Stepping Stone or Stumbling Block?

I’ve lived with some level of physical limitation for over a decade due to rheumatoid arthritis.

When it first struck, I had no idea what was going on and it took more than two years to be diagnosed. Since then, I’ve learned to work around the swelling, joint pain and limited range of motion-most days.

But this morning while trying to separate an eight pack of Powerade bottles, I was brought to tears over how something so simple for others to do is so very hard for me.

Grief has made simple things hard too.

Just as I schedule tasks around my stiff morning joints, I find that I must schedule meetings, social events and appointments around the times when I know I’m most vulnerable to being overwhelmed by sadness.

I can’t “think on my feet” anymore so I try hard to avoid being put in a situation where I might be called upon to do or say something without adequate warning or preparation.

Multitasking is a thing of the past.

I prioritize everyday chores so that I can do them sequentially instead of simultaneously. I forget things in the oven, in the washing machine, upstairs…

A morning of phone calls usually means that I’m wiped out for the rest of the day.

And just like the Powerade incident, I am brought to tears over the discrepency between what I used to be able to do, what other people can still do and what I struggle to do now.

It takes so. much. energy.  just to get through the day.

Both my physical limitation and my emotional burden is invisible to others.

I’m not alone. Others are struggling too.

uphill both ways


All around me are people who feel like they are traveling uphill.

Both ways.

It’s easy to become jaded and impatient and irritated when those around us are unable to keep up.

I’m trying to learn to lead with grace, mercy and compassion instead of anger, frustration and dismissiveness.

When I do, I’m rewarded with the knowledge that I’ve been a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block.

And isn’t that really what we all would rather be?

stepping stone toward heaven




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.

2 thoughts on “Stepping Stone or Stumbling Block?”

  1. I was thrown from my horse on 2/17, it was a very bad fall. No bone injuries, lots of muscle damage, connective tissue damage (all in my back, I landed hard on my back from a full canter); it’s taking these things a long time to resolve because I am no longer young; resolve they are, and most likely will, but it appears the fall also left me with intermittent hip joint pain. Physical limitation makes grief that much harder to bear. My daughter left me totally alone; she was unable to think about that, her illness was so profound and rapidly worsening. She loved me so very much, she would never have done this except for her inability to really think. Now her father is doing it. He lives 150 miles away, we had to move off Long Island (my daughter and I) from the house we both loved so much, to the country. I bought a beautiful house, I chose it for her. And she eventually became habituated to living in a very beautiful place, the Catskill Mountains, and did not want to go back to Long Island (when her illness began to really demonstrate, I wanted to go back, as if somehow that would save her.) Her father visited only about five times a year, never on holidays or her actual birthday. She felt abandoned; she was, in fact, abandoned. He increased his visits when she was hospitalized but that last Christmas in 2010, she had been released from the lock down psych ward (she attempted an overdose of Klonopin, she could never admit to these attempts at suicide, I don’t think she actually remembered them!) It was beyond awful that day; I was having a breakdown, she was in a psychotic mindset. He was nowhere to be seen, probably with his grandchildren. It was as if we didn’t exist, I don’t think he even called. The day after, she went back into the hospital. Now, it appears he doesn’t have plans to come up here to visit her grave. Not one of his family members knows where it is, or cares. When her ashes were interred in our plot, he never even notified his family members (including her half sister) that it was being done. The abandonment I feel is terrifying but I shouldn’t be surprised. I want to ask him what’s wrong with him, but I can’t. I don’t know what to do.


    1. I’m sorry for the feeling of abandonment. As for his family members not knowing where your daughter is interred, you could certainly reach out to let them know on your own. They are related to your daughter as well and they might very well desire to maintain contact. Life is hard and it doesn’t stop being hard because we have buried children. All the other things still happen. I hope you feel better soon.


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