup expertly applied, her clothing stylish and flattering. And she wears a big smile.

But a close inspection of her blue eyes reveals a dull haze. A kind of fatigue or flatness.


Nearly everything about her belies her hidden grief.

But it’s the eyes that give away what’s going on in her mind and heart. Her eyes—the window to what’s going on in her soul.

A picture of depression—

I know that picture well. Twenty-five years ago, those eyes were mine. They stare out from a family picture of Chris, me, and our older son Parker taken around Thanksgiving.

But few people recognized my grief and depression. They thought I was doing just fine. At least the ones I didn’t expose my heart to did.

I evidently did a good job of hiding it. On one occasion, when I was sitting in the back of the room waiting to be called to the podium to speak to a cycling group on training and injury prevention, an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in several years approached me to say hi. He quickly looked me over and said, “Well, it looks as though life has been treating you well!”

I just smiled, nodded and engaged him in a brief chat before I spoke to the group, without saying a word about my recent loss. He left thinking life for me was pretty good and blessed.

I must have put on an exceptionally happy face. A camouflage.

The face of depression—

Mine was just one of the many faces of depression, which was kick-started by the grief I experienced after the death of my daughter.  

So many think it must be easy to spot a depressed person. And sometimes it is. For many, their outward demeanor changes. They don’t want to go out, engage, be social. They prefer to sit around at home alone, binge watching television and snacking, or spending most of their time in bed, never changing out of their rumpled pajamas.

But don’t let yourself be fooled. Depression doesn’t always put on the face you expect.

While my outside might have been smiling and put together, my inside felt numb.

I struggled to find joy in anything. I felt trapped and pressured. And the more I tried to be “normal” the worse it got. Eventually I spiraled down into a state of such numbness that nothing gave me joy. And I became ineffective at life.

Thankfully, I had a doctor that recognized my symptoms and encouraged me to take a medical leave of absence from my technical school teaching position to wade through the psychological and emotional healing—the rest of the grief process—I had avoided for eight months. It wasn't the first time he'd suggested it. But now I knew I really didn't have a choice, if I wanted to heal.

But if my going-through-life-looking-normal depression had continued for another two years, I would have moved into the realm of what professionals call High Functioning Depression, also known as Chronic Depressive Disorder, Dysthmia, or Persistent Depressive Disorder.

Become familiar with Chronic Depressive Disorder—

With 350 million people worldwide and 3.3 million people in the United States suffering with this serious disorder, you’re bound to know someone—a family member, co-worker, or friends—who is chronically depressed. And trying to hide it.

Due to the recent suicides of high-profile people and younger and younger children, depression is gaining more attention these days, so discussing it no longer carries the stigma it once did.

Thank goodness.

Know the signs and symptoms of High Functioning Depression—

Because sufferers can look and act so normal, and even be successful and social, recognizing and diagnosing persistent depressive disorder can be difficult.

Be especially alert this time of year—

Christmas can be a challenging time of year for anyone, but for someone who suffers from 
depression—any kind of depression—it can be particularly rough. They may be even more fragile than normal.

That’s why I’ve chosen now to provide you with this beautiful infograph my friends at BetterHelp have put together. In it they highlight:

  • The definition of High Functioning Depression (HFD)
  • The risk factors associated with HFD
  • The 2 sides of HFD
  • The signs of HFD
  • The treatment options

I would encourage you to copy the infograph and post it at work, the gym, your club or any other area you think people might be helped by reading it. (For a larger version of this graphic, go to my author blog at

To learn more about depression, go to BetterHelp.

And if you think you or someone you know is suffering from persistent depressive disorder, or any kind of depression, don’t wait any longer to get help. 

You'll learn more about how online therapy with a licensed therapist can help you, and they'll walk you through the process of finding the best therapist for you, all from the convenience, comfort and privacy of your own home.

Until next week,

bring some hope to the hurting.



Andrea Arthur Owan is an award-winning freelance writer, 
speaker, teacher and blogger. Her nonfiction and fiction works
have appeared in books, secular and religious magazines and newspapers, teaching manuals, devotionals and theater 
productions. She is also a certified fitness pro and licensed, 
ordained chaplain.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Coffee with the Authors: Inspirational Writers Read

Our first Coffee with the Authors: Inspirational Writers Read at Brewd—A Coffee Lounge in Tucson, AZ was a success!

On Thursday evening, July 12, award-winning inspirational writers Janis Van Keuren, Lori Conser, Andrea Arthur Owan, Bee Bloeser, and newly-released book author, David Collis, shared their stories of faith, miracles, searching for God and answers to prayer.

I shared the story about the nurse who gave me such comfort at my son Cory's chaotic birth. It's the story that Cecil Murphey included in his anthology Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware, published by Guideposts. They also used the story on their web landing page. Read "An Angel in Scrubs" here!

Inspiring stories moved the listeners and connected them with the readers!

It was a wonderful evening of fellowship and great food in an intimate setting. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with many saying they couldn’t wait until the next Read. We experienced the truth that well-told stories have the power to move, change and connect us. It was an amazing night!

And many, MANY thanks to Kate and Phil Preble—owners of Brewd—who welcomed us and provided the delicious drinks and eats we enjoyed!

Join Us for the Next One!

We’re planning to make this a quarterly event, so if you’re located in Tucson, and interested in attending as either an inspirational, faith-based writer sharing your story or just an audience member who likes to hear good, inspiring stories that draw you closer to God, drop me a note at LinkedIn or go to my author website ( "Events and Speaking Engagements" page at

Monday, April 2, 2018

Meditation Mondays Is On!

Well, after another several hours of backend work and tech chatting, the new site is up and running! It's still a bit out of sync, menu-wise, but if you want to leave a comment on the post, please click on the "Blog" to leave a comment. You won't find the actual blog on that page (it's on the first page), but you can leave a comment for me!

Go to:

Happy meditating!



Meditation Mondays—Delayed!

Meditation Mondays can be found at!!!

The first post was published April 2.

Please join me as we continue this journey together!

Meditation Mondays can be found at!!!

The first post was published April 2.

Please join me as we continue this journey together!

Hi everyone!

Well, we had a major breakdown on Saturday with the administration part of my new site and blog. While the new post has been written and scheduled, it may not show up due to the login snafu. It took several hours with a handful of tech geeks to get that straightened out, and then we were celebrating Easter yesterday.

Sooo, while the website has been secured, it will probably still show it as in the building stage. You can go to to take a look. I will check at Noon Pacific Time in the U.S. to see if it has gone live. If not, then I will post it here so we can at least get started on this new journey together.

That way we won't miss a day!

While technology is wonderful, sometimes it makes you want to pull your hair out!

Hope you had a wonderful Resurrection Day and are still rejoicing in the promises it holds for us.

Blessings to you!


Monday, March 26, 2018

New Beginnings: Living Balanced!

            Is your day-to-day life out of balance?

            Has your spiritual life grown stale?
            Would you like your emotional life to be better?

            Have you given up on ever being as physically fit as you can be? (Or does being physically fit seem like one big sucking black hole to you?)

            I know my personal answer to most of those questions is a resounding “Yes!” And I've determined that I am going to be determined—and intentional—about making sure that I’m in the constant pursuit of living life better, all of the way around. Better balanced. And I’d love to have you join me!

            In our harried, social-media-saturated world, it's difficult to know just what you should know and what you can pass on, and what is really going to add years to your life and life to your years. If we're honest with ourselves, we need to get honest about how we're living life. We need to wade through the junk, hone in on the important, and discard the waste. But just how do you do that?

            In my new blog and author website——being unveiled April 2, you’ll get insight on:

~ Starting or deepening your spiritual life.
~ Learning the ins and outs of proper, safe exercise and dieting.
~ How to improve and strengthen your emotional health.
~ and MORE!

            You’ll receive spiritual guidance and support to deepen your faith and keep you striving toward the ultimate prize.

           You’ll get inside health and fitness tips I’ve given to recreational, college, professional and Olympic athletes.
            You’ll get pointed in the right direction to well-respected resources you can use to have a healthier, fitter life—physically and emotionally. (And get updated on the latest research, which I’ll break down to make it easy to understand.)
            And all of these tips will be given in snack-sized increments to keep you balanced without being—or feeling—overwhelmed!

            I love helping people tell their stories, for themselves, their families and others who might be encouraged by them.

            I’m passionate about helping you be as healthy and as physically fit as you can possibly be at any age.

            I want you to know that there is a God who loves you deeply, wants to have an eternal relationship with you, and desires that you live the most balanced and prosperous life that you possibly can, right now.

            Together we’ll share our stories and encourage one another to live better lives–emotionally, physically, and spiritually!

            Join me for Meditation Mondays, where we’ll explore spirituality, you’ll deepen your faith, and learn how to live a spiritually energized life!
            Then we’ll have fun together on Workout Wednesdays as we go through the basics (and sometimes complexities) of good health and how to structure a fitness program that works for you!

            (I haven't come up with a catchy name for what we'll be doing Friday, but we'll have one!)

            Combining these three critical components of living will help you have the most balanced life possible.
            I can’t wait for us to get started together!

Until next week, contemplate this special week leading up to our commemoration of the greatest sacrifice and miracle the world has ever known—the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ!


May you prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers (3 John 2).

Photos courtesy of Google Images