Dragging Grief into the Light

During the course of my lifetime I have seen many topics dragged from behind closed doors out onto the stage and under the public spotlight.

Frankly, some of them could have remained in darkness as far as I’m concerned.

But there is something still taboo in polite conversation–something hushed with awkward silence should it ever be spoken aloud in a crowded room–mention GRIEF and eyes drop to the floor or someone hastily throws an arm around you and says, “There, there–it’s going to be alright.”

I don’t blame them.

In my growing up years I don’t remember anyone speaking about death and grief for longer than the time it took to go to a funeral home visitation and stand by the grave as the casket was lowered in the ground.  People were designated by their loss:  He was a widower; she lost a child; her mother died when she was young.

But what came AFTER the loss–not a word.

We need to talk about it.  We need to educate ourselves about it.  Because, like my EMT son says, “No one gets out of here alive.”

You WILL experience grief in your lifetime.

I pray that the people you lose are full of years and ready to go–that you get to say “good-bye” and that all the important things have been said and done so that you aren’t left with extra emotional baggage in addition to the sorrow and missing.

But you never know.  Neither you nor I are in control.

And even in the one place where it would seem most natural to talk about life and death and grief and pain–our churches–it still makes those who are not experiencing it uncomfortable.

Yes, there are grief support groups.  And, yes, they are helpful in ways that only a group made up of people who understand by experience what you are going through can be.

But much of life is spent rubbing elbows with folks unlike ourselves, with parents who know the fear of losing a child but not the awful reality.  And just a little bit of openness, a little bit of education and a little bit of understanding would make such a difference.

So for the next few days I am going to be posting about the grief process itself.  About what grieving parents experience and how friends, family, co-workers and churches can support them.

If you are a grieving parent, I hope these posts will serve as a launchpad for you to have conversations with your own friends and extended family.  If you aren’t a bereaved parent, please commit just the few minutes it takes and consider how you might support someone in your circle of influence who has lost a child.

We don’t want pity.

We aren’t looking for special accomodations that single us out and mark us as “needy”.  But we long for understanding and compassion and the opportunity to tell our stories.



Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

6 thoughts on “Dragging Grief into the Light”

  1. And then, of course, what is the typical response of bereaved parents of pregnancy and neonatal loss, it is say our baby’s name. Write it out (in a text or email which is less intimidating than face-to-face) if they must but SHOW us they still think of our baby, our family. And acknowledge our pain. After awhile, hearing people simply say “she’s always with you” in response to us saying we miss our daughter or we feel so empty, was maddening. YES I have faith she is with God and her spirit surrounds me. But you are NOT acknowledging how very painful it is to miss her. How EMPTY our arms feel NOT to be holding a growing baby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful replies. My loss is of an adult child so it is so very helpful to hear from mamas with other types of child loss.

      I’m right there with you–I HATE the phrase, “he’s always with you”–that is such a non-comfort from my perspective. When you see moms melt down because their kids go off to college and others say, “Oh! That’s so hard!” yet they can’t seem to even get an inkling of what it feels like to NEVER hear, see or touch your child again on earth–it’s hard to hear. Thank you, again. I really appreciate your insight. May God bring others alongside you to encourage you in this journey.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your understanding. I am proud to raise awareness in memory of my baby, Leona Grace. Further, thank you for your compassion in acknowledging the pain of an infant’s loss as well. ALL child loss, whether during pregnancy (miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal) or into adulthood, is devastating. The amount of time a child spent on earth makes no difference when that child was loved the moment she was known to her parents. As I once read somewhere, LOVE was there before grief; it is the price of grief; and LOVE will always remain.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim, do you have any insight to share? I’ve asked moms in a grief support group I’m part of to tell me the most helpful thing anyone did for them and to share if there was something they wish someone had done…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve given myself about a day to reflect on this. I even asked my husband his insight. Practically speaking, I think what was most helpful in the early days was the food that was dropped off. I actually found myself wishing the same kindness was extended during the holidays. Our loss, of our first and only baby, happened in September so by the time November and December rolled around, we decided this year that we wouldn’t leave home or attend holiday gatherings with extended family. I wished we didn’t have to brave the holiday scuffle in the grocery stores for food. Or have to wonder what was open on New Years Day. If someone knows the parents aren’t engaging in the holidays the same way, a food drop off even then would’ve been nice. We also didn’t receive any holiday cards from the usuals. We received ONE handwritten on a non-holiday card. That was nice. Also, it would be nice if someone offered to help store items from our nursery. In the early days, it would’ve been impossible to take anything away. We had JUST set it up, it felt like. We took MONTHS to make our one bedroom apt accommodate a new baby and all that this is supposed to come with. Now it’s too hard to move anything. Now, almost 5 mos out, I wish someone would offer their time to take apart our changing table or crib while we’re out for the day. Or help us safely store our brand new stroller. Now, we must relive EVERYTHING (every hope, every dream, crumbled) again and it’s just to find a place for our nursery items.

        Liked by 1 person

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