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
It would be so helpful if there was an app to track stress like there is to track spending.
Wouldn’t it be marvelous to get an alert that said, “Low Balance”, for mental, physical and psychological reserves like the one you can get for your bank account right before you are heading to overdraft territory?
But there isn’t.
And few of us are very good at gauging just how much is left in our mental wellness accounts which means we often keep giving when the well is more than dry.
I’d be lying if I said I spend the same amount of time crying, lamenting and bent over in agonizing pain that I did in the early days of mourning Dominic. I’ve found a way to keep him close, to trust his soul to Jesus and to (largely) live in the present instead of always longing for the past.
There are days, though…
Read the rest here: How Stress Impacts Grief
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:
Read the rest here: Sorry I Haven’t Texted Back
“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” ~ Tuesdays with Morrie
A parent’s love doesn’t end simply because a child leaves this earth.
The relationship is not over as long as a bereaved parent’s heart beats.
Read the rest here: “Death Ends a Life, Not a Relationship”
After the flurry of activity surrounding the funeral, our house was so, so quiet.
Even with the five of us still here, it felt empty.
Because Dominic was gone, gone, gone and he was not coming back.
And the silence pounded into my head and heart until it became a scream:
How do I DO this?
Read the rest here: How Do I DO This? The Question Every Bereaved Parent Longs to Ask
If you’ve never been caught short in the midst of an unexpected downpour you might not know how important refuge under the boughs of a cedar or oak tree can be.
Living in the middle of woods, punctuated by open pastures, I’ve retreated more than once to the safety of thick boughs which limit the rain’s ability to soak me through.
I have memorized every safe haven between the road and the middle of my 34 acres.
Faithful friends are like those sheltering trees-offering respite to a weary heart, providing a safe space to take a breath, granting protection when we are pursued by the enemy of our souls.
Read the rest here: We All Need Sheltering Trees
I think it was somewhere around two months from Dominic’s departure when my heart realized life was moving forward whether I granted permission or not.
Not only folks on the fringes and the “bigger world out there” but close by-in my own family, my own circle of intimate friends-people were making plans, having birthdays, going places and doing things.
I wanted to scream.
Read the rest here: Child Loss: Finding Courage to Face the Future
I try not to pull the “life’s short” or “you never know” card on people very often.
But there are lots of times I want to.
When you’ve said a casual good-bye to a loved one thinking it’s not that big of a deal only to find out the last time was The LAST Time, you learn not to let things go unsaid or unmended.
It’s never too late to begin the habit of speaking love, blessing and encouragement to important people in your life.
Even if it makes them (or you!) uncomfortable.
Maybe especially then.❤
I’m not sure when I began practicing this but I make a habit of telling people I love them even if it makes them uncomfortable.
Read the rest here: Just. Say. It.
There’s a kind of relational magic that happens when people who have experienced the same or similar struggle get together.
In an instant, their hearts are bound in mutual understanding as they look one to another and say, “Me too. I thought I was the only one.”
It was well into the second year after Dominic ran ahead to heaven that I found an online bereaved parent support group. After bearing this burden alone for so many months, it took awhile before I could open my heart to strangers and share more than the outline of my story.
But, oh, when I did! What relief! What beautiful support and affirmation that every. single. thing. that was happening to me and that I was feeling was normal!
Read the rest here: What I’m Learning From Other Bereaved Parents
I have family members and friends who are facing situations where they feel alone and lonely.
Some are wondering if God is listening, if He cares, if He sees, if He actually even knows they exist.
I get it-really I do.
When awful storms cross your own threshold and you’ve previously clung to the notion that God is everywhere, that He is good and that He is controls everything; it’s hard to square that with what you’re experiencing.
I can’t answer all your questions. Goodness, I’m waiting for my own to be answered!
But I can tell you that I am absolutely, positively convinced that the Lord of Heaven, our Shepherd King-Jesus-sees you, knows you and loves you.
And I pray His Presence is made manifest to you today in whatever mess you find yourself in.
Have you ever wondered why there are lists of names in the Bible? Do you, like me, sometimes rush through them or pass over them to get to the “main part” of a story?
But look again, the names ARE the story.
The God of the Bible isn’t the God of the masses. He is the God of the individual.
Read the rest here: He Knows My Name
I remember walking down the grocery store aisle after Dom left us wondering if the face I smiled into was faking it like I was. I wondered if they were hiding behind pleasantries because they form a good shield.
I imagine, on some level, most were. Because nearly everyone has a secret wound.
Read the rest here: Broken Hearts Hiding Behind Small Courtesies