A Time To Break Down & A Time To Build Up

by  Chery Gegelman  |  Self Leadership

On June 29th, my parents, sisters and their families were in route from North Dakota and Montana to Oklahoma for a long weekend together.

As I was preparing for their visit I received this message from my aunt,“You all have a great time with your folks, sisters, & kiddos. Those times can be so special.  …Will be thinking of all of you.

On July 2nd,  just three nights later my aunt’s daughter was killed in a car accident.

When my dad made his first phone call to check in with his sister, she was quick to emphasize that we were not to cut our time together short, because of her daughter’s death and that instead we should spend time with the living.

Immediately her words, her strength and her grace reminded all of us of their mother, my grandmother:

  • A woman who was widowed when her first husband was killed in World War II and was left with two small children to raise and years later lost one of those children in a drowning accident.
  • A woman that was both strengthened and softened by those events and instead of becoming bitter she used them as a catalyst to better understand the needs of others and offer help and  hope.

As I’ve pondered the events of the past few days I’ve:

  • Felt incredibly thankful for the lives and the example of both women and found myself hoping for a fraction of their strength and their grace.
  • Examined my own focus and priorities…  “Do I spend enough time enjoying the living?”  
  • Pondered what we will learn as a family, what changes we will make and hoping we won’t forget what we learn.
  • Wondered how this sudden loss will eventually be used to help others.

What about you…  How has a season of loss in your life served as a catalyst for change, hope and healing for you or for others? 


“To everything there is a season…

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn and a time to dance…”

What’s Next? Please leave a comment below to join the conversation…

About The Author

Articles By chery-gegelman
Chery Gegelman was once a frustrated visionary that learned to lead extensive system-wide changes from the middle. Today she is The Founder of Giana Consulting, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two books. Her passion is bringing help and understanding to people and organizations that are leading through change to growth.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Mike Henry  |  06 Jul 2012  |  Reply

Our sympathy is with you and your family. It is important to appreciate the time we have and the people in our sphere of influence. Hang in there. Mike…

Chery Gegelman  |  06 Jul 2012  |  Reply

Thank you Mike.

Deborah Costello  |  06 Jul 2012  |  Reply


Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post. As we reflect on loss in our lives, we realize that it is when we are able to better understand our grief that healing begins. Our grief is a window into the value in another’s life. We grieve because there is something in the person we will miss. This is their legacy. You are already there, pondering the lessons learned and exploring your grief. Your grief reminds us all of important lessons and gives hope that in our season of loss, we may still find strength.

My sympathies to you and your family.


Chery Gegelman  |  06 Jul 2012  |  Reply

Thank you Deb.

April  |  07 Jul 2012  |  Reply

So sorry for this loss for your family. Praying for your aunt! I too have lost a daughter and a parent should never have to bury a child. The pain is unbearable…only through Christ can one survive without that seed of bitterness. It changes you forever; He changes you forever…if you allow it. He is close to the broken-hearted. I believe that when we share that pain, we can be a hope for others. We can use it to grow, to learn, to inspire hope, and to point others to the one true source of hope! Our sweet little ladybug was only 3 months old, but she is still impacting the lives of others through her legacy. http://ladybugjung.blogspot.com/2009/06/whats-in-name.html?m=1

Chery Gegelman  |  08 Jul 2012  |  Reply


Thank you for sharing your story. I can not even imagine what your struggle has been like. I am so glad you are tapped into the source of strength and grace and thankful that you have found purpose and hope in the midst of the pain.

Consider Yourself Hugged,


Jon Mertz  |  08 Jul 2012  |  Reply

Chery, My sympathy to you and your family on your loss. In working through losses like this, our lives gain some clarity on how to live a little better or a little differently. It hits us hard, no doubt. Your strength in sharing with us gives us pause as well. May your strength continue to shine as you work through this with your family. Godspeed, Jon

Chery Gegelman  |  08 Jul 2012  |  Reply

Thank you Jon.

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