From her home studio near Seattle, Delilah Rene broadcasts her radio show, Delilah, which is heard by 8 million listeners on more than 150 stations nationwide each day. With heartfelt sincerity, Delilah chats with callers and offers exactly what they need — a compassionate ear. But the heartfelt wisdom Delilah offers listeners about overcoming heartache and grief has been garnered through her own pain. In 2012, she lost her adopted son, Sammy, to sickle cell anemia. Then in 2017, her biological son Zachariah “Zack” died by suicide. And in 2019, her stepson Ryan also passed away.
But even through moments of grief and sorrow, Delilah has found that gratitude helps her in overcoming the pain, especially around the holidays. “On Thanksgiving, we go around the tables — with such a large family, there’s more than one — stand up and share what we’re most grateful for from the past year. We blubber our way through that every year,” Delilah, who has 15 kids and 23 grandchildren, shares with Woman’s World in an exclusive interview for our issue that is on sale now. “It’s my favorite tradition and it has heart-healing power.”
Delilah says she also tries to keep that attitude of gratitude every day. “I believe it’s possible for us to reframe the way we think and first look at the ways we’re blessed.” Here, Delilah shares other ways she soothes her heart when she’s feeling the sorrow of loss.
Delilah’s tips for overcoming grief at the holidays
1. Sing a joyful song
“When I have waves of grief, I will just start singing an old hymn or praise song. I can’t sing well, but I’ll still sing out loud,” Delilah says with a laugh. “The Bible says, ‘Make a joyful noise,’ and I’ll sing it out! It only takes a few minutes for the message that I’m singing about to actually take hold of my heart and physically lift me out of that mire.” A song Delilah draws great inspiration from is “Awesome God” by Rich Mullins. “That song has the power to lift me out of despair in minutes.”
2. Lean on loved ones
“When you’re grieving, you’re not able to do everything you’ve done in years past, so let other people help,” Delilah advises for weathering the holidays after loss. “I have a tradition of doing a lasagna at Thanksgiving, but I let other people do the side dishes. I’ve learned you’ve got to give yourself permission to slow down and let others help.”
3. Keep the faith
“The only thing that truly helps me rise above the pain is my faith. If I didn’t know in my core that God is God and that Heaven is real, I wouldn’t be able to survive,” Delilah candidly confesses. “The hurt, the guilt, the grief is such a weight. There is no way I would be able to stand up under that. I go to Psalms in my Bible app for comfort. There’s so much beauty and peace in the Scriptures that speaks to our hearts. My faith is not a crutch, it’s my hope.”
4. Take a prayer walk
“I do a prayer walk nearly every day. I go outside and observe my surroundings and acknowledge the different things to thank God for. I don’t take my phone out with me; I just connect with God,” Delilah shares of overcoming her grief. “I take time to pray, meditate and clear my mind for just 20 minutes. It helps me deal with all I have going on in my life—it changes everything!”
5. Cook up something sweet
“I don’t have any secret recipes, because if I make something and you like eating it, I love to give you the recipe,” Delilah says, and admits that baking and preparing a dish with loved ones always fills her hurting heart with joy. “I always make something called Pumpkin Dump Cake. The moisture from the pumpkin pie filling and the cubes of butter turn the cake mix into this fabulous topping! I have great memories of always being so full, so happy, so blessed on Thanksgiving, and I remember those moments with gratitude when sadness inevitably threatens.”
Delilah’s Pumpkin Dump Cake recipe
- 1 (29 oz.) can pumpkin puree
- 1 (12 fl. oz.) can evaporated milk
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar (Delilah uses Smidge and Spoon™ Granulated Sugar)
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 (15.25 oz.) package spice cake mix
- ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
- ½ cup melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9″x13″ pan.
- Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs and both sugars in a large bowl. Stir in cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin filling. Sprinkle pecans over cake mix. Drizzle melted butter over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are lightly browned, about 50 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Put a cookie sheet under the cake pan and turn it over once it is cooled.
For more of Delilahs tips, secrets and stress remedies, pick up the Delilah’s issue of Woman’s World online here.
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