Why We Don’t Visit Tori’s Grave

We’ve never written about this before, but I think it’s important.

Let me preface with this: we know many people do things differently than we do so there’s no judgment at all. Everyone needs to do what their hearts need for healing.

This may surprise some of you, but we don’t visit Tori’s burial site (resurrection site, as we like to call it).

We don’t decorate it, we don’t spend time there. In fact, the only times we’ve been there were to show out of town visitors where it is, as it’s difficult to give directions.

It’s been nearly two years since we’ve gone there, and the reason is likely not what you think.

We feel no need to go there because SHE ISN’T THERE. Her soul is in Heaven, and we don’t need to sit at her grave to be reminded of that.

We don’t decorate it for holidays or leave anything there because she isn’t there, she won’t know we did that, and it doesn’t feel necessary to us.

If you’ve read Even So, Joy you know that we believe that death isn’t something to be feared or held onto – it’s a temporary separation and we will be reunited again!

So, for us, it never even crosses our mind to go to where her broken, earthly body was buried. We’d rather focus on changing the world around us and choosing joy as her legacy.


Brennan and I don’t always feel free to express our perspective on how to deal with child loss because we seem to be the minority. We feel like we have to stay quiet because we are doing so well.

But, here’s our perspective:

If I consider this situation from a different angle, the way to live is obvious.

If I were the one in Heaven, how would I want my parents to live? Would I want them to stay in bed, crying every day, wasting their life away, or would I want them to LIVE an abundant life because that’s what I would be doing in Heaven?

I’d want them to LIVE. To have JOY because of the impact I had on their lives. I’d want them to celebrate my life, not dwell on my absence.

This is how we view our life now that Tori is in Heaven. Our joy doesn’t come from her absence – we have joy because she existed. Her death didn’t change me – her existence did.

Tori comes up in conversation daily, especially now that we see so much of her in her little brothers. We think about her all the time but those memories bring joy, not tears.

I don’t believe that our loved ones can see us from Heaven, but if they can I certainly wouldn’t want Tori to see us wasting this short life we’re given. I’d want her to see us making the most of it, joyfully, just like we would if she were with us.


Tori may not physically be here, but we don’t have to go to her grave to see evidence of her impact. We see it every day in her brothers, in our memories, and in the legacy she has.

As tragic and horrible as it is, I don’t believe that child loss has to derail our entire lives. Shape it, yes. Ruin it, no. It’s a choice that has to be made daily, and we choose to be joyful. ❤️


If you’d like to get a copy of “Even So, Joy: Our Journey through Heartbreak, Hope, and Triumph” you can do so here.

9 thoughts on “Why We Don’t Visit Tori’s Grave

  1. I didn’t want to comment this directly on Facebook , because I don’t want my husband to see what I have to say . But I am in COMPLETE agreement with you on this one 💕 He lost his father two years ago , and my in law’s are very big on the whole graveside visitation on a very regular basis , decorating them and all . Every year on my youngest birthday now , (and she’s the same age as sweet tori – just 3 months older), we first have to stop at the cemetery for birthday donuts , because it was also my father in law’s birthday that same day . I’m sure he goes by to visit the grave often without me as well, since we live really close by . Whenever we drive by my grandparents graves , who are buried in the same cemetery , I always get SUPER sad- not how they’d want me to remember them ! They are not in those plots , they are in heaven 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My dad passed away this last year. I visit his and my mom’s garves once since then. Everytime since then that I considered going to their gravesides and linger, I kept hearing these words in my spirit, ” Why do you seek the living among the dead?” I know they are with Him in heaven. You are so right, Lisa. She is, they are, not there. Hugs! Hope you are all dry and safe. Virtual hugs from Red Lion

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lisa my husband ‘s son died 27years ago and he rarely goes to cemetery He has a Mass for his birthday not the day he passed. Happy rather than sad day he said We all grieve and do whatever is right for us. Like your thoughts. Hope boys are well and getting big ❤️🙏❤️🙏

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  4. We chose to have our daughter cremated and plant a beautiful tree by her ashes. We didn’t own a home at that point so the tree is planted at our church. Since then we have had 2 houses and at each we planted the same type of tree. It brings a smile to my heart and I find it comforting. The tree is a symbol, to me, of her life, not her death.

    After Abby died we would take her 2 younger sisters for picnics at the church, under Abby’s tree. It was a good place for us to talk to them about their big sister without it being a sad time. Abby was always, always a part of our conversations with her sisters.

    Everyone handles grief differently. Some do find comfort in going to their loved ones gravesites. We found that the tree reminded us of her everlasting life, not her death.

    Abby’s earthly body wasn’t “compatible with life” (very much dislike that phrase, by the way). Her heavenly body is perfect.

    Abby would have been 35 years old in January. She saved her sister’s lives. She made me a better person. She gave me perspective. She made me a better mother. She is my angel.

    Thank you, Lesa.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lesa, I have gone back and re-read this several times. I was always amazed how well you and Brennan handled Tori’s passing. I admired you both. After reading this blog for the 4th time, I get it. I admire you two. You are an inspiration to others. I love that you continue to share Tori’s pictures. Those eyes pull you in. That’s how I started following you, those eyes! Tori has taught me about Krabbe. The knowledge I gained comes from Tori. Thank you for sharing this story.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Twenty-Three Weeks | The Adventures of the Brackbill Family…

  7. I completely get it. My dad died in 2000 and I have rarely been to his grave. It does nothing for me. I know he’s not there and he’s with the Lord. I would rather have happy memories than dwell on his death.

    Liked by 1 person

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