Stronger

If you meet me now at the grocery store or pass me in church, I probably won’t cry.

I will most likely ask you how you are, what you’ve been doing and smile when you share the latest family news even if in the midst of the words a thousand alarms go off in my head, reminding me of Dominic.

Because I’m stronger.

There’s a common misconception about grief among those who have never experienced the loss of a close loved one.

It goes something like this:  The first few weeks, months and the first holidays celebrated without them are the hardest.  But once the bereaved make it through THOSE, things get EASIER.

I’m here to tell you that, at least for me, it’s just not true.

A better picture of how I am continuing in this grief journey is to think of it as weight lifting.   I started with a 250 pound barbell raised over my head-no warning, no training-that knocked me to my knees and threatened to press the life out of me.  But friends and family came alongside and helped me lift the heavy weight for a season.

And I survived.

Each day, I have to get out of bed and lift that weight.

  • Over time, my muscles have grown stronger.
  • Over time, I’ve become more adept at keeping my grip.
  • Over time, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to balance the bar more evenly, to situate myself more strategically beneath it and to breathe through the lifting so that I don’t become light-headed and faint.

But there are still days, still moments, when my balance is off and I can be crushed by the weight of grief.  There are times when life adds a few more pounds onto the bar and even my stronger arms are unable to lift it up and carry on.

And in those moments or on those days, the full weight of sorrow and pain and longing overwhelm me.  That’s when I understand how Paul felt when he wrote:

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. These bodies of ours are constantly facing death just as Jesus did; so it is clear to all that it is only the living Christ within who keeps us safe.  

2 Corinthians 4: 8-10

I sit in my floor and cry out to God for mercy, cry out to Him for strength, cry out to Him for grace to rise and carry on.

I am thankful that it’s no longer every day.  I’m relieved that I can do routine things more easily.  I can smile. I can even laugh.

I am stronger.  I am more capable.

But I am never completely free of the load.  

 

 

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.

9 thoughts on “Stronger”

  1. If you meet me now at the grocery store…. We speak to the audience who can never really hear. The most we can do if affirm these inward truths with others who walk the same road, and there’s comfort in that. So often I read essays like this one, Melanie, and I think, “if only someone could inform those people at the grocery store, or at church, and maybe then they would understand.” But probably not. It’s like the rich man who asked for Lazareth to return and speak to his kindred and who was told, “if they won’t hear the prophets, they won’t hear even one who rises from the dead.” Some messages from this side are just too awful for people on the other side to comprehend. But that’s okay. If we have an ounce of compassion within us, we must be grateful for every person who is blessed with an inability to understand.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Melanie, I am grateful to have found your blog. I feel like I have found a life-line…someone who understands me (though I am so sorry that anyone understands this part of me). I lost my beautiful 21 year old son on May 12 in a car accident. I can’t believe I’m still breathing nearly 6 weeks later. I’m amazed and somewhat confused that my body gets out of bed every day and carries on when my soul is still sitting crushed in a parking lot where the news was given to me silently…no words spoken but the message was conveyed loud and clear to my asking pleading eyes by the pursed lips and a slow sad side to side nod of the policeman’s head. Even as I type these words my mind wonders why am I saying this, this is not me, this is not my life, not my son! May God help us all.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh Stacy! I am so very sorry for your loss. And, yes, you do wonder how your body continues to move when your mama heart wants to just quit. I have three surviving children and I know that at first, that was the ONLY reason I got out of bed. Even still (26 months later) I have days that I do not want to keep going. I’m thankful the blog is helpful to you. I try to be honest and also try to point my heart to the only One Who can get me through. May the Lord overwhelm you with grace and mercy and may He strengthen you for each new day. Be gentle with yourself-you’re just beginning.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Melanie,
    Thanks for using your gift of writing to speak truth and encourage. I often feel all these things but don’t have the ability to word it like you do. I hope it’s okay that I often share your blogs.
    ❤💔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m thankful it is helpful to you. Thanks for the encouragement. Please share-I write in obedience to what God has laid on my heart and hopeful that in some small way, I am redeeming the pain of losing Dominic. Everything I write is open for anyone to see. Part of what I am learning in all of this is to be comfortable with being exposed and vulnerable. Before losing Dom I often tried to control the “me” others saw-but that has been ripped away and the only “me” that I want anyone to experience is the real me-no facade, no pretense, no reserve. May the Lord overwhelm your heart with His grace, mercy and love and give you the strength needed for each day. Blessings, Melanie

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Melanie for sharing your journey with others in the same situation. I lost my son, Kyle, April 13, 2015 and everyday is hard but his first anniversary is approaching & it is affecting me as if it is the beginning of this nightmare. I don’t know what I expected, but I feel like I might be losing the battle. Your posts have helped & I appreciate them so much!!

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    1. Oh Darlene! I am so very sorry. April 12th is our anniversary-two years in 3 days. I often feel like I’m losing. But every day I get up out of bed and keep going is a testimony to the power of Christ in me and a revelation of His promise that life overcame death. One day we will be reunited but until then, it will be a battle. Praying for you right now-may the LORD give you strength for each new day and may grace and mercy be your close companiions. Love and hugs to you-

      Liked by 1 person

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