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  • Lea Hartline

Healing from Trauma Together: A Journey of Faith and Community

"If we can pass down trauma, we can definitely pass down healing."

  • Michael Lee Brady



Lea Hartline healing is a personal journey but one we must walk after grief.
Lea Hartline, author

This profound statement, shared by my cousin, resonated deeply with me, encapsulating a belief I've long held: We have the choice to pass down either healing or trauma. It's in our control how we process and share the memories of trauma that touch our lives in the most ordinary moments. This quote serves as a powerful reminder to focus on the positives hidden within our toughest challenges, encouraging us to move forward with love and hope.


When I lost Robert, I faced a daunting choice: succumb to overwhelming grief or find a glimmer of light in the darkness and press on. Thanks to a supportive family, incredible friendships, and an amazing community, I found myself surrounded by love that guided me through the pain, enabling me to discover genuine moments of joy, peace, and happiness as I learned to live without my other half.


Our family stories are woven with both hardships and victories, showcasing the resilience inherent in our lineage. My journey through grief has been a balancing act of personal reflection and community support.


"If you laugh, people will say you don't miss him, you didn't love him. If you cry, people will say you're milking it. You can't grieve based on what others say. You will be judged no matter what you do. So, do what you need for healing."

  • Frankie Langham



Westminster Presbyterian church where Robert and I renewed our vows.
Westminster Presbyterian Church Westminster, South Carolina

My mother-in-law imparted these words to me on the day we lost my husband, her son, helping me understand that everyone's grief journey is unique. Grief manifests differently for each of us, but one truth remains: We have a time for grief and a time for joy, and we hold more control over our journey than we might think. It's up to us to decide whether we'll be consumed by sorrow or whether we'll choose to support and comfort our families in their time of need.


Healing is deeply personal yet intertwined with our community's collective strength and support. I've learned that in my grief, it's possible to move forward, share my story, and hopefully light the way for others navigating their own grief. Numerous widows extended their hands in support, guiding me, yet the choice was mine: to be engulfed by trauma and grief or to find the silver linings amidst the darkest clouds.


The path to healing from grief wasn't easy, nor was it without its moments of darkness. However, I realized that dwelling on what was lost only brought more pain to those around me. I felt compelled to heal, not just for myself, but to allow those I love to start their healing process. While some may expect grief to be short-lived, true healing from profound loss might never be complete. However, lingering in the depths of grief indefinitely does a disservice to both ourselves and the legacy of those we've lost.


By sharing my experiences, I hope to process my own healing and offer guidance to others lost in their grieving process. The stories of loss and resilience I've encountered have become a cornerstone of "Life on Faith & Fumes," highlighting the incredible power of community healing. Michael's insight has solidified my belief in the transformative power of sharing our stories, fostering a legacy of healing as enduring as the legacy of trauma we carry.




A reminder that in our worst grief God walks beside us and understands our grief.
Ferndale Historic Cemetery in Ferndale, California

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

(Galatians 6:2)


This passage captures the essence of our journey, illustrating how our shared narratives of grief form a bridge between our individual struggles, transforming personal sorrow into a community united by healing and hope. As we share our stories of darkness and light, we're not merely recounting personal experiences; we're weaving them into a collective tapestry of comfort, envisioning a future where the pain of our traumas is alleviated by our shared strength. This collective endeavor not only helps us navigate our paths but also illuminates the way for others, proving that together, we can turn our deepest pain into a source of shared redemption and resilience.


Every love story shared marks a step forward in dispelling the shadows of mourning, illuminating our collective path with the warmth of mutual understanding and healing. My friend John Millen and I adopted the mantra "Love Continues," embodying the belief that our love for those we've lost lives on through our stories, our families and friends, and our efforts to support others' healing.


Our love endures in our laughter, our tears, and through every shared moment of joy and sorrow. Opting to heal is perhaps the most fitting tribute we can offer, ensuring their legacy flourishes. If we focus solely on the pain of loss, the beauty of their legacy is overshadowed by sorrow. The beauty of their life should not be obscured by our dwelling in trauma but illuminated through our journey of healing.


Together, let's embark on this journey, uplifted by the realization that it's in sharing our vulnerabilities that we discover our collective strength. Through this shared pilgrimage, we honor those we've mourned, weaving a legacy of healing rich with faith, love, and community support.

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Life on Faith and Fumes

Christian blog with stories, devotional and bible studies.

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