Milk and Honey Magazine interview with Kaitlin Wernet, author of The Book of Comforts, on finding peace when experiencing a family death or tragic loss. There is hope for you!

Finding Hope In Loss

M&H Staff

Chances are at least once in your life you’ve come head-to-head with a difficult experience that has overwhelmed your heart with grief. For some people, forever grief is engrained in their lives and part of their overall identity.

If you’ve sought out books to serve you, you’ve probably been very disappointed! Grief books are usually grey in color and the cover is saturated with perceived sadness. Grief is awkward and people on both ends do not always know how to process it.

Kaitlin Wernet joined three others (Rebecca & Caleb Faires, Cymone Wilder) to write The Book of Comforts. In the book they’ve created a sense of true comfort for those dealing with troublesome times. They get it.

Wernet's brother passed away in a tragic accident and it changed her life. Kaitlin has used her grief to inspire and implement real change through CHRIST. Through The Book of Comforts, she hopes she’ll be able to fill the void for others and provide that support system that is missing. And if youv'e gone through hurt, please know: you are LOVED!

Let's get to know Kaitlin!

What pain did you experience leading you to write this book?

My younger brother Kendall—my most favorite person in the whole world—passed away unexpectedly at the age of 20 when I was 22. His life ending at the time my adult life was just beginning was and is the hardest thing I’ve faced. Out of all the things I’ve looked to for comfort and encouragement, God’s Word is the only thing that provides genuine light in the darkness.

How did your family deal with tragic loss?

The only way possible—One day at a time. Aside from my own personal loss, the arguably worst part is having to watch my parents go through the same pain. We all had our own ways of dealing with it, but at the end of the day, we were the only ones who truly knew what one another felt. Dealing with tragic loss together, even though it’s incredibly painful, is necessary. I’m so grateful for my parents and proud of the ways we have rallied together to overcome hard situations.

How can we encourage our friends who experience loss?

Such a good question! It can be so difficult to know what to say to our friends who are hurting. But having been on the other side, I promise that it’s just as awkward to know how to act. While my best suggestions include marking hard anniversaries on your calendar, continuing to check in, and helping to run errands or make decisions, it all comes down to showing up. Be a good friend, and I promise that you already know how.

Resources you recommend when going through loss?

Honestly, the reason my friends and I wrote The Book of Comforts is because the book I wanted didn’t exist. We intentionally created it with three specific elements we thought were missing from other grief books:

It’s beautiful. If suffering is the ground God uses to refine us and help us know Him more, why can’t grief books portray this beauty? It’s our story. This book was written from three perspectives—mine as well as Caleb and Rebecca Faires’. Our circumstances and the pain we’ve faced in the past is different, but all of our stories point to the gospel and the fact that we all need each each other.

It’s true. The Book of Comforts isn’t a how-to guide for suffering. It’s a Scripture-focused book that consistently points to God as our One True Comfort.

My favorite Bible verse that I kept clinging to was Psalm 139, especially the part about God hemming us in, behind and before. That image is so comforting.

How can we continue to trust God after a loss?

When your life is suddenly turned upside-down, it’s easy to wonder if you can trust any of the things you’ve believed in until this point. Thankfully, God is who He’s always been, and we can trust Him to show us that, even if our lives look different than we planned. We can’t trust God on our own weakened terms, but we can ask Him to show us that He is still good and to remind us of His faithfulness even when we don’t understand.

If you could sum this new book up in one sentence...

The only true and lasting comfort comes from God.

Ways to overcome loss?

It’s different for everyone, and the things I recommend may not necessarily be the same things that are comforting to you, so make sure to pay attention to the things that help or hurt. Grief also changes over time, so the things I turned to a few years ago are different than they are now. But regardless of season, reading God’s Word and remembering His promises to me has always been comforting.

Other than that, my community has been everything. Finding friends who understand that certain days are more difficult than others and who will be there if I don’t want to be alone has been incredible. Be open and honest about what you’re going through with the people around you, and I think you’ll be surprised by the ways it deepens your relationships and teaches them how to be a better friend. I also love exercising, counseling, reading, and writing.

If you're expeiencing loss, order The Book of Comforts, dear girl.


And here's our M&H encouragement for you, with love:

Psalm 46:1-3 - God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 

Proverbs 18:10 - The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.

Nehemiah 8:10 - Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Exodus 33:14 - My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.

Psalm 32:7-8 - You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Deuteronomy 31:8 - It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Psalm 34:17 - When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.

Isaiah 43:1-3 - Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.