Gratitude does not undo grief.
There, I said it.
Gratitude is important. It is (in my opinion) a necessary ingredient for a healthy and hope-filled and useful life. It is the key to any real happiness a heart might find on this broken road.
But it cannot fill up the empty place where Dominic used to be.
Grief does not preclude gratitude.
Although some broken hearts swear it does.
Read the rest here: Gratitude and Grieving: Appreciating What I Have, Acknowledging What I Miss
I originally shared this post a couple of years ago when I was delightfully surprised by a row of beautiful sunflowers one morning just when I needed them most.
It was the beginning of a long, hot and very stressful summer.
Many of us are feeling the same way about this one.
When I ran across this reflection, I decided to share it again. I hope it makes your heart smile. ❤ Melanie
I love, love, love sunflowers!
I love their bright aspect that brings a smile to my face no matter what mood I’m in or what trial I’m facing. Their happy, heavy heads declare that today is a day to shine!
Read the rest here: Sunflowers Sing Praise
What’s changed and what is still the same six years down the road of child loss?
I’ve thought about this a lot in the past few months as I prepared for, greeted and marked another year of unwelcome milestones since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
Some things are exactly the same:
- Whenever I focus solely on his absence, my heart still cries, “Can he REALLY be gone?” I am STILL A Mess Some Days….
- The pain is precisely as painful as the moment I got the news.
- It’s just as horrific today to dwell on the manner of his leaving.
- I miss him, I miss him, I miss him. I live every day with his Tangible Absence.
- I am thankful for his life, for the opportunity to be his mama and for the part of me shaped by who he was.
- The absolute weight of grief has not changed. The burden remains a heavy one.
- Daily choices are the difference between giving up and going on. I have to make Wise Choices in Grief.
- My faith in Christ and my confidence that His promises are sure is the strength on which I rely. I have been Knocked Down But Not Destroyed.
- I passionately look forward to the culmination of all history when every sad thing will come untrue.
Some things are very different:
- Dominic’s absence is no longer all I see.
- Sorrow and pain are no longer all I feel.
- I’ve learned to live in spite of the hole in my heart-his unique place isn’t threatened by allowing myself to love others and pouring my life into the people I have left.
- Joy and sorrow are not mutually exclusive. They live together in my heart and I can smile and laugh again while still pining for a time when things were different and easier.
- I am Stronger because I’ve carried this burden for years. I’ve learned to shift it from side to side.
- The darkness has receded so that I see light once more. I’m not as prone to fall as fast down the dark hole of despair.
- My heart longs for reunion but has also learned to treasure the time I have left here on earth.
I’ve never hidden the struggle and pain of this journey.
But I don’t want those who are fresh in grief to think that how they are feeling TODAY is the way they will feel FOREVER.
By doing the work grief requires, making wise choices and holding onto hope a heart does begin to heal.
I am not as fragile today as I was on the first day.
And I am so, so thankful for that. ❤
I remember the early days after Dominic ran ahead to Heaven when people were still checking in often on our family.
Some days there were a dozen or more messages that really, really needed an answer.
But I just couldn’t.
“How are you?” is often a more difficult question than you might think when your world is falling apart.
I wanted to tell the truth about how hard the days were and harder still the long dark nights but it felt too personal, too frightening and too likely to be misunderstood by a heart with no frame of reference.
So most of my responses looked something like this:
Eventually I found out who the safe people were and began to share more openly.
The others-the ones who weren’t safe or who were only asking out of a sense of curiosity or obligation-simply stopped asking when they didn’t get the answers they were looking for.
I’ve learned to give hurting hearts space.
I give them permission NOT to answer.
I want them to know I care but I don’t ask penetrating questions that might require answers they aren’t prepared to give.
Because I remember how that felt. ❤
I remember struggling mightily to get four young children to church Sunday mornings.
At the time we attended a larger church that had a couple of parking lots-one near and one not-so-near the entrance.
Of course, I was never early enough to park very close to the doors so had to shepherd all four (while carrying the youngest in his car seat) across a small lane, up a hill and finally to the foyer.
What a blessed relief when some kind person opened that door for me as we approached!
It wasn’t much in the whole scheme of things.
It didn’t relieve my aching arms of the load I carried.
But it said, “I see you. I want to do the little bit I can to encourage you.”
I have never forgotten those days.
Opening the door taught me that sometimes the smallest act of kindness is the difference between a heart giving up or hanging on.
I’ve had a lot of people “hold the door” for me on this journey of child loss.
Most of them have not walked in my shoes but they could see my soul was worn and I needed encouragement.
For that I will be eternally grateful.
Before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven I would not have described myself as “anxious”.
Of course I had my moments, but anxiety, panic or worry was not really something I experienced on a regular basis.
Read the rest here: Anxiety After Child Loss Is Real
It happens most often when things are very quiet or I’m trying to drift off to sleep.
My mind will rehearse the moment the doorbell rang, or the phone calls I had to make, or-worse yet-imagining what, exactly, Dominic experienced when he left the road and plowed through bushes until he was thrown from his motorcycle and died.
Once my thoughts begin to follow that track, it’s so hard to derail them.
It used to be absolutely impossible.
Read the rest here: Grief Coping Strategy: Derailing A Negative Train of Thought
There is so much going on right now in our country and our world that hurts my heart.
I could get on my soapbox and pontificate about what policies should be or what politicians should do but my tiny voice wouldn’t make a difference on the grander stage.
My world is pretty small in comparison to social influencers and the ones who want to be.
Even still, what I do and what I say each day matters.
It matters to my family and my neighbors.
It matters to the folks with whom I share social media space, the road and the grocery aisle.
So I make it a habit to extend and receive grace.
I extend it when someone else’s experience informs an opinion different than my own. I extend it when someone posts a meme or article with which I disagree. I extend it when I scroll past what I consider offensive-just ignore it and go on-instead of “taking them to task”.
I receive it when my friends do the same.
It’s not my job to police everyone else on the planet.
It IS my job to live according to my profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
Grace-unmerited favor-poured out abundantly on me and available for me to pour out on others.
I can do that. ❤