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Repost: Gratitude and Grieving

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

 

Bereaved Parents Month 2020: Is God Punishing Me?


I’ve heard it from more than one bereaved parent.  

I’ve thought it myself.  

“Is God punishing me?”  

Have I done something so terrible that it falls outside the grace and mercy of the God Who sent His Son and so I must pay for it with my own child?

Read the rest here: Is God Punishing Me?

Full of Joy and Safe in His Daddy’s Arms

I’ve mothered things all my life.  

Kittens, puppies, hamsters, other people.  

And then I had my very own children. 

What a privilege to pour my life into them!  What joy to see them grow and mature and become people I not only love but admire and respect!

Read the rest here: Full of Joy and Safe in His Father’s Arms

Bereaved Parents Month 2020: The Missing Never Ends

I’ve learned that there are new things to miss even six years down this road of child loss.  

I’ve learned that any odd moment, random smell, taste,touch, or occasion can pierce that place in my heart that screams, “Dominic should be here!”.  

I’m also learning additional ways his absence continues to shape the family we have NOW.   Dom’s absence continues to impact decisions, expectations, hopes and dreams TODAY.

Read the rest here: Bereaved Parents Month Post: The Missing Never Ends

It’s Perfectly Alright To Be Sad


We shouldn’t need a reminder, but we do.  

The world is so busy telling us to “just do it” or “put on a happy face” or “think positive” that we begin to wonder if maybe we’ve got this grieving thing all wrong.

Read the rest here: You’re Allowed to be Sad

Bereaved Parents Month 2020: But I Had All That BEFORE!


I absolutely understand that when people say things like, “Just think of all the wonderful memories you have” or “He brought you so much joy” they mean well.

Because it’s true-I have beautiful memories of Dominic.  And he DID bring me great joy.

But I had those things BEFORE he was beyond my reach.

Read the rest here:But I Had All That BEFORE!

Grief Is A Tangled Ball Of Emotions


Someone posted this image yesterday on Facebook-they had received a copy in a therapy session and found it a helpful way to picture grief. 

I wanted to share it because perhaps you may find it helpful as well.  ❤

Read the rest here: Grief-A Tangled Ball of Emotions

Bereaved Parents Month 2020: Ten Ways To Survive Hard Grief Days

Even six years into this journey I have hard grief days.

I had one just this week and needed to remind my heart that while I can’t stop the waves from rolling in, I have ways to hang on and ride them out.

There are many, many ways to survive such days but here are ten that have proven helpful to me over and over again.

My hardest grief season begins in November and runs to the end of May.  Thanksgiving through Dominic’s birthday on (or near) Memorial Day are days full of triggers, memories and stark reminders that one of us is missing.

If I could fall asleep November first and wake up in June I’d do it.

But I can’t so I have to employ all the tricks I’ve learned in the nearly six years since Dominic ran ahead to heaven to survive those particularly challenging months.

Here are ten ways I survive hard grief days.

Read the rest here: Taking Care: Ten Ways to Survive Hard Grief Days

Bereaved Parents Month 2020: Singing Hymns That Hurt My Heart


I grew up singing hymns.

I was introduced to praise choruses in my mid-twenties.

I love both.

I used to hear or sing along to them and feel them feed my spirit.

My family sang in choirs, served on worship teams and was rarely absent from church for over twenty years.  Music was part of everyday life with a special bonus on Sundays.  

dominic at gray haven

Now I find it hard to hear and even harder to sing some hymns I used to love. 

Read the rest here: How I Sing The Hymns That Hurt My Heart

Sighing Is My Second Language

Pale.  Flat. Tasteless. 

Yes.

They’d crossed over to that continent where grieving parents lived. It looked the same as the rest of the world, but wasn’t. Colors bled pale. Music was just notes. Books no longer transported or comforted, not fully. Never again. Food was nutrition, little more. Breaths were sighs. And they knew something the rest didn’t. They knew how lucky the rest of the world was.

― Louise Penny

It was absolutely this way for more than the first three years. 

Read the rest here: All The Color Gone

Bereaved Parents Month Post: Mental Health Days

We were so busy in the first few months after Dom left us that I was running on adrenaline and caffeine.

Sorrow, sadness and pain were my constant companions but I really didn’t have much time to think about or process what was happening below the surface in my psyche or my spirit.

Most days were filled with the necessary and urgent.

So it was probably almost six months into this journey I really took a moment to assess the state of my being and it was not good.

Not. good. at. all.

I slowed down a little-found more time to journal, reflect, cry and just breathe while walking trails or sitting outside in the sun.

Fast forward nearly six years and I’ve forgotten how to do that.

I’ve forgotten how to sit still and let the feelings wash over me. I’ve forgotten that if I don’t give myself space and grace to feel, deal and heal I’m doomed to fall deeper down the well of despair.

So today I took a mental health day.

Those of you who work full time know that in many companies it is a perfectly legitimate use of paid time off. In fact, the most progressive organizations encourage employees to pay attention to their own inner voice and stay home if they need to.

It’s harder for folks like me whose work IS home to declare one day a “work free zone” and instead do only the things that feed and nurture our souls. Or do nothing at all.

I’m surrounded by reminders of what I should be doing. And some things simply can’t be left undone-animals need tending, dishes need washing, food must be prepared and doled out.

As a matter of fact, as I’m typing this I feel guilty for not having done as many chores or accomplished as many daily tasks as I normally would have!

I think it gets harder and harder over the years for me to justify the necessity of some time devoted solely to processing the ongoing changes grief produces in my heart, mind and body.

It just seems like I should be-I don’t know-“used” to it by now, “better” at it by now, “more capable” by now.

And, I suppose I am all of those things.

But every now and then I find the normal stress and strain of life combined with the constant hum of missing Dominic wears me down.

So I’m trying to remember that rest is its own kind of “work” and that it is important work.

It’s setting aside time and space for my mind, body and soul to refuel and renew.

Being a perpetual motion machine (or trying to be!) is overrated.

No one can run on empty forever.